Nellim Travel Guide

Nellim, Finnish Lapland / Copyright

( Looking toward Lake Inari at the Nellim marina )

Nellim is a wilderness village on the shores of the Lake Inari, located 42 kilometres northeast from Ivalo and 8 kilometres from the Finland / Russia border. The drive from Ivalo to Nellim itself travels a historic route as the road used to connect Rovaniemi and the Liinahamari harbor in Petsamo on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, and now twists its way over hills and past scenic landscapes.  Nellim is one of Inari’s important cultural and historical environments, often called the three-culture village and was an important area for the logging industry in the 1920's and 1930's. The area also played an important role in World War 2 as fortifications were built on both sides of the nearby bay nicknamed "Rautaportti" (Iron Gate) to defend the Arctic Road, and the area was also home to the Kaamasaari prison camp. Today, Nellim is home to around 170 Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi, and Finns and is considered of the oldest inhabited areas in Inari, believed to have been a Stone Age settlement dating back 8000 years ago.

In the map below, you will find practical places to know about for planning a trip and things to do in Nellim. Below the map you will find some helpful travel information by clicking on a topic button and scrolling down to read.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: How to Get to Nellim
Nellim is on Route 969, east of Ivalo. There is no public transport to the village. In fact, the road heading there isn't even paved! To get to Nellim you either need to travel by car or taxi from Ivalo. There is an airport at Ivalo from where you rent a car.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Getting Around Nellim
The village itself is fairly small so not difficult to walk to surrounding attractions, although a car can be helpful to have.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Nellim Weather
Check out the forecast on the FInnish Meteorological Institute for up to date weather conditions for Nellim.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Things To Do in Nellim
  • Snowmobile Safaris
  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Husky Safaris
  • Reindeer Farm
  • Viewing Auroras
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Swimming

Things To Do in Nellim

  • Log flume - one of the best-preserved memorials from the 1920s and 30s logging industry around Lake Inari.
  • Nellim Wilderness Church - Uniquely constructed Skolt Orthodox church built in 1987.
  • Travelers' cross at Tsarmijärvi - Skolt Sami memorial cross to remember those buried in Petsamo.
  • Iron Gate (“Rautaportti”) - Hiking trail with remnants of fortifications built in the area during Second World War.
  • Russian border - the village is only about 8km from the Russian border and visitors can observe what its like to live in a border area as other attractions lie close to the frontier zone.
  • Paatsjoki bridge - a historic bridge near the border zone that offers views of Russian river landscapes.
  • 3 Country Cairn at Muotkavaara - Marks the border between Finland, Norway and Russia and is about 30 km from the village.
  • Midnight sun - In summer time its quite a surreal experience to stay up late into the evening to watch the different colors produced as the sun floats on the horizon. In general, the night sky is luminous from May until mid August
  • Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) - many visitors come to Lapland hoping to see the dancing solar winds in the night sky.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Nellim Travel Tips
  • Practical Lapland Travel Information
  • The road to Nellim is not paved so expect a bumpy ride at parts if driving there in summer.
  • Some of the attractions in Nellim (such as the log flume) are very close to the frontier zone border area between Russia and Finland (you'll see the warning signs!) so do not drift of off trails too much or explore in the forests where there is yellow tape around the trees, signifying where the zone starts.
  • There are only a few (literally 2 or 3) cafes/restaurants in Nellim and may not be open at times convenient for tourists in search of food so its best to stock up on supplies in Ivalo if your headed to the area for the day or even a few days.
  • There is no gas station in Nellim so make sure you have enough for the return drive back to Ivalo.
  • The Travelers' cross at Tsarmijärvi is along the road from Ivalo to Nellim and not so easy to spot so keep your eyes on the look out for information boards on the left side of the road when heading toward Nellim (or on the right side if heading to Ivalo).
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Finding Accommodation
  • Everyman's Right (in Summer)
  • You'll find the most options for accommodation in Ivalo.