Kilpisjärvi Travel Guide

Kilpisjarvi, Lapland Finland / Copyright

(Looking at Saana fell in early morning hours from Salmivaara fell)

Kilpisjärvi is a small village within the municipality of Enontekiö, at the top of Finland's northwest "arm" border with Norway and Sweden. The village lies on the shore of a lake by the same name and is an outdoors heaven for fisherman, hunters, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general. Its the starting point in Finland for hiking trails to Finland's largest mountain (fell), Halti, and is also at the base of the ominous Saana fell (pictured in the background above).

In the map below, you will find practical places to know about for planning your trip and free sights you can visit. Below the map you will find more helpful Kilpisjärvi travel information and things to do in Kilpisjärvi by clicking on a topic button and scrolling down to read.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: How to Get to Kilpisjärvi
Regular buses from Rovaniemi head to Kilpisjärvi and the village can also be reached by taxi from Hetta. There are also night trains from southern Finland to Kolari and Rovaniemi and buses can be taken the rest of the journey. You can buy tickets and see bus timetables on the Matkahuolto website.

Many travel to Kilpisjärvi by motorhome or camper in the summer time and there are a few camping areas with parking in the village.

Unless arriving by chartered seaplane, the closest airports to Kilpisjärvi are Enontekiö and Kittilä in Finland, or Tromsø in Norway.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Kilpisjärvi Layout
The village is situated between Saana fell and wilderness to the east, and Kilpisjärvi lake and the Salmivaara penninsula to the west. At the north of the lake is the Malla Nature Reserve. The road crossing into Norway is just a few kilometers away from the village.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Getting Around Kilpisjärvi
For the most part, if you do not have a car, you can walk the length of the entire village quite easily in the summertime. Boat hire or taxi is available for trips along the lake and out to Golddaluokta. Snowmobile hire is available in the winter.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Kilpisjärvi Weather
Like most places in Lapland, Kilpisjärvi experiences cold/extreme winters with plenty of snow cover, and mild/cool summers. For up-to-date weather, check out the forecast on the website of the FInnish Meteorological Institute.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Things To Do in Kilpisjärvi
  • Snowmobile Safaris
  • Dogsledding
  • Ice Fishing
  • Ice Swimming
  • Skiing
  • Heli-skiing
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Lake Cruises
  • Fishing

Things to Do in Kilpisjärvi

  • Saana fell - a distinctly shaped fell that serves as the backdrop for the village
  • Salmivaara fell - a smaller fell on a small penninsula jutting into the lake which offers nice views of the lake and Saana
  • Halti fell - the highest mountain in Finland, the trail begins in the village and traverses 45km of wilderness to its summit
  • Little Malla fell (Pikku Malla) - fell located toward the top of the lake.
  • Big Malla fell (Iso-Malla) - fell located behind Little Malla.
  • The Three Point Border (Kolmen valtakunnan rajapyykki) - located in Golddaluokta, a boundary at the tip of the lake where Sweden, Finland, and Norway meet. Accessible by boat or hiking.
  • Pihtsusköngäs waterfall - One of Finland's highest waterfalls, with a 17 meter drop. Located on the Nordkalottleden Trail.
  • Midnight sun - In summertime, 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: Kilpisjärvi Travel Tips
  • Practical Lapland Travel Information
  • Bring cash with you as there is no ATM or cash machine in Kilpisjärvi. Local shops do take bank cards however.
  • Prices for many good increase significantly across the border if you are traveling on to Norway so its good to purchase food and other necessities you might need in Kilpisjärvi before heading on.
  • There is an alternative route for hiking to Halti that starts from the Norwegian side of the border and is significantly less distance to the peak (about 10km), however, the road leading to the trail head is not paved and is in bad condition. If you are considering this route, its good to talk first with the staff at the Kilpisjärvi visitor centre or Fell Lapland Nature Centre in Enontekiö and ask about the current road and trail conditions.
  • There is only one taxi company in Kilpisjärvi, so if you are trying to get around town in the winter time, be prepared for potentially long waits. It may just be faster to put on some very warm clothes and walk to where you need to go. It quite easy to walk around the area in summer time if you are OK with walking a few kilometers at a time, depending on where you are staying in the village.
  • There is only one boat taxi service out to the Three Points Border and the departures, although usually at the same times each day in Summer, depend on the group size wanting to go out there - if there are not enough people wanting to go, the captain probably won't go. It's highly recommended to call the captain ahead of time to confirm a departure or return times for any specific day. If there are not enough other persons traveling there on the day you want to go, try negotiating an independent price with the captain.
  • The weather can change quite rapidly in the area so it's best to have rain / wind / cold weather gear if visiting in Summer/Autumn.
  • The Salmivaara hike is a good alternative for a short hike if you are not in good enough physical shape to hike Saana, or if you are just passing through the area and do not have time to do any of the longer hikes. There is a nice panorama view of the area from the top.
  • Many of the local accommodation and service providers close temporarily in late Autumn (mid-September), before opening again later on for the Winter season (if open in Winter).
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Finding Accommodation