The village of Inari is the heart of the Sámi culture in Finland. Authentic handicrafts and artisan shops, genuine small-village feel with a population of approximately 500 and astonishing surrounding nature makes Inari an intriguing and interesting place to visit.
Sámi culture is visible in everyday life and kept alive through education as it is possible to study all three of Finland’s Sámi languages, traditional handicrafts and reindeer husbandry in Inari’s Sámi Educational Institute.
Local sights in Inari
The beautifully rugged wilderness lake of Inarijärvi is the third largest and the second deepest lake in Finland. The great lake features some 3,318 islands, as well as a series of large ridges without islands. A tight-knit network of wilderness huts carpets the shoreline and the islands, providing shelter for canoeists and boaters during the summer and cross-country skiers during the winter. During the summer season that kicks off in June, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy Inarijärvi via a boat cruise.
The holy site of Ukonsaari Island in Lake Inarijärvi has been a place of worship amongst Sámi people. The rocky island is approximately 30 metres high, 50 metres wide and 100 metres long and can be identified from a distance. There is a daily ferry trip from Inari village during the summer months. The island is an important part of the cultural heritage and considered sacred, which should be respected by all visitors.
Pielpajärvi wilderness church
The wilderness church of Lake Pielpajärvi is of cultural and historical significance for many reasons. It is the old winter village of Inari, where people gathered to stay for the winter months during centuries. Built in 1760, it is one of the oldest buildings in northern Lapland. It was in use until the end of the 19th century and nowadays puts on special services during Easter and Midsummer. The church is also a popular site for weddings. In the summertime Pielpajärvi is only accessible by foot along a 5 km hiking path or by boat from Pielpavuono pier in Lake Inarijärvi. In the winter time it can be reached by skiing and snowmobile. The church is always open and can be visited freely.
Otsamo is a 418 m high fell overlooking the Inari village. Otsamo peak boasts magnificent views of lakes Inarijärvi and Muddusjärvi, River Juutuanjoki and the fells of Muotkatunturi and Joenkielinen. The hiking trails to Otsamo start from nearby Siida and another from youth centre Vasatokka. During late winter there is a maintained ski track. At the top there is a cabin where visitors can take a break from hiking.
Sámi Cultural Centre Sajos
The Sami Cultural Centre Sajos is the administrative and cultural centre of the Finnish Sámi people. Sajos is the home of Sámi parliament and broadcasting station that produces Sámi programs and news. It is also a congress centre and meeting venue. On weekdays Sajos organizes guided tours where visitors can get information about the Sámi Parliament in Finland and today’s living Sámi culture.
Sámi Museum and Nature Center Siida
Siida offers the visitor both expert knowledge and exciting experiences that appeal to many senses. In the summer season, the indoor exhibitions of Siida are complemented by the cozy open-air museum. In addition to exhibitions, events that focus on culture and nature, as well as seminars, are arranged at Siida. The Nature Centre of Metsähallitus can be found at Siida, together with a museum shop and a restaurant.