International Ivalo with EU’s northernmost airport is the gateway to the North. The village is the administrative centre for the municipality of Inari, and also its largest population centre, so it comes as no surprise that this is where one can find the widest range of services in northern Lapland. Ivalo’s village centre boasts the best sandy beach in the mighty River Ivalojoki – a unique feature in these latitudes.
Local sights in Ivalo
Renowned for its rugged wilderness scenery, River Ivalojoki is the perfect location for canoeing and fishing in the summer, and snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. The first gold rush in Finland took place on the River Ivalojoki, which is why it is also known as the “golden river”. There are still prospectors searching for gold in the river and its runoffs. Prospecting sites of the Ivalojoki River, both past and present, are also accessible via signposted hiking routes.
Flowing mainly through the Hammastunturi wilderness area, River Ivalojoki is considered one of the most striking canoeing routes in the country. The 70-kilometre section of the river between Kuttura and Ivalo features several rapids for canoeists.
Hammastunturi wilderness area
Hammastunturi wilderness area is a large uninhabited region between Urho Kekkonen National Park and Lemmenjoki National Park. The area is suitable for experienced wilderness trekkers only as there are practically no marked routes or other facilities. Finland’s most famous gold river Ivalojoki flows through the Hammastunturi wilderness area.
The cave of Karhunpesäkivi or “Bear’s den rock” is an erratic bolder located in Myössäjärvi, approximately 25km north of Ivalo. It is a tafone rock formation similar of a giant’s kettle. The interior surfaces of the rock feature a honeycomb-like formation created by the weaker material eroding around the stronger material. It is possible to crawl into the cave of approximately 4 m long, 1.5 m wide and 1-2 m high.