Levi is one of the largest winter sport resorts in Finland. It is in the Kittilä municipality in Lapland, by the village Sirkka. Levi is a very popular place among young people, and in addition to being a ski resort it is a significant nightlife center for people from rural Lapland.
As a very prominent peak, the Levi fell was already known for its impressive views in the 19th century, but the area was completely roadless and hard to access. Lake Immeljärvi between Levi and Kätkä fells has been a sacred place for the Sami people for ages. Small-scale tourism to Levi started in the 1930s when the road from the south was completed. In those days, the visitors had to coach-surf; residing in the homes of the villagers was the only option. The first cottages for rent were built in 1950s, and the first hotel, now called Hotel Levitunturi, was opened in 1981.
In the 1960s, downhill skiing became popular in Finland, and Kittilä municipality built the first piste with a ski lift to the northern slope of Levi fell in 1964. When a small airstrip in a forest near Kittilä village was enlarged for military purposes during the 1970s, making the strip large enough for commercial flights as well, things truly started to happen. Regular flights to Kittilä Airport started in 1982 and the first international charter flights arrived in 1993, giving Levi a substantial customer potential. The great economic depression in during 1990s enabled a group of entrepreneurs in Levi to buy skiing resort equipment extremely cheaply from the bankrupted skiing resorts in Southern Finland, prompting a boom in local business. In 2004, Levi hosted the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for the first time, making it definitely a world-class winter sports resort.
While in 1980 there were just six people working for the municipality-owned ski lift company, in 2014 there were about 200 companies serving more than 600,000 visitors a year. Today, the resort has over 24,000 beds, making the tiny Sirkka village (fewer than 900 permanent residents in 2018) the second most populous place in Finnish Lapland during the winter after Rovaniemi.
Summer activities in Levi are still of a small scale but the business is growing. For example, a full 18-hole golf course was opened in 2006.
1 Kittilä airport (KTT IATA) is some 10 km south from Levi. The airport has daily connections from Helsinki, and during season also a few regular services from elsewhere, and charters from the British Isles and Central Europe.
Most coaches coming from south visit the airport on their route to Levi. Tunturilinjat operate a [shuttle bus between Kittilä airport and Levi (price €8/adult) scheduled after the departures and arrivals. You may also use a taxi.
There are several daily train connections from southern Finland to Rovaniemi. From the railway station you need to change to a bus that waits next to the station. Overnight trains with sleeping cars and car-carrier wagons operate from Helsinki and Turku to Rovaniemi and from Helsinki to Kolari (getting from Turku to Kolari require change in Tampere, no car-carrier option). Tunturilinjat has [shuttle bus connections from Kolari railway station to Levi (€24/adult). The trip to Levi takes 2½ hours from Rovaniemi and 1 hr 15 min from Kolari. Students studying in Finland are eligible for a discount upon presentation of a student identity card issued jointly by Matkahuolto and VR rail service.
Coaches operate from Helsinki to Levi via Lahti, Jyväskylä and Oulu but the trip takes over 16 hours! You must change coaches in Rovaniemi, but there is plenty of time for that. The regular connection leaves Helsinki at 01:20 and arrives in Levi at 17:55. In the other direction the coaches can be used to get in from Muonio, Hetta and Kilpisjärvi, and in summer there are also some from Tromsø. See the exact timetables from Matkahuolto.
A ticket from Helsinki to Levi costs about €100/adult and from Rovaniemi about €32/adult. Students studying in Finland are eligible for a discount upon presentation of a student identity card issued jointly by Matkahuolto and VR rail service.
From southern Finland you can drive E8 or E75 to Oulu, from there either road E75 to Rovaniemi and national road 79 to Levi or via E8 to Kolari and via national road 80 to Kittilä. The distance from Helsinki is about 1,000 km. If you start fairly early in the morning you can drive up to Levi in one day. During the winter season the traffic on the road 79 between Rovaniemi and Levi might be surprisingly high.
The best way from Denmark or further south in western Europe is the road E4 to Luleå, then road E10 to Överkalix, and then Swedish road 392 to Pajala and road 403 to Kolari. From Kolari the Finnish road 80 intersects with Finnish road 79 about 10 km south of Levi.
Levi has a bus system called Ski Bus with two routes marked R1 and R2. A Ski Bus ticket is included to the ski lift pass for €3/day; otherwise, a one-time ticket costs €4. In the Levi centre you can easily walk or ski around.
For longer trips to the forests in the winter, you can use cross-country skis or hire a snowmobile. A driving licence is required (one for car or motorcycle suffices) at least on snowmobile "routes" (reitti – counted as public roads), while a permit must be bought for the snowmobile "tracks" (ura – the permit counts as landowner permission for the specific track network). Driving on rivers and lakes does not generally require licence or permit, but is restricted in many areas around Levi. Get directions and mind ice safety. Regardless, you must be 15 years old and sober, and use a helmet. You can probably get the permission via the rental business, but check. Be careful: it is easy to make fatal mistakes. Riding a snowmobile on a road is forbidden, with some minor exceptions.
There is an assortment of maps and directions, including info on current conditions on the routes. The skiing track and snowmobile route network extends far from Levi (the latter to Koli in North Karelia and to Kilpisjärvi and Inari in the north). A map on snowmobile routes in Kittilä can be bought.
Being a ski resort, Levi is much more about doing than seeing. The thing worth seeing is the landscape including Mt. Levi (Levitunturi).
Winter sports. There are 230 kilometers of cross-country skiing tracks and 886 km of snowmobile routes. For alpine skiing Levi has 45 pistes totaling 37 km length. The longest piste is 2500 m long and maximum vertical drop is 325 m. Piste information is available at the resort's web page. Levi is known for organizing FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in November.
- 1 Front pistes (Eturinteet). The oldest pistes right by the Levi centre.
- 2 Street. Snowboarding
- 3 Northeast pistes (Koillisrinteet).
- 4 Southeast pistes (Kaakkoisrinteet).
- 5 South pistes (Etelärinteet).
- 6 Snow Park. Snowboarding
- 7 Gondoli2000 lift (Gondoli2000 -näköalahissi).
If you want to take a break from winter sports, you can go on various safaris like snowmobile safaris, husky safaris and reindeer rides. These are arranged by tour operators, most of whom arrange summer activities too.
See also Kittilä.
- 8 Fintravel Levi, Leviraitti 2, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 9 Wolverine Fell Wilderness and Nature (Kätkätunturin Erä ja Luonto), Kätkäjärventie 400 (3 km from the Levi fell south to Kätkäjärventie, then 4 km), ☏ . Summer and winter activities are on offer. Reindeer safaris, snowshoeing, ice fishing, fox snare hunting, or rounding up of reindeer are available in winter, while fishing trips, marking reindeer calves, bog hikes, cycling, sauna evenings and goose hunting in summer. A restaurant is also available there, where you can enjoy home-style delicacies, such as reindeer casserole or salmon soup in a Lappish hut.
- 10 Levi Golf, Golfväylä 9, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The northernmost full-sized golf course in Europe. Restaurant. Levi Golf Week in the end of July. daytime green fee €30-55, night game €30.
- 11 Cinema Levi Summit, Tunturitie 205. This 436-seat 3D cinema is located on top of Levi fell. Adult €10, child €7.5.
Activities in Köngäs, some 10 km north of Levi, and its surroundings.
- [dead link] Katkan Aija (Kätkän Äijä), Lakkakuja 3 (4km north from Levi), ☏ . Snowshoeing, guide services, lappish ceremonies, Santa Claus visits
- Lapin Luontoelämys (Lapland’s Nature Experience), Ounasjoentie 810 (in Köngäs, 10 km north from Levi), ☏ . Snowshoeing, kicksledding and skiing in winter, hiking, canoeing and mountain bike riding in summer.
- Levi Huskypark (Levin Huskypuisto), Inarintie, Sokkapora, Köngäs, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 11–16. Siberian Huskies, Movie Wolves, Reindeer, Arctic foxes, Spitsdogs, Husky safaris, Christmas with Huskies. History about huskies and sled dog races. guided visit (30/60 min): €10/5, husky and reindeer tours (60/150 min) €41–76/26–48, separate prices in Christmas season; longer tours by request; children's fares for 2– to 11-year-olds.
- 1 K-Supermarket LeviMarket, Levinraitti 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 07:00-21:00, Su 09:00-21:00. Groceries, cosmetics and hardware. Pharmacy.
- 2 K-Market Levin Poro, Tunturitie 2, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-18:30, Su 12:00-18:30. Groceries.
- 3 S-Market Levi, Levinraitti 18, ☏ . M-Sa 08:00-22:00, Su 10:00-22:00. Groceries. Mail service. Gasoline.
- 4 Alko Kittilä Levi, Levinraitti 18. M-F 09:00-21:00, Sa 09:00-18:00, Su closed. Alcoholic beverages.
- Shopporo, Hiihtäjänkuja 10 (in the shopping gallery at Levi center), ☏ . Daily 10:00-18:00. Fashionable clothes for women, men and children.
The restaurants offer good variety of local delicacies. Especially worth trying are reindeer (poro) in all its forms, willow grouse (riekko) and several varieties of fish such as salmon (lohi), arctic char (nieriä) and common whitefish (siika). These are usually fried or smoked and eaten with mashed potatoes. In addition to local specialities, hamburgers, pizzas and kebabs are also available.
Many restaurants and bars are inside hotels.
- Luvattumaa, ☏ . IceGallery: Snowcastle with ice chapel, snowhotel and icebar Natural Spa: Underground sauna and ice sauna with warm and cold baths outdoors Teepee restaurant: Cosy restaurant with delicious Lappish food.
Being one of the largest resorts in Finland one could think there will be no problem to get bed in Levi. However, during the holiday season it may appear surprisingly difficult to find one! Most popular times are around Christmas and New Year, Easter and the Finnish winter holiday held during the three-week period from mid-February to early March. Right after the New Year when local people get back to work, skiing resorts get crowded with Russian tourists. Accommodation alternatives vary from camping to luxurious cottages and spa hotels.
- Hotelli K5 Levi, Kätkänrannantie 2, ☏ . in season: €150.
- 1 Spa Hotel Levitunturi (Kylpylähotelli Levitunturi), Levintie 1590, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The first and the most traditional hotel in the area.
- Levi Central Booking Office (Levin Keskusvaraamo), Myllyjoentie 2, ☏ . Over 900 apartments and a large number of hotel rooms.
- Hotel Hullu Poro (Crazy Reindeer), Rakkavaarantie 3 (in the village), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Also restaurant. Cheaper hostel accommodation available 2 km away. in season: €150.
In emergencies, call 112 (who probably can alarm the ski patrol etc.).
First aid staff at rentals of Zero Point and South pistes. Ski Patrol (red jackets) and volunteers with first aid skills ski daily at the pistes. Phone +358 44-367-4278 (8.35 cent+17.17 cent/min). Can also be alarmed via lift personnel.
There are two private medical services in Levi (Sirkka) itself. Check prices or your insurance.
- Bene Finlandia, Levinraitti 6, ☏ . 24 hr daily. Acute health care, including illnesses and fractures.
- Pihlajalinna Levi, Levintie 1590 (at Levi Hotel Spa), ☏ . Winter season: M–F 08:00–19:00, Sa–Su 10:00–19:00; May–Oct M–F (Sept also Sa) 08:00–16:00. Also dentist.