Skibotn (Northern Sami: Ivgubahta, Kven/Finnish: Markkina or Yykeänperä) is a village in Troms. It used to be an important meeting place between Norwegians, Sámi and Kven (and Finnish) people, with a yearly market.
Skibotn is on the shore in the innermost part of the fjord Lyngen (which is about 100 km long), surrounded by large mountains including Nallagais, Imagais, Steindalsbreen, Balggesvarr and Storfjellet. The river Skibotnelva empties into the fjord at Skibotn.
Skibotn is near two highways, E8 and E6, which merge just south of it. The nearest airport is in Tromsø, a 2-hour drive from Skibotn. You can also drive north from Kilpisjärvi, Finland which is a 45-minute drive, although the nearest airport in that direction is in Hetta, 2½ hours away.
If using the route from Finland along E8 in winter, be aware that it is often closed in bad weather. Beginning in 2018 there is a project with many sensors and weather stations for anticipating the need for closure and thus minimizing disturbance. This testbed for "intelligent roads" is a bilateral project, "Aurora" in Finland (from Kolari northward) and "Borealis" in Norway.
There are coach services by E6, and from Finland daily in summer and in weekends in spring.
Due to its favourable position in the auroral belt, and also being one of the driest places in Norway, Skibotn is a superb location to watch Northern lights. A good spot is for example near the astrophysical observatory.
- 1 Skibotn Astrophysical Observatory. Observatory, especially for northern lights, well away from city light pollution.
- 2 Skibotn Chapel (Skibotn bedehuskapell). Wooden chapel built in 1895. The chapel seats about 710 people (more than the population of the village), and is used for large Læstadian gatherings.
- Lásságámmi. Home of Sámi poet Nils-Aslak Valkeapää for much of his life, now museum in the summer, residence for Sámi artists or researchers of Sámi culture in winter.