Utsjoki (North Sami: Ohcejohka) is the main village of the municipality with the same name, in northernmost Finnish Lapland. It is located beside the Teno river (Norwegian: Tana, Sámi: Deatnu) and the border to Norway.
The municipality is very sparsely populated, with large wilderness areas. Virtually all the population lives in the valleys of river Teno and river Utsjoki and therefore most of the municipality is simply uninhabited. In addition, the population is concentrated into three villages: Utsjoki, 1 Karigasniemi and 2 Nuorgam. The rest of the villages you see on the map are just groups of a few houses.
About half of the population are Sámi and Utsjoki is the only municipality in Finland having Sámi speaking majority! Reindeer husbandry is important both culturally and economically but more traditionally people have lived from fishing salmon. Nowadays the border trade with Norway is the most important source of income as most things are cheaper in Finland than in Norway. Social ties across the border are common and many families have close relatives in Norway.
Tourism in Utsjoki is clearly concentrated to salmon fishing. The municipality is a summer destination with little activities in winter.
- 3 Giisá village house, Utsjoentie 9, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tourist information, fishing permits, café and local handicrafts. Free Wi-Fi.
- 4 Áilegas centre, Utsjoentie 46 c, ☏ . Culture centre, with exhibitions, courses etc. Also the tourist office and the Metsähallitus information point.
- Tourist information, ☏ .
The normal way to get to Utsjoki is using the roads; either driving or travelling with the bus. Snowmobile routes and hiking trails provide alternatives for the more adventurous. Remember that distances are huge.
The European routes E6 and E75 meet across the border in Norway. The former travels through Norway all the way from Halden in the south to Kirkenes in the east, the latter runs through Finland via Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Inari to Utsjoki and across the bridge to Norway.
There are daily coaches from Rovaniemi via Ivalo, Kaamanen, Utsjoki and Nuorgam to Tana Bru (and Vadsø in summer). A one-way bus ticket to Utsjoki village costs about €30 from Ivalo and €83 from Rovaniemi. See timetables by Matkahuolto. There are also daily minibuses from Karasjok and Varangerbotn to Roavvegieddi, on the Norwegian side (must be prebooked, timetables by Snelandia).
The village itself is small, but it is stretched out along the rivers, such that you have to like walking and have some time to manage without vehicles (6 km from the tourist information to the church).
You can use daily long distance coach services from Rovaniemi for destinations along E75 and possibly school buses along the other roads. Taxis are probably the most practical solution for anything farther than you want to walk. A bike is usable in summer if you have or can rent one.
- Taxi Utsjoki/Sujala Antti phone: +358 400 545 199
The national roads are in good shape, built as straight lines through the wilderness. Minor roads may be in less good condition, especially in winter, spring and early summer.
In the winter there are snowmobile routes, which can be used also for longer journeys. Driving outside routes is forbidden, with some exceptions.
- The panorama of the Teno River.
- 1 Saamen silta (The Sámi Bridge). The bridge over the Teno river was built in 1993. Before that the river was crossed by boat. Crossing the border to Norway you need to carry travel documents with you (and contact customs if you have something to declare) even though there is no active passport control.
- Northern Lights – Except in summer, when nights are light in Lapland, chances are good you'll be amazed by colourful curtains of Aurora borealis silently dancing high above you. The polar night starts in November and ends in January. During the polar night the sun doesn't rise at all.
- 2 Utsjoki church and the Church Huts (by Lake Mantojärvi, near E75, some 6 km south from the centre). Church built 1850–1853 at the site of one from 1700, parsonage from 1843. By the church is the old courthouse and church huts for Sámi arriving from far away.
- 3 The King's Stone (Gonagasgeađgi/Kuninkaankivi) (in Vetsikko, some 12 km from the centre). Two stones with border marks from 1766 indicating the Strömstad border between the kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark. The stones carry king Adolf Fredrik of Sweden's monogram. The Strömstad Treaty (1751) for the first time defined an exact border between these countries this far north (at the time Norway belonged to Denmark, what would become Finland to Sweden). free.
- 4 Kenespahta Ice Falls (Kenespahdan jääputoukset) (some 25 km from the centre). The ice waterfalls form every winter when the water runs off this nearly vertical drop down to Lake Kenesjärvi. Visible from road E75. free.
- Salmon fishing in the Teno river, the most important salmon river in Europe. As in salmon rivers elsewhere, this requires an easy to buy special permit in addition to the national fishing management fee. Check the procedures for disinfecting your fishing equipment. Note Norwegian requirements if crossing the border.
- Hiking in the surroundings, the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve or the Paistunturit or Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area. Information from Utsjoki nature information point (in summer) or Siida in Inari. Several trails start from the school centre. A map "Kevo Paistunturit" [dead link] is recommended. It shows also the trails starting from the Utsjoki village. The Kaldoaivi area is shown on a map "Kaldoaivi Sevettijärvi Nuorgam [dead link]".
- Utsjoki geological trail (3.5 km)
- Kalkujoenlampi Trail (5.9 km circle trail)
- Utsjoki Hiking Trail (35 km as circle trail), mostly above the tree line in open fell areas, via Mantojärvi Church. Fairly popular. The highest point along the trail, Roavveoaivi (466 m), offers wide views, e.g. to the snowcapped Rastigaissa fell in Norway. For sleeping there is one open wilderness hut at Goahppelasjávri. On the trail you need to wade across the river Badjeseavttet.
- Kevo Hiking Trail [dead link] (64 km) through the Kevo canyon in the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve to Sulaoja near Karigasniemi.
- Elli Trail (3.8 km), starts from the intersection at Lomatärppi holiday village
- Cross-country skiing in the wilderness areas in winter, challenging even for experienced skiers because of the sometimes very harsh conditions.
People coming from the Norwegian side of the border usually head for the Alko store in Nuorgam to buy liquor, because it's far cheaper than in Norway. Tourists from elsewhere will most probably find some souvenirs more interesting.
- 1 Uulan Säästö, Utsjoentie 1, ☏ . daily 09:00-20:00. The only grocery store around is actually quite large and sells about anything from screws to fresh meat. Fishing permits. Mail service. Some drugs. Alko pick-up point. Gasoline.
- 2 Šiella, Utsjoentie 9, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sámi handicrafts.
Eat and drinkEdit
- 1 Restaurant Deatnu, Ellintie 25, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Weekdays 11:00–22:00, weekend 16:00–22:00.
- 2 Annukan Grilli, Ringi 29, ☏ . Normally 15:00–22:00, summer season 10:00–02:00. Hamburgers (incl. reindeer burger), reindeer kebab, and a famous reindeer stew.
- 3 Pub Rastigaisa, Utsjoentie 4, ☏ . weekdays 07:00–22:00, Fri 07:00–02:00, Sat 13:00–02:00, Sun 13:00–22:00. The only pub in the Utsjoki main village. Karaoke. Locals. Lunch 11:00–16:00. Pizzas in the evening.
- 1 [formerly dead link] Hotel Pohjan Tuli, Hietaniementie 40 (6 km south from Utsjoki centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel close to the Utsjoki church. By the lake Mantojärvi. €75.
- 2 Hotel Utsjoki, Luossatie 4 (in the centre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A legendary hotel. It was closed for years but became re-opened in 2019. approx €100.
- 3 Holiday Village Valle and Hotel Deatnu, Ellintie 25 (2.5 km upstream from the Utsjoki centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel and 4 person cabins by Teno. Restaurant. Fat bikes and kayaks for rent.
Camping and cottagesEdit
- 4 Kenestupa, Utsjoentie 2735 (20 km south from Utsjoki centre, near the route to Kevo), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open from June to mid-October. Cabins in the wilderness but still close to the road E75. The southern end of lake Kenesjärvi was used by mailmen for staying overnight and the oldest cabins here are over 100 years old. This is a 'cold' accommodation as there is no staff present in the area; call if you have problems.
- 5 Camping Lapinkylä (300 m south from Utsjoki centre), ☏ . Open June–September. Café. Fishing trips, fishing licences, fishing equipment rental, salmon weighting, boat rental. Willow grouse hunting trips in autumn and spring, with accommodation by the wilderness areas. Cabin €50–70, caravan €20 (storage €2/day), tent €12.
- 6 Lohi-Aslakin lomamökit, Tenontie 782 (about 8 km upstream from Utsjoki centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cottages by Teno. €60-€160.
- 7 Lomatärppi Cottages, Tenontie 236 (2.5 km upstream from Utsjoki centre), ☏ . Popular cottage accommodation by Teno. Boats, canoes and snowmobiles for rent. Fishing guide. €99–250/night.
- 8 Tenon Lohituvat, Nuorgamintie 245 b (2.5 km downstream from the Utsjoki centre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 4 person cottages by Teno. Own kitchens but shared showers and WC.
- 9 Vetsikon Leirintämökit, Vetsikontie 55 (13 km downstream from Utsjoki centre,), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cottages with own kitchen. Camping area for tents and caravans. Kiosk. By Teno and its tributary Vetsikko, 1 km from the King's Stone. tent €9, caravans €9-35 + electricity €6, cabins €34-68/night.
Open wilderness cottagesEdit
There are open wilderness huts in the nearby wilderness areas, but only one reasonably close to Utsjoki:
- 10 [dead link] Goahppelasjávri Open Wilderness Hut (Koahppelasjärvi owh) (Paistunturi Wilderness Area, on the Utsjoki trail, by the south shore of Goahppelasjávri), ☏ (Siida). Wilderness hut for 8 persons. Wood fired stove for warmth, gas stove for cooking. Use own sleeping bags and mattresses. Make room for possible latecomers. Pack out your garbage if possible. Free.
The right to access allows you to camp in a tent more or less anywhere away from people, except in places with special rules, such as in the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve. In the wilderness areas the right applies, with an additional right to make campfires under certain rules.
Postal code: 99980 Utsjoki
Mobile phones probably work well in the village and along the main roads, while there is no guarantee elsewhere. Be prepared to climb a fell if you need to make a call. For Teno, trails, cottages etc., check with your host or other locals.
- Other villages in the municipality:
- Nuorgam (Sami: Njuorggán), some 50 km north-east from Utsjoki, the very northernmost point of Finland – and of the European Union.
- Karigasniemi (Sami: Gáregasnjárga) in the south-west, 100 km on the way to Karasjok (and Kautokeino and Alta). Road 970 along Teno to Karigasniemi provides for a scenic ride, while most buses use E75 to Kaamanen and road 92 onward.
- Norway is just across the bridge over Teno. The municipality Tana has its centre downstream at Tana bru or "Tana bridge", which got its bridge already in 1948. The Arctic Sea opens in Varangerbotn about 80 km north-east from Utsjoki.
|Routes through Utsjoki|
|Kirkenes ← Tana ←||N S||→ Karasjok → Narvik|
|Vardø ← Tana ←||N S||→ Inari → Rovaniemi|