Ylläs is a popular ski resort in the municipality of Kolari in Finnish Lapland.


Ylläs fell (Yllästunturi) in summer

Ylläs is a fell (Finnish: tunturi), a gently rounded mountain whose top is above the treeline — the English word "tundra" comes from the native Kildin Sami word tūndâr. This characteristically Lappish landscape was created during the Ice Age, when kilometre-thick ice scraped away at what were once mountains, wearing them down.

The village of Ylläsjärvi ("Lake Ylläs") lies to the south of the fell and the village of Äkäslompolo ("Lake Äkäs") to the north, about 10 km apart as the bird flies.



Located north of the Arctic Circle, Ylläs experiences over a month of Polar Night in December and January. This is also the coldest time of year, with an average high of −9 °C (16 °F) and average lows of −17 °C (1 °F), not factoring in the considerable wind chill atop the treeless fell if you're skiing. Among the Finns, the most popular time of the year to visit is the Easter holidays in March or April, when average temperatures are closer to zero and on a good day you can ski in a T-shirt. (Just watch out for sunburn!)

The season for Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) runs from late August to early April. On average, they can be spotted 150 nights per year, although this depends on cloud conditions and just plain luck. Check the space weather forecast before heading out into the Arctic night.

See Lapland for the other seasons.

Get in


By plane


Kittilä airport, about 50 km east from Ylläs, has regular flights from Helsinki and occasional charters elsewhere in high season. Rundgren buses meet most incoming flights; the trip to Ylläs takes about 40 minutes with a flat fare of €13.80. Metered taxis are also available, that ride costs around €100.

Another possibility is to fly in Sweden from Stockholm to Luleå and from there to Pajala airport. There you may take an airport taxi for the 30-km trip to Finland.

The nearest larger airport/town is Rovaniemi some 170 km away, but the journey requires either an expensive taxi ride or at least three separate buses.

By train


Kolari is the northernmost train station in Finland. During the winter season there is a direct train connection daily from Helsinki via Tampere, Oulu and Tornio; at 995 km, this is the longest single train route in Finland. An overnight trip takes 13 hours and is most comfortable in a sleeping cabin. From Turku, you usually change trains in Tampere. Sometimes the train contains a special club car serving as a nightclub during the trip. A sleeper cabin for 3 passengers (in the old one-storey cars) costs around €200. You can also drive your car on board (fee from €39), which can be handy if you'd like to spare yourself a 1000-km drive in winter conditions.

From Kolari there is a Rundgren bus for the remaining 35 km. Tickets cost €13.80, the ride takes about an hour and stops at most major hotels.

By car


From Helsinki, drive by E75 to the north. Switch to E8 after Kemi. Drive to Kolari and follow signs to Ylläsjärvi (road 939). Alternatively you can come via Kittilä.

From Sweden there are bridges, e.g. at Haparanda/Tornio, Övertorneå/Ylitornio (Aavasaksa), Pello and Pajala/Kolari.

Get around


Ylläs is divided into four areas. There are two ski resort areas at the base of the lifts: the larger of the two, 1 Ski Resort Ylläsjärvi, is on the south-east side of the fell, while 2 Ski Resort Äkäslompolo is on the north-west side. The town of 3 Äkäslompolo ("Lake Äkäs", covered in its own article) is about 4 km north of the ski resort of the same name, while the smaller village of 4 Ylläsjärvi ("Lake Ylläs") lies about 5 km south of its resort.

If you don't have your own wheels, the only practical way to get around is the Ski Bus, which loops between the four roughly hourly during the ski season. Single tickets are a steep €6, but if you buy a ski pass, you can top it up with an area ticket that gives unlimited rides for just €2/day.

Downhill skiers can use the Kuru lift to connect across the top of the fell between the Ylläs and Äkäslompolo resorts. There's also an extensive network of cross-country trails, but while you can easily ski down from the resorts to the villages, it's a long uphill slog to get back.

By taxi

  • Jounin Taksi, +358 400 563 264. Dependable local taxi company. Operates 24h with two large vans that can carry up to 9 people.
  • Menevä Ylläs, +358 50-471-0470 (head of office), toll-free: 0800-02120 (booking), . Also bookable by app or web. Fixed price based on calculated route and time if destination address given when booking by app or web.



Most Finns are fluent in English, and Ylläs is no exception. Russian is also spoken by some people, due to large numbers of Russian tourists.

See and Do


Winter sports

Gondolas at Ylläs

With 463 m of elevation difference and runs up to 3 km long, Ylläs Ski Resort is not exactly the Swiss Alps, but there are still 63 slopes and 28 lifts to explore. Thanks to the rounded shape of the mountain, most runs are quite easy and the resort is known for being family friendly. The network of ski tracks around the fells there is the largest in Finland (330 km). While there is one gondola (on the Ylläs side) and one chairlift (on the Äkäslompolo side), all other lifts are slow T-bars. All higher lifts are subject to closure in windy weather. Day pass rates including use of all lifts start from €48.

Both resorts maintain snow parks for freestyle snowboarding. These parks contain various sizes of jumps (kickers) for beginners and pros. There are also a good selection of jibbing rails (especially on the south side, i.e. Ylläsjärvi). However, half-pipes are usually absent. There's also excellent cross-country skiing, with 330 km of maintained trails connecting to the tracks of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.

The slopes are usually opened sometimes in November and the season runs until May. In summer, Ylläs turns into a mountain biking park, with gondolas ferrying bikers up, and trails up to 4 km long.

  • 1 Hill Ski Rent, +358404503758. Enormous, industrially efficient ski rental operation right next to the gondola station. One-day full downhill set rentals from €35, lockers large enough for 2-4 sets from €7/day.
  • 2 JemesSport, +358400725766. Yllas's second ski rental emporium, slightly cheaper and definitely more approachable than Hill, with a good selection of gear and expert advice. One-day downhill ski set rental from €27.

Snow safari


Ylläs travel agencies offer Lappish activities like husky or reindeer sleigh trips, visits to reindeer farms and traditional Sami lávvus, as well as snowmobile safaris.

  • 3 Rami's Huskies, Karankisseläntie 61, 99100 Kittilä. Small, intimate family-run operation offering 5-, 10- and 23-km husky safaris in the national park. Plenty of opportunities to meet the huskies afterwards, and grilled sausage and hot coffee/juice in the kota hut afterwards is included. From €86/person for a 1.5-hour safari.





The Ylläs area hosts two major music festivals: Ylläs Jazz Blues in February and Ylläs Soikoon in July. There are also concerts in the larger restaurants and nightclubs.

The only grocery in the ski resorts is Antin Mini-Market in the Hotel Saaga building, which is also the only place that sells takeaway alcohol (beer and other drinks under 5.5% ABV only), but has a very limited selection of food. For larger shopping sprees, use your own wheels or the Ski Bus to go shop in the villages, or order online from 1 Jounin kauppa   in Äkäslompolo.

  • Gifts. For instance trinkets of the local Wood Jewel brand, you can buy them in any souvenir shop in Kolari, Ylläs or Levi.
  • Lakkalikööri, a signature Lappish cloudberry liqueur, from Äkäslompolo Alko store.
  • Cloudberry jam or sauce, from any retail store.

Breakfast is usually included for visitors staying in the hotels. In the resort area, the only budget options are self-catering (see #Buy) or ubiquitous Finnish fast food outlet Hesburger.

At Ylläs resort

  • 1 Perheravintola Ylläs Kota (in the Taiga building). Tu-Th Su 12:00-16:00, F Sa 12:00-20:00. Family-friendly restaurant offering soups, burgers and other simple fare. The large "pitsas" (from €15) have a base of Lappish flatbread and come with toppings including reindeer and lingonberries.
  • Restaurant Saaga (at Saaga Hotel). Saaga's enormous restaurant is split in two. The left side serves up a hearty buffet for breakfast and dinner, while the right side offers up fancier white tablecloth dining focusing on Lappish dishes (reindeer carpaccio, anyone?), with burgers and kids' meals available as well.

On the ski slopes/trails

  • 2 Aurinkotupa, Aurinkokuja, 95980 Kolari (near Hotel Ylläsrinne). At a crossing of several ski trails, about 5 km mostly downhill from the Ylläs ski resort, the very popular "Sun Cabin" serves up fresh doughnuts (munkki), tasty soups and refreshments. The cabin also has a cross-country ski practice loop, free sleds for kids to use on the gentle hill nearby, and a few fenced-up reindeer for photos. Soup, bread and coffee set lunch €10.
  • 3 Latukahvila Kahvikeidas (2 km east of Ylläs ski resort). Daily 10:00-16:00 during the ski season. The rustic "Coffee Oasis" serves up hot coffee, pastries, basic sandwiches and snowy vistas over the national park. Only reachable by cross-country skiing, and a popular first destination for beginner skiers and families. Soup, bread and coffee set lunch €10.
  • 4 Ylläskammi718. Finland's highest restaurant at 718 m (hence the name), this rustic log cabin atop the fell near the gondola station serves up doughnuts, coffee and light meals during the day, but transitions to fine dining at night. Three-course menus incorporating ingredients like reindeer tongue start from €60. In case you're wondering why there are hundreds of wooden kuksa cups hanging on the walls, you can buy one for €300 and get a lifetime subscription to free hot drinks or juice!



Ylläs markets itself as a family-friendly resort and the après-ski scene here is much quieter than at party town Levi.

  • Taiga Pub & Kitchen. This cavernous pub next to the gondola station wins no awards for ambience, but serves up decent reindeer kebabs and burgers, and plenty of Lapin Kulta (Lapland's Gold) beer to wash it down with.



The Ylläs area is one of the largest winter sport resorts in Finland and it has a great variety of accommodation opportunities. Äkäslompolo, covered separately, has the largest range on offer ranging from hostel dorms to luxury lodges.

  • 1 Lapland Hotels Saaga, +358 16 3232. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Located immediately next to the main ski centre building, Saaga has hotel accommodation in the main building and "chalets" (really just serviced apartments) in three annexes, some of which are a few hundred meters away down the hill. Hotel rooms include access to the kid-friendly spa area with pools and saunas, while chalet apartments come with their own saunas. An extensive breakfast buffet is included, serving up a wide range of Finnish and Lappish delicacies. Chalets from €300/night in high season.

Go next

  • Levi — just north of Kittilä, for more skiing.
  • Lainio Snow Village in Kittilä, halfway to Kittilä centre. Admire the ice sculptures or spend the night among them in a warm sleeping bag.
Routes through Ylläs
TromsøKilpisjärvi  W   E  TornioTurku

This city travel guide to Ylläs is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.