In northernmost Lapland, landscapes change. Dense snowy forests give way to gentle fells punctuated with dwarven birches. There’s only one word for it: tundra.
The fellfields of Utsjoki are as close to tundra as you can get in Finland. (The word tundra is actually related to the Finnish word for fell, tunturi.) Although there is no permafrost in Finland, the conditions that make tundra landscapes possible exist in northern Utsjoki in winter. Snow arrives in September or October and sticks around until May or June. The cold and wind precludes trees from growing tall, so the fells of northernmost Finland are instead dotted with short dwarf birches and other plants that exist only at high latitudes.
You may think you need snowmobiles to reach the tundra vistas of northern Finland, but you might be surprised to learn that in Nuorgam (the EU’s northernmost village), you can take a car to the tops of tundra-like fells, even in winter. The Pulmankijärvi Scenic Route (Pulmankijärven maisemantie) lives up to its name, with the river valley spreading out below you and the snow-capped mountains rising across the border.
The villages in Utsjoki are small, and about half the overall population is Sámi. (Learn more about filming with Sámi people.) The people are adept at thriving in the harsh Arctic winters, and the holiday villages and tourism services are happy to bring you to the fells, to the Arctic Ocean, or wherever your production demands.
The easiest way to find accommodation is through tourism services, such as wilderness activity providers, holiday villages or hotels. The Nuorgam Holiday Village is located only 4 km from the top of Isokivenvaara Fell.
There are around 500 beds available in Utsjoki.
Most restaurant and catering services are offered through accommodation providers, including restaurants and cafeterias.
Additional services your production might find useful when filming in tundra-like Utsjoki include:
- Animal services, e.g. husky and reindeer
- Snowmobile rentals
For more comprehensive information on services and accommodation available in northernmost Finland, explore Utsjoki.
TRAVEL to the Tundra
With five airports and a well-maintained highway and road network, getting to and around Lapland is effortless, no matter the season.
Winter is probably the easiest time to fly to Lapland, as there are multiple daily flights to the Ivalo International Airport (2.25 hours to Utsjoki by car) from Helsinki as well as European and worldwide cities. Kirkenes in Norway is also only 2.75 hours by car.
Unfortunately, you cannot travel all the way to northern Lapland via train. The nearest terminal stations are in Kemijärvi (5 hours) and Rovaniemi (5.25 hours). You can continue your trip north via car or bus.
There are daily bus connections from southern Lapland cities and towns with the villages of Utsjoki. For bus information and tickets, check out Matkahuolto.
Even in the heart of winter, the highways and roads of Utsjoki, to Nuorgam and beyond, are maintained and clear.
CREW & FILM EQUIPMENT
Many production and support service companies operate across Lapland. Get in touch and we’ll tell you all about them.
Permits are not required to film in most of Lapland’s nature. (See Everyone’s Right for more information.) Small-scale productions that do not cause disturbances are included in Everyone’s Right. If you’re unsure about your rights and responsibilities, just ask. (Film Lapland does not issue film permits, but we can help you figure out if you need one and which authority to contact.)
Utsjoki’s massive wilderness areas are state-owned and managed by Metsähallitus (Parks & Wildlife Finland), and these areas require permits for temporary structures, buildings or off-road traffic. Permits are handled case-by-case. Metsähallitus has created a helpful instruction guide for permits.
Reindeer herders using the wilderness areas in northern Finland for pasturing, so large productions should inform any local reindeer herding districts in advance.