The Aavasaksa-Ylitornio area offers a taste of Lapland unlike any other. Sitting on the powerful Tornio River, this area has long been a hub of natural tourism & cultural heritage.
Not quite Finnish and not quite Swedish, the Aavasaksa-Ylitornio area offers a slice of Lapland unlike any other. Sitting on the powerful Tornio River, this area has long since been a hub of natural tourism and cultural heritage.
Explore the border
The ice breaks up and comes crashing down the Tornio River. The long quiet days of spring are over; summer has arrived. That means Midnight Sun. The unforgettable experience of reeling in a ten-kilo salmon. Selfies on the top of Aavasaksa Hill. Or grab your camera and head into the trees for a photography tour. Take a midnight sauna and a dip in the Tengeliönjoki river.
Summer brings endless opportunities to the region. Take a salmon fishing tour on the Europe’s last free flowing river with an experienced guide. Aavasaksa-Ylitornio has numerous fishing tour companies, with guided tours on the region’s lakes, smaller rivers, and the mighty Tornio. As autumn approaches, those looking for bigger game than trout and salmon can go hunting for elk or test your skill on hares, pheasants or waterfowl.
Photographers, hikers and bikers will fall in love with the rugged forests and barren hilltops of southern Lapland. Climb a rocky hillside and peer out over the rolling landscape. Don’t forget to take a few pics. Or strap yourself onto a mountain bike and challenge yourself on the trails. Or maybe you want something a little different: join a traditional horseman from Kauliranta for a ride, or test your wits at a rustic escape room experience!
The Keisarinmaja, or Imperial Lodge, is the oldest tourist-related building in all of Finland. Built in anticipation of a visit by the Russian emperor in 1882, the Lodge offers a unique look into 19th century rural Lapland. Explorers and fans of history will want to stop by the Maupertuis monument, commemorating the French scientific expedition to determine the shape of the Earth.
When the days grow shorter, and the breeze sends a chill down the back of your neck, Aavasaksa prepares itself for Lapland’s longest and most popular season: winter. Only 10 kilometers from downtown Ylitornio, Aavasaksa Ski Resort offers two slopes and a ski lift. Tickets and rental equipment are located at the bottom of the hill. You can also try out the new cross-country ski trail that circles the hill.
Sit back and let huskies and reindeer pull your sledge across the white landscapes, and see the forests and plains the way Santa Claus does! Or, if you need more speed, strap on a helmet and explore the region on the back of a snowmobile. And if you’re still craving the calm (and occasional flurry of excitement) of fishing, you can drill a hole in the ice and try your hand at pilkki, or winter fishing.
Beds & breakfast, cabins & cuisine
For the accommodation in the area, crab a bite of authentic Tornio valley country cuisine at the Hulkoffgården hotel restaurant in Korpikylä, Sweden. Or enjoy pub food and Lapland ambience at the Hotel Kievari in Ylitornio. Back across the river, the Svanstein Lodge serves everything from light snacks for those on the go to gourmet dining experiences.
Aavasaksa Hill is Lapland’s oldest tourist destination, and the area surrounding it is the perfect place to stay in a cabin, just like travelers have been doing for a hundred years. The cabins in the region range from basic rooms to full-comfort homes complete with kitchens and modern amenities. Not to be outdone by Aavasaksa’s cabin culture, the area boasts a number of hotels and motels on both sides of the border. In warmer weather, you can also pitch a tent beside the mighty Tornio River and enjoy nature on a more primitive, authentic level.
Travel to Aavasaksa-Ylitornio
Nestled between the Arctic Circle and the northern tip of the Gulf of Bothnia, getting to Aavasaksa-Ylitornio is a breeze. To the south, there is the Kemi-Tornio Airport (85 km), with regular connections to the world through Helsinki. The Rovaniemi International Airport (115 km) to the east has even more connections and convenience, with direct flights from many cities in the UK and Europe.
Being in southern Lapland, Ylitornio has a train station, which means night trains and car-carriers, so you can bring your wheels with you from Turku or Helsinki and spend a relaxing night traveling. Lapland has modern and well-maintained roads and highways, so travel by bus or car is possible all year round.