The view from atop Nattanen Fells in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Lapland Material Bank | Eeva Mäkinen
Enjoying the winter in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Finland | Jani Kärppä
Enjoying the summer in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Sodankylä | Jani Kärppä

Sodankylä & Sompio - Call of the Living Backwoods

The region’s name Sompio comes from the name of an old Sámi village.

Sodankylä is home to a world-class geophysical and space weather observatory.

The gold panned from Tankavaara rivers is so pure, it’s used in food products.

Sompio’s & Sodankylä’s summers are hiking red granite hills & panning for gold. Winter is snow-crowned trees, sojourns by snowmobile & falling asleep in world-famous aurora igloos.

Let’s talk gold. The golden Midnight Sun. Golden cloudberries. Literal gold nuggets in the fields and streams. That’s Sompio and Sodankylä in central Lapland. Here, summers are practically tailor-made for excursions and adventures into the grand forests and stony wilderness. Winters bring the snow and lots of it, perfect for snowshoe hikes and snowmobile rides into the frosted fairy-tale woods. Who knows what Arctic magic you might discover there?

The view from Nattanen Fells in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Metsähallitus | Pertti Turunen
Frozen wilderness in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Finland | Vastavalo | Matti Koutonen
Panning for gold in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Finland | Juho Kuva


When you stand atop the summit of Pyhä-Nattanen, the world spread out before you like a topography map come to life, you’ll understand why this place is a holy one*. Summers in central Lapland are perfect, from the Midnight Sun drizzling pure gold over the landscapes, to the peace and quiet your mind and soul crave. In northern Sompio, Finland’s second largest national park waits to show you its stunning vistas and secret cave systems.

* Please remember to be respectful, as these places still hold cultural and spiritual significance.

Sompio lies in the southernmost part of Sápmi, the Sámi homeland that stretches across Scandinavia and northwestern Russia. Here you’ll find villages like Vuotso and Purnumukka, where the cultures of the north are alive and thriving. The locals of these villages keep the delicate balance between nature, climate, tradition and modernity.

Those whose eyes light up at the first mention of gold will not want to miss the Tankavaara Gold Village. This living museum and activity resort will teach you the history of gold prospecting in Finnish Lapland. You can even try your hand at the panning in the most sustainable gold fields in Europe. Every summer, Tankavaara also hosts the World Gold Panning Championship.

When winter descends, sweeping down from the north with snowflakes, subzero temperatures and the Northern Lights, central Lapland only grows more magical. Swap out your hiking boots for a warm overall and explore the snow-crowned forests and whispering  backwoods atop a snowmobile! Snowshoeing and skis are also a great way to stretch your legs and discover some winter wonders.

Highlight: Downtown Sodanklyä

Downtown Sodankylä is nestled in the wilderness of central Lapland. Home to many international companies, don’t be surprised to hear Swedish, English or Afrikaans spoken freely. Spend an afternoon with the works of naïve artist Andreas Alariesto or study the historical wooden church—one of Lapland’s oldest. Every summer, the town fills with film-lovers as the Midnight Sun Film Festival takes over.

Downtown Sodankylä, Finland from the river
Photo by: Visit Sodankylä | Jani Kärppä


The wilderness and varied landscapes of central Lapland are where adventures abound and experiences are made.

Biking in summer in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Sodankylä | Jani Kärppä
Fishing in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Sodankylä | Jani Kärppä
Polar night and frozen wilderness in Sompio & Sodankylä, Finland
Photo by: Visit Finland | Vastavalo
Northern Lights over the aurora bubbles accommodation in Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Sompio, Finland
Photo by: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Lapland, Finland


Whether you’re looking for holiday resorts or downtown hotels, you’ll find your best night’s sleep in Sompio and Sodankylä.


Situated along a major highway, between the bustling capital of Lapland and one its most popular destinations, Sompio and Sodankylä are easy to find.


About 1.5 hours south of Sodankylä is Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. Rovaniemi is home to an international airport, a train station that runs all the way to Helsinki, and a bus depot with many daily routes. Another nearby airport is Ivalo to the north of Sompio. Both airports are less than 2 hours away from downtown Sodankylä.

Need more Sodankylä & Sompio? Check out  Visit Sompio & Visit Sodankylä, and follow the stories in Facebook and Instagram (Sodankylä) and Instagram (Sompio).