Wide range of activities
Inari is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast, having several of the largest and most popular national parks, like the Urho Kekkonen national park, right on our doorstep. Popular outdoor activities include hiking, fishing, skiing, hunting and orienteering. In late summer and early autumn, many people gather berries and mushrooms for the winter. If you're more interested in meeting new people, practicing sports and learning a new skill, for example, there are also many courses, events and activities to attend to. Here you will find information about outdoor activities as well as cultural and sports activities in Inari.
The outdoor recreation areas maintained by the municipality are areas designed for outdoor pursuits and invigorating experiences in nature. These areas have everything that is needed for outdoor excursions from marked trails to campfire spots, lean-to shelters and wilderness cabins. Whether you are looking to take a day trip excursion or longer hikes, these areas cater to your demands. You can ask about the routes and areas from local Metsähallitus or find more information about the national parks and wilderness areas in Inari from Inari-Saariselkä webpage.
If you're planning a trip to the nature, keep in mind:
- Know where you are going and don't rely on electronic equipment
- If you don't have much experience or orienteering skills, stay on marked trails
- Proper clothing and equipment
- Do not disturb plants growing in national parks
- Take all rubbish with you - never leave it in the nature
There are a number of excellent free web based maps and map apps. E.g. the Topo maps - Finland app can be downloaded to you phone for free and provides very accurate and detailed topographic maps of the whole country. Even though you should never rely purely on electronic maps in the wilderness, these topographic maps are an excellent tool when planning hiking trips. You can also ask for maps from local Metsähallitus offices.
In Finland the public access rights to the land, independent of land ownership, are enshrined in the law. The so-called everyman’s rights (Jokamiehen oikeudet) allow everyone to enjoy certain outdoor pursuits without needing permission from the land owner. These rights include:
- walk, ski and snowshoe
- camp for short periods
- pick wild berries and mushrooms
- Ice fish
There are however restrictions to protect gardens, cultivated land and nature reserves. You will find more information about every man's rights here.
Local residents can also purchase a seasonal permit for hunting or fishing in their own municipality. The permit is applied from Metsähallitus, using the eräluvat.fi online-service or by visiting a local Metsähallitus office (in either Ivalo, Saariselkä or the Inari visitor centre in Siida).
Outdoor activities such as snowboarding, freeskiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular here during winters but the fun doesn't end there. There are a number of maintained cross-country skiing tracks in Inari (Juutuanvaara), Ivalo (Jänkävaara, Mukkavuopaja & Rajakangas) and Saariselkä. Finland’s northernmost downhill-skiing resort Saariselkä offers a total of 15 slopes and Finland’s longest toboggan slope. There are also maintained winter walking routes in Inari, Ivalo and Saariselkä.
downhill skiing / snowboarding
sauna and ice swimming
Autumn and summer activities
Picking season starts usually on late July with cloudberries and continues with blue berries, lingonberries and mushrooms on late summer and autumn. Hunting is also a popular and socially acceptable hobby in Finland. In order to hunt, you must pass an exam and obtain a Finnish hunting card, have permission from the owner of the hunting rights for the land, and a permission to keep firearms. For certain large game like moose, you must also pass a shooting test.
Fishing is a popular hobby and in Inari, most of the waters are owned by the Finnish state. This means that you are allowed to fish, given you have paid the national fisheries management fee and possess a permit for the area you are intending to fish in. If you are fishing lakes owned by the state in Inari municipality with one rod only, it is usually sufficient to only pay the national fisheries management fee (45€ per year in 2019). For running water like rivers, you generally need an additional area permit.
Here are some ideas for summer activities in Lapland:
- berry picking
- biking (electric bikes are also popular these days and you can rent them from Ivalo and Saariselkä, at least)
- ball games
Cultural and social life
Events and places to visit
Cultural life in Inari is active and cultural events are organized all-year-round. Some of the annual events in Inari municipality include Skábmagovat Film Festival in January and Inariviikot in July. You can see what is currently happening from the municipality's events calendar (only in Finnish) or Inari-Saariselkä event calendar (available in English).
There are also many interesting places to visit and learn more about our local culture, such as Siida Sámi Museum and Sajos Sámi Cultural Centre. Also, Inari has a history of gold panning and even today, Inari municipality remains one of few areas in Europe where gold panning from surface soil is economically viable. To learn more about Inari’s golden past, you can visit the old Gold Station (Ivalojoen Kultala) built by the Finnish state on the banks of Ivalo river in 1870.
There are also many cultural services in Ivalo village, such as the cinema and public library. Aslak is the northernmost purpose built cinema in Finland. Please note, that foreign films (except animated movies for children) are shown in their original language with subtitles in Finnish.
The use of public library is free and anyone with a Finnish Personal Identity Code can apply for a library pass to borrow books and allowing entry outside regular opening hours. Library services are provided in Ivalo and Inari villages. The Library Bus also commutes on weekdays around Inari municipality according to the following schedule.
Inari Adult Education centre
You may consider learning new skills by attending Inari’s popular Adult Education Centre. Courses cover a wide range of topics like arts, crafts and sports. There are also Finnish language courses for beginners. The registration for courses usually starts in the beginning of September, but be aware - the most popular courses fill up within minutes!
Adult education centres are available to everyone, regardless of their age or educational background. Learning is largely self-motivated and, as a rule, not aimed at achieving a formal qualification. For more information about the courses and to register, visit Adult Education Centre's website.
The diverse activities organized by the municipality and different associations provide local residents with an opportunity to participate in the local community and engage in different hobbies and leisure activities.
Associations promote in numerous different ways citizens' wellbeing, inclusion, social life and skills needed for working life. Contact details for the various associations operating in Inari can be found on the "Association contact details" -page.
These associations include the Finnish Red Cross's Lapland branch and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, which both organize multicultural activities, especially for families. The local association of the Mannerheim League for Child welfare (MLL) runs family cafés (in Inari, Ivalo and Saariselkä), which are open environments for peer interaction. The MLL also has a "Befriending an immigrant mother" programme.
Village associations (Kyläyhdistykset) are local non-governmental organizations which have the role of being a joint forum for the different associations and actors in the village.
The evangelical Lutheran Parish of Inari runs activities for various groups, including youth and families with children. The parish runs family club and children's club activities as well as activities for youth, such as youth evenings, confirmation trainings, excursions and camps. The parish also serves as the supporting organization for the scouts. Services are held in the parish churches on Sundays, and the services and other events organized by the parish are open to everyone.
In addition, the parish offers support for people in different life situations, including a variety of peer groups and voluntary activities. It is also possible to apply for financial aid trough the church's social work. Priests and diaconal workers provide conversational support where needed.
There are also other religious communities in Inari, including the Orthodox Church, Jehovah's Witnesses and Pentecostal Church, which all run their own activities in the area.
Ivalo church. Photo by Tarmo Lehtosalo.
The public library and the Ainola Inclusion Centre (Osallisuuskeskus Ainola) serve as open meeting and event spaces for local residents.
In the Ainola Inclusion centre, you can meet with people, take part in events or meetings of hobby clubs, read newspapers and magazines and use the wireless internet connection. You can also use the Virtu digital service point or the TE office phone service to deal with official businesses. If needed, you can also receive assistance and advice in using the services.
In addition, the Ainola facilities can bee booked free of charge for use by associations, municipal organisation actors and other groups that are non-profit promoting the vitality, communality and inclusiveness of the municipality. These bookings can be for purporses such as meetings, events and trainings of hobby clubs and other group activities.
The Ainola Inclusion Centre is located in the centre of Ivalo and open weekdays from 9:00 to 14:00.
Sports clubs and activities
In addition to the municipal leisure services (sorry, only in Finnish), the municipality also has many different active sports clubs that you can find in "Association contact details" -page. The local sports clubs include multiple sports, such as ice hockey, volleyball, orienteering and ball games. You can also attend to the courses organized by the Inari Adult education centre.
Municipal leisure services include organizing activities and maintaining sports facilities, such as the public gym, sports fields and other recreational areas.The public gym located in Ivalo, Vasantie 1. Access keys can be purchased at the public library or at the town hall.
There are two swimming pools in Inari. Holiday Club Saariselkä Spa, Europe’s northernmost spa and Ivalo public swimming pool, which is located on the premises of the Finnish Border Guards. Holiday Club Saariselkä Spa offers reduced entry fees for Inari residents, so please remember to mention if you are a resident upon paying.