Sights and attractions
The village of Kilpisjärvi with all its services at the heart of the fells is a perfect location for both short day trips and longer expeditions to see the region’s one-of-a-kind attractions. Driving to Kilpisjärvi, you will pass the highest point on Finland’s road network at Muotkatakka (565.8m or 1,856 feet above sea level), and the Arctic Ocean lies only 50km (30 miles) away.
Towering over the east of Kilpisjärvi is the Saana fell, sacred to the Sami people. Its looming profile, rising 1,029m (3,376 feet) above sea level, is a well-known sight to most Finns. Saana gets its name from the Sami word meaning polypore, a kind of fungus, which refers to the fell’s shape. The west side of Saana became protected in 1988, because the summit area of the fell is barren and home to many rare species of butterfly.
Finland’s highest point is Halti, on the border between Finland and Norway. The highest peak in Finland is on the fell’s slope, 1,324m (4,344 feet) above sea level, although the fell’s highest peak, Haldičohkkan, 7m (23 feet) higher, is located on the Norwegian side of the border.
Malla nature reserve
Malla’s nature reserve is Finland’s oldest protected nature reserve. The Malla fells were first protected in 1916 when Finland was still under Russian rule. The nature reserve was recognised as a National Park in an independent Finland in 1938. Thanks to its calcareous soils, the highlands of the Little Malla and Great Malla fells are home to some rare species of alpine plants and butterflies. Some of these plants are not found anywhere else in Finland.
The Three-Country Cairn
The Three-Country Cairn, which is located in the Malla nature reserve on a man-made island in the Kolttajärvi lake, marks the tripoint between Finland, Sweden and Norway. The world’s northernmost tripoint is also the northernmost point in Sweden and the westernmost point in mainland Finland. The Three-Country Cairn is a popular destination for hikers in summer and for snowmobilers and skiers in winter.
Historic war locations
The Lapland War, fought between Finland and Germany towards the end of the Second World War, left permanent scars on Kilpisjärvi and the surrounding area in northwest Lapland. On the region’s hiking trails, you can still find the remains of several German defence positions and service trails in the landscapes of the Saana fell, the Malla nature reserve and the Jehkastunturi fell. In and around the village of Kilpisjärvi there are several monuments dedicated to the war recounting the stories of the past.
Attractions in Norway
Several businesses in Kilpisjärvi can also organise day trips to Norway. The journey to Norway is mainly downhill, since Kilpisjärvi is located about 480m (1,575 feet) above sea level. Approaching Skibotn, you will be greeted with picturesque views of the fjords on one side, and of the snow-capped peaks of the Lyngen Alps on the other.