Summer in Yllas, Finnish Lapland

I was recently invited to visit two of Finnish Lapland’s top summer destinations, both of which are high above the arctic circle.  I’ve just published an article on Levi and now I am turning my attention to the equally beautiful village of Ylläs located one hour away by car.

Ylläss Fell, Lapland
Ylläs Fell

Getting there:

I flew with Finnair from Manchester to Helsinki and then took an internal flight up to Kittilä.  My visit to Lapland as one of the Lapland Midnight Sun Ambassadors 2022 was a two centre trip with an equal time exploring both Levi and Ylläs.

Finnair flight from Helsinki to Ylläs
Finnair flight from Helsinki to Ylläs

The resorts are just an hour apart but quite different in their style and range of activities making for an ideal two centre holiday.

Accommodation:

As Finland’s largest winter ski resort, there is a wide variety of accommodation available in Ylläs ranging from apartments and cottages to stylish hotels all of which are perfect for a summer visit.

Lapland Hotel Saaga, Ylläs
Lapland Hotel Saaga, Ylläs

We stayed in the village centre at the Saaga Hotel, just a couple of minutes walk from the gondola ski lift which operates year round.  Rooms are comfortable and rustic in style and benefit from magnificent views overlooking Ylläs fell.  Lapland Hotels Saaga

Activities:

Ride the Gondola Lift: On our first afternoon we took the Gondola lift up to the top of Ylläs Fell which rises to an elevation of 719 metres in just seven minutes.  Standard return summer tickets €14 (£11.90).

Ylläs Express, Lapland
Ylläs Express, Lapland

The spacious cabins can hold up to eight people with space for pushchairs and bicycles.  Along the journey we enjoyed splendid views over the treetops of the surrounding landscape and crystal clear lakes.

Ylläs express Gondola
Ylläs express Gondola

The Ylläs gondola has a unique claim to fame as it is the only one in the world to have its own sauna cabin.  We didn’t have an opportunity to experience this ourselves but how wonderful it must be to be able to enjoy the wilderness scenery from the cabin windows whilst relaxing in the sauna.  The cabin sauna ride lasts 20 minutes and also included in the price is access to another sauna on the fell top with showers, terrace and jacuzzi.

Ylläs Fell, Finnish Lapland
Ylläs Fell

From the upper gondola station we followed a historic trail along the fell top breathing in the pure, fresh air whilst admiring the breathtaking views.  The path is easily navigable for both prams and wheelchairs and has some useful information boards along the way detailing the local geology, flora and fauna.

Ylläs Fell, Lapland
On the fell top

Reindeer could be seen grazing by the side of the trail and at one of the many viewpoints a giant swing had been constructed.  There was no way we could resist stopping to enjoy a ride amongst the breathtaking scenery.

Ylläs Fell top swing
Ylläs Fell top swing

Continuing our walk, it wasn’t too long before we reached a mountain restaurant with an idyllic setting and fantastic views.  The pine clad interior was really cosy and the perfect spot to sit and relax awhile.  Ylläskammi 718 bar/restaurant

Ylläskammi 718 bar/restaurant, Ylläs
Inside the Ylläskammi 718 bar/restaurant on Ylläs Fell

It was absolutely lovely in mid-summer being able to sit out on the terrace but I can also imagine how inviting it must be during the winter months for both downhill and cross country skiers.

Go biking: Mountain and e-fat bikes can be rented between June and October and with the possibility of being able to transport them on the gondola there’s no need for any strenuous uphill pedalling.

One of the many cycle trails in the Ylläs area
One of the many cycle trails in the Ylläs area

From the summit cyclists can choose between eight downhill routes of varying difficulty.  For beginners like me, there’s an easy training track lower down the fell to try out the e-bikes and learn the techniques of all terrain cycling.  There are also many picturesque cycling tracks through the forests of the national park.  Ylläs Bike Park

Explore the lakes and rivers by kayak: I’d never tried kayaking before and not even heard of pack rafting but was up for the challenge of a three hour paddle.  The trip was organised by Sisu Outdoors and as a complete novice, I felt confident under their expert guidance.

Pack Rafting with Sisu Outdoor, Ylläs
Pack Rafting with Sisu Outdoor, Ylläs

I soon found out that a pack raft is a strong and durable inflatable kayak that folds into a bag enabling backpacking and paddling to be combined into one trip.

Preparing for our Pack Rafting adventure in Ylläs
Preparing for our Pack Rafting adventure in Ylläs

We inflated the pack rafts easily by using inflation bags to catch the air then twist the bags shut to squeeze the air into the pack raft.  We repeated this several times, just needing to inflate the seats and top up the air by mouth to finish off.

Packrafting trip in Ylläs, Lapland
Packrafting trip in Ylläs, Lapland

Before getting in, we put on life jackets and learnt the basics of how to hold the paddle.  I opted to go out in a two person kayak with an instructor as I hadn’t tried it before.  Our looped trip began in the calm lake of Akäslompolo and continued downstream through the narrow Kesankijoki river.

Pack rafting in Ylläs, Finnish Lapland with Sisu Outdoor
Pack rafting in Ylläs

The trip was well planned and customised to our skill level (non existent) and with the extremely friendly and professional instructors I felt in safe hands and enjoyed every minute of the trip so I would highly recommend this activity.  Sisu Outdoor

Go hiking in the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park: Finland’s third largest and most northerly national park is home to fells, lakes and idyllic scenery and has hiking trails to suit all abilities.

Walking trails in Ylläs, Lapland
Following one of the many walking trails

We took a 10 km walk from near Varkaankuru, just north of Ylläs and a short distance from the village of Akäslompolo where we’d been rafting earlier.

Wilderness Hut in Ylläs, Lapland
The wilderness hut where we cooked our lunch

The trail started through a pine forest which eventually led us to a wilderness hut where we cooked sausages on its fireplace.  We shared the hut with some other hikers whose children were enjoying toasting marshmallows on the fire.

Inside the wilderness hut in Ylläs, Finland
Inside the wilderness hut in Ylläs

Lunch over, we continued up the fells to Kellostapuli.  This marked trail was very varied as it ascended gently uphill taking us above the tree line and onto a rocky ravine before winding its way down to the forest once more.

Hiking trail along a rocky ravine in Ylläs, Finland
Hiking trail along a rocky ravine in Ylläs
Forest walking trail, Ylläs, Lapland
The trail then descended back down to the valley floor

Overlooking a small but beautiful lake we came across a little cafe at Kesänkijärvi where we rested our legs sipping cups of coffee and nibbling delicious cinnamon buns for which Finland is renowned.  It was then just a couple of kilometres back to the car after a lovely, scenic walk.  This is just one of the many marked trails in the area to choose from so hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to return one day to hike more of them.

Kesänkijarvi cafe, Ylläs
Kesänkijarvi cafe, Ylläs

Drive the scenic wilderness road: This 13 km long winding road passes along the south side of Ylläs fell connecting the two Ylläs villages of Ylläsjarvi and Akäslompolo.  The road ascends and descends both sides of the mountain through the national park with several stopping places to enjoy the views, have a picnic and read the information boards.

Information board along the Ylläs Scenic Road, Lapland
Information board along the Ylläs Scenic Road

Play frisbee golf on a pro 18 hole course: I’d played frisbee golf (disc golf) several times before in Finland but only on short courses and have always found it to be a fun activity.

Frisbee Golf Course, Ylläs,
Frisbee Golf Course, Ylläs

The course in Akäslompolo is free to use so you just need to bring along your own set of frisbees.  We started at Hole 1, which was a par 3 over 100 metres away with the flag somewhere in the far distance through the pine trees.

Frisbee Golf Course, Ylläs, Lapland
Finally reaching the flag

Needless to say I didn’t make par, in fact I lost count of how many goes I had until my disc landed in the basket.  It didn’t matter though as we had lots of fun and by practising we improved our technique with some good tips from Eetu our lovely guide from Visit Ylläs.

Relax at a traditional Finnish lakeside sauna: No visit to Finland can be complete without experiencing a traditional lakeside sauna.  We spent the evening at Rönölä, a former lumberjack’s cottage on the shores of Lake Luosujärvi.

Ronola, the former lumberjack's sauna in Yllas,
Ronola, the former lumberjack’s sauna in Yllas,

Here we were greeted by the owner who led us into the main house where she told us about the history of the building.

Midnight sun in Ylläs, Lapland
Midnight sun in Ylläs, Lapland

We were then able to experience both the original lumberjack’s rustic sauna and a more recent smoke sauna which takes all day to reach the correct temperature.  It was so relaxing spending time unwinding in each of the saunas and then taking a dip in the lake afterwards.  Because the sun never sets all summer the water reaches a pleasant warm temperature and lazing out on the terrace, it was warmer still.  Ronola Sauna Cottage.

Taking a dip in the lake at the sauna cottage, Yllas
Taking a dip in the lake at the sauna cottage

Overall:

In addition to the above fun activities that we experienced, it’s possible to also go fishing, birdwatching, rowing, horse riding, berry picking and mushroom foraging.  Summer in Lapland has something for everyone with its invigorating 24 hours of daylight and the purest of fresh air whether you prefer to be active or not.  I’ve spent many summers in southern Finland which I dearly love but this was my first time to experience the midnight sun of Lapland and I’m certain it won’t be my last!

Yllläs, Finland
Ylläs, Finland

During my visit I was a guest of Visit Ylläs and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.

 

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

Summer in Levi, Finnish Lapland

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Summer in Yllas, Lapland

 

50 thoughts on “Summer in Yllas, Finnish Lapland

    1. I think that Lapland us beautiful both summer and winter, benefitting from its nightless nights all summer long. Winter of course us very special too and it would be nice to return one winter to experience Ylläs then. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Look like a great place to kayak and absolutely incredible snips!

    You simply put a spell on me with these pictures, loved’em!

    This reminds me of an incredible kayaking journey on ‘River Mahaweli’ I took on the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka. We kayaked in the day and camped in the river bank in the night and it was undoubtedly a little piece of heaven on earth.

    I didn’t forget to log it under my travel memoirs in here >>https://sachsattic.wordpress.com/2022/07/24/exploring-the-river-mahaweli-on-a-kayak/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is truly something to experience. The packrafting sounds fun and not too difficult, while the hiking trails are just amazing. Combining sauna with a freshwater dip, or a cold pool plunge, is the best way to relax in my experience. And, all that while enjoying the midnight sun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our visit to Lapland was indeed a wonderful experience Leighton and packrafts excellent ideas for camping and hiking trips. The hiking trails are well signposted, very scenic and especially nice with all the wilderness huts and little cafes dotted around to relax in. Thanks so much for your interest and I hope you get to visit Lapland sometime.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like a fantastic place to go for outdoor adventure. Too bad it is so far away for us! We have made it to Norway, so maybe someday. Did you note any wildlife besides the reindeer while you were there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so pleased to read that you enjoyed this post on our recent visit to Yllas Eileen. It really is gorgeous with so many varied activities available. Apart from reindeer we spotted many species of birds and butterflies and evidence of a beaver on our boat trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, you had some magnificent views from the historic trail – I presume it must look so much different during winter. You turned into a real sportswoman on this trip … first it was golfing and now pack rafting and frisbee golf! Ah, cinnamon buns on a hike – that sounds like heaven ☺️. There’s just so much to do … and all of this during summer time. Thanks for another lovely post Marion – Lapland sure looks like a great holiday destination (all year round)!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words and interest in these two posts on my visit to Lapland Corna. I’m so pleased to read that you enjoyed reading about my trip and all the lovely activities that were arranged for us. Northern Finland is certainly an all year round destination with its summers of nightless nights!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic tour of this unknown summer destination! Between the rafting, the trails to explore, and that swing on the mountain top- I think I could be perfectly content to spend the entire summer there. Putting this on my travel list! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so pleased to read that you enjoyed this post on Ylläs Meg. It’s a superb, summer destination with so many lovely things to see and do and plenty of time as it never goes dark! Thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A beautiful part of the world that not many get a chance to see. Love the cable cars to the top of the Fell where the view goes on forever. Also coffee and cinnamon buns sound about my style. Thanks for sharing Marion. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This looks like another awesome place to visit. I like the sound of the sauna cabin in the gondola. Sounds like a great way to relax while still soaking in the views. I still can’t get over the 24 hours of daylight in the summer. That’s wild!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ThingsHelenLoves

    The wilderness hut is lovely, I feel like I know the woody / outdoorsy scent it would have just be looking at the picture. Do people just turn up to use them as a communal facility, open to all?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the huts are open year round for both hikers and cross country skiers and kept in immaculate condition. There’s a free supply of logs and tongs, etc. for tending the fireplace. Everyone leaves it as they find it, Spock and span. I dread to think what would happen here! Even loos nearby too. Thanks so much for your interest Helen, I’m sure you’d all love it there.

      Like

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