Jyväskylä - Tampere - Kolari - Kilpisjärvi (2023.06.21-23)

It feels like this summer I enjoyed the best adventure in 14 years!


For a few years already, I wanted to go beyond the Arctic Circle in summer to experience the neverending polar day. This year we finally made this trip with my girlfriend Ilze and our dog Sisu. This adventure was truly amazing! We saw incredibly beautiful landscapes and experienced midnight sun and during all this time I was the luckiest passenger princess and could fully enjoy every landscape of the trip!

If I wanted just to go beyond the Arctic Circle and see the Kilpisjärvi Lake, then Ilze was the mastermind behind the planning of the whole route. The idea was to go through Lapland to Kilpisjarvi, through northern Norway to the Lofoten islands, and then back more or less the same way.

To get from Jyväskylä to the beyond arctic circle we took a shortcut… through Tampere. Sounds counterintuitive? Well, we decided to go by train with the car. It is unusual, but very convenient.

We drove from Jyväskylä to Tampere to catch the night train to Kolari where you can drive in with your car. The train departed late in the evening and arrived in the morning already above the Arctic Circle.

In the small cabin was a bunkbed, toilet/shower, and a place for Sisu too.

At first, Sisu was very skeptical about spending the night on the move in a train being confused as to why everything was moving, but as soon as we opened the window sill she calmed down and fell asleep. I think it is because she saw that it’s like a car but we all are kind of in a passenger seat with her.

Waiting for cars being offloaded from the train in Kolari

We stopped for coffee at a place with a bunch of creepy gnomes.

The landscape around Kolari was very flat like most of Finland but, after some 4 hours of driving north, hills became more frequent and higher but trees – smaller and more sparse.

Finally, real snowy mountains became visible on the horizon, and free-roaming reindeer started walking across the road – yeah, we were pretty far north, deep into the Lapland.

In the afternoon we reached the Kilpisjärvi area, packed our backpacks, and started walking uphill. The plan was to walk the nature trail and spend the night at the end of it where the three borders of Finland, Sweden, and Norway meet. The plan for the next day was to walk back and drive into Norway.

10 minutes after we started walking I felt how bad my physical shape was. Luckily it was not catastrophically bad, so I could more or less keep up with Ilze and Sisu. Despite the feeling tired the views were very beautiful. The game of light and cloud shadows on the slopes of the mountains and valleys, low clouds enveloping the mountain tops, rocks, cliffs, and waterfalls – that was exactly why were traveling here! Well, maybe not all of us – Sisu’s highlight of the day (and the rest of the adventure) – was snow in the summer, nothing could beat the snow in her opinion.

The fact that there still was snow meant that There was also a lot of meltwater in the streams. We did not consider that, so when we reached the waterfall approximately halfway to the destination, we figured out that we were not going to risk trying to cross this stream.

So this change of plans made us turn back and be at the Norwegian border much sooner than anticipated. But no problem, we had already enough for the first day of hiking and there was still so much to see…

To be continued!