Kilpisjärvi is located far north, in Finland's west "arm", at the border with Sweden and Norway and it is a Sami village with only 114 people living there. We drove all the way from Helsinki to get tto Killpisjärvi, with one stop in between. Even though this is the same country, there are 1200 km to drive from south of Finland.
We have rented a cottage from Kilpisjärven Retkeilykeskus (which means Kilpisjärvi's Hiking Center) for 2 nights and we took full advantage of our time here. The cottage was all to ourselves, had a nice parking place next to it, 2 beds (one of which was for 2 people), a kitchen and a bathroom with warm water. The kitchen had a stove, microwave, dishes and a coffee maker, so pretty much everything we needed. You can book a cottage from booking.com.
There is a store about 2 km away from the place, and the road to the store is frequented by reindeers.
This place was in the middle of nowhere, right in the wilderness area and this was exactly what we wanted for our trip.
We spent all our time hiking around the area and admiring the great views that Finnish Lapland has to offer. Pretty much all the hiking routes in Finland are quite easy ones, so I didn't have any problems.
Here are the main hiking trails that we took during our stay in Kilpisjärvi:
1. Saana summit and hiking trail, 1029 m above sea level
This is probably the most popular and most beautiful hiking trail around Kilpisjärvi. It's a 4 km one way to Saana summit, which rises 1029m above sea level. The trail starts from Kilpisjärvi Retkeilykeskus and I would say it's easy to medium level difficulty. There is one part of the hike that is a bit steeper, but nothing to worry about. When we were there they seemed to be building stairs over that steep part, but they weren't finished. Anyway, I am a terrible hiker, so for most people this would be quite easy. We left around 19:30 and we were back around 23:30. We took lots of pictures and we stopped many times on the way to admire the scenery.
The hiking trail to Saana summit was a really enjoyable hike, with magnificent views over pure wilderness of this area. There is little to no human activity here, so you really get to enjoy the nature at its best! You can read more about this trail on its own, dedicated page, "Saana fell hiking trail in Kilpisjärvi, Lapland, Finland"
2. Mallan Luonnonpuisto (Malla Strict Nature Reserve)
This hike is part of a bigger trail called "The Arctic Trail" (Kalottireitti in Finnish), which in total has 800 km and stretches though Sweden, Finland and Norway. We hiked for about 5 km (one way) from the parking place where the trail begins all the way to Kitsiputous (Kitsi waterfall) and then we turned back on the same route. The route is a bit more challenging at the beginning, but after 500 m or so it becomes an easy walk. We reserved around half a day for this hike. There is also a boat that leaves from Kilpisjärvi Retkeilykeskus that takes you to the other side of Malla Nature Reserve and then you can hike all the way back. The boat goes 3 times a day and since we just missed it, we decided to start hiking without the boat. You can find information about the boat on their website.
The hike takes you around lakes and beautiful hills that are unique to Lapland region. We even saw a stoat on the way. This hike was a great and relaxing way to spend our day! Read more about Malla hiking trail on its own dedicated blog post "Malla Strict Natural Reserve Hiking Trail near Kikpisjärvi, in the Finnish Lapland region".
3. Tsahkaljärvi trail
Lake "Tsahkaljärvi" is a beautiful, small lake, that has views straight to Saana mountain. The trail starts from next to the store or gas station, just 2 km from Kilpisjärvi Retkeilykeskus. We went to Tsahkaljärvi very late in the evening because we wanted to see the sunset and it was truly amazing! The trail is a gravel road that goes along a small river. This road is also part of a bigger hiking route, the Halti route, which is 45 km. Since it was so late, we walked for about 1.5 km until we reached the lake and the perfect spot to take pictures of Saana mountain's reflection in lthe waters of lake Tsahkaljärvi.
There was no wind, no people, no car noises and Lake Tsahkaljärvi at sunset was the most calm and peaceful place I have been to! I will never forget the feeling I had while watching the sun go behind Saana mountain.
We only explored a fraction of the hiking paths around here and you can find all of them using the app called maps.me. So far this is the best map that has all the hiking routes everywhere we have been to so far.
Finland is a really beautiful country, but Kilpisjärvi has exceeded all my expectations of how beautiful and quiet this place is! I highly recommend Kilpisjärvi to anyone that is looking to get away from their busy city lives, escape into the wilderness and reconnect with nature.