Labeling Saariselka as 'remote' is underselling this winter sports village. It is situated nearly 1,000 kilometers north of Helsinki, a full 250 kilometers across the Arctic Circle. The three major pastimes here are skiing, hiking and spa-visits.
This is Lapland living at its finest. Saariselka has a booming spread of hotels and lodges, especially in light of the fact that this is a one-petrol-station town. Nearly all of the facilities in the area are tied up in the Sariselka accommodation scene, with most of the restaurants and boutiques operated through the village’s hotels.
Skiing is the most popular pastime here, with ski lifts installed on a pair of slopes called Kaunispää and Iisakkipää. Local tour operators can also arrange safaris by snowmobile or even a sled pulled by a team of reindeer or huskies. In the summer, visitors head to the countryside for fishing, canoeing, hiking and recreational gold panning.
The most convenient way in is through Ivalo Airport, which is around a 20-minute bus ride from here to the major hotels in Saariselka. Flights from Helsinki connect in less than two hours. Buses and trains are also an option, but travel times are long. Rovaniemi is the nearest major city, and it’s a three-hour journey to the south.