In the heart of the wilderness of Finnish Lapland lies Salla – a pristine, natural region that promises winter wonderland at its finest. Whatever images you have in mind when you think of a winter holiday in Lapland: they become reality in Salla.
Snow-covered trees, endless expanses and northern lights dancing in the sky – all this and much more awaits you in Salla. Salla is a natural jewel, a dream world of snow and ice, like you have never seen before.
“In the middle of nowhere” Salla calls herself. And if you consider that in Salla there are three times as many reindeer as people live (namely 10. to just about good 3.000), then that’s no coincidence.
In this blog article we tell you everything you need to know for a perfect winter holiday in Salla. Curtain up for our highlights and personal tips for Salla in Finnish Lapland.
1. Salla in Finnish Lapland: First Info & Travel Tips Where is Salla and how do I get there? Salla is located in South-east of Finnish Lapland, just a few kilometers from the Russian border. Incidentally, the name “Salla” actually refers to both the region and the main village of Salla. The tourist center (if you want to call it that) is in Sallatunturi around the Salla Ski Resort as well as the Salla Wilderness Park.
Salla itself does not have an airport. The nearest airport is in Kuusamo (approx. 1.5 hours drive), which is served by Finnair several times a day from Helsinki (flight time approx. 1 hour). Alternatively, you can fly into Rovaniemi Airport, which is about a 2-hour drive from Salla.
You can search for cheap flights here: Skyscanner
Once you have arrived at the airport, we recommend booking a rental car – yes, even in winter ! Don’t worry: Driving on the snow-covered roads is really half the tragedy and you are much more flexible on the spot. We will tell you all further information about driving in this article: Lapland travel tips.
What makes Salla so special? Original & Authentic Lapland has developed into quite a photo hotspot in many places (thanks to Instagram). We dare to say that you don’t get too much of it in Salla. In our opinion, Salla offers a pleasant level of tourist infrastructure, but at the same time has retained a very genuine, natural character. In any case, the feeling of space and seclusion is omnipresent during a holiday in Salla. A natural setting that will amaze
Salla is Lapland in miniature. This means: Around Salla you will find a wide variety of vegetation zones – from Oulanka National Park with its forests and rivers to the Tuntsa wilderness area in the north of Salla with its fells, i.e. the characteristic flat mountains. In any case, the focus in Salla is on the breathtaking nature. The vast landscape, the trees covered in snow beyond recognition, the frozen and snow-covered lakes – all of this will remain in your memory forever. Sustainable Tourism
In Salla, they are very concerned about sustainable tourism. For example, some accommodations have been awarded environmental certificates (e.g. Green Key). Salla is also part of the “Sustainable Travel Finland” program, which deals with the question of how to react to the increasing number of overnight stays. When is the best time to visit Salla? January and February are the best months for a classic winter trip to Salla. While it is sometimes dark for a very long time in January, the days in February are already getting significantly longer. (A brief curious comparison: at the beginning of January, the day length is just 2.5 hours, at the end of February it is a good 9!)
The March should also be great for a trip to Salla, because the climate then slowly becomes a little milder, but there is still enough snow.
We stayed in Salla in early February and found this period to be ideal. (Apart from the fact that the sky was always overcast here, but of course that can happen to you at any time of the year.) Important: Make sure that your trip does not coincide with the Finnish winter holidays falls, because then many locals go on holiday to Lapland.
How cold is it in Salla in winter? Small all clear right at the beginning: With the right equipment you really don’t have to worry about the cold To worry. We will tell you what you should pack in this blog article: Lapland packing list.
The temperature can vary quite a bit in Salla in winter. From -22 We had everything from degrees to 0 degrees. Very rarely, but the thermometer sometimes drops to up to -40 Degree. It must be said that you can expect a dry cold, which (unlike in Helsinki, for example) usually does not feel as cold as feared.
2. Activities in Salla in Winter: From Husky Safari to Snowshoeing What to do in Salla in winter? More than you might think at first glance. In this chapter we present you some of our Winter-Highlights. Good to know: You can usually easily book activities in Salla through your accommodation.
E-Fatbike-Tour Cycling in the snow? Sounds strange, but it’s actually doable! Bicycles that are suitable for snow are called fat bikes. And the name says it all: Thanks to their very wide tires, you (usually) have the best grip in the snow.
We deliberately write “usually” because cycling in the snow is of course a bit of a challenge. Sliding, sledding, drifting – that’s all part of it.
The difficulty here also clearly depends on the weather. With fresh snow, for example, it becomes more challenging and it can happen that you end up in the snow. The good thing about it: You fall really soft. (We speak from experience.)
You can either rent an e-fatbike and explore the bike tracks on your own or (our recommendation) book one guided tour with guide. Personally, we found it very pleasant to have a professional at our side who always provided us with good tips.
Overview of fatbiking Price for renting an e-fatbike: 48 Euro for 1-3 hours, 75 Euro for the whole day (half price for children, helmet is included)
Guided tour: 2 hours (approx. 18+ km) for 50 Euro per person (including guide, e-fatbike and helmet)
More info & booking: Salla Ski Resort (official website)
Snowmobile Safari A trip to the summit of In our opinion, Ruuhitunturi is one of the absolute highlights in Salla. If the weather conditions are right, dreamy Lapland postcard motifs await you on this fell. The completely snowed-in observation tower is particularly iconic.
A good way to explore the Ruuhitunturi is to go on a snowmobile tour. The journey starts directly at our Sallatunturin Tuvat accommodation. There you can first of all (if you want) borrow a thermal suit.
After a brief introduction to how a snowmobile works, the journey begins. At first the driving experience is very unusual (a bit slippery), but you get used to it quickly. However, one should not underestimate the dangers!
The nature in any case becomes more spectacular with every meter. At the latest when you get to the top of the Ruuhitunturi, you’re speechless. You are here in the most beautiful winter landscape – including a distant view of Russia. Wow!
After a photo break, there’s a stop in a really quaint café. Here you can warm up and enjoy fresh coffee and cinnamon rolls. Our conclusion: if you fancy some action in the snow, you should definitely not miss this tour.
Information about the snowmobile safari to Ruuhitunturi at a glance Duration: 2 hours
Price: 110 Euro per person or Euro per person, if there are two people sitting on a snowmobile (so total 168 Euro)
More tours, info & booking: Arctic Circle Safari ( official website)
Husky Safari What would a trip to Lapland be without a husky safari? Feeling the power of the dogs, rushing with them and the sled through the wilderness around Salla – all this is really an indescribably magical experience, that we don’t want to miss.
Huskies love to run. And how much they love it, you realize at the latest when you try to bring the sleigh team to a standstill. The driver takes care of this task. who in front takes a seat on the sled can just enjoy.
On our 2-hour tour, a break was planned halfway. While the huskies were able to relax (including stroking, of course), we had a campfire in the middle of nowhere.
Information about the husky safari at a glance Duration: 2 hours (shorter and longer tours are also offered)
Price: 115 Euro per person (half price for children)
More info & booking: Salla Wilderness Park (official website)
Sch snowshoe hike The Salla region is a paradise for snowshoe hikes. With snowshoes through the Tramping deep snow and getting to know the wintry wilderness of Finland is simply a magical experience.
Our tip: We took part in a guided snowshoe hike – in the evening hours. This may sound like a very dark affair at first, but thanks to the moonlight, you could see more than you thought.
If you are very lucky, you can even see Northern Lights on this tour. But don’t worry: Even without seeing the Northern Lights, you will remember the snowshoe hike. By the way, we ourselves were traveling with guide Jarko. If possible, be sure to book the tour with him. We haven’t met anyone in all of Finland where we felt so much love for nature.
Overview of information on snowshoe hikes Duration: 3 hours (from 18 until 21 Watch)
Price: 77 Euro per person (half price for children )More info & booking: Salla Wilderness Park (official website)
3. Watching the Northern Lights in Salla Like all of Finnish Lapland, Salla is too a super place to see the aurora dancing in the sky . The lights show between approximately late August and early April. Curiously, the best time is not deep winter, but rather spring and autumn.
There are two main requirements for auroras: A clear, dark one sky and a corresponding auroral activity (called Kp index). However, we would like to dampen expectations a bit: there is no guarantee of seeing the Northern Lights in Lapland.
The good news: if you spend several days in Salla, then the Probability for Northern Lights quite high. We will tell you more tips for watching the Northern Lights in this article: Lapland Travel Tips.
Places in Salla to watch the Northern Lights Kaunisharju Natural Phenomena Observation Point: This fairly new observation point is located about a kilometer from Salla Wilderness Park. You can park your car in the small parking bay. From there it is only about 40 meters walk to the viewpoint. You look here (from a little higher) over an old pine and spruce forest. There is a small, open hut for storage, but no other infrastructure. Lake Keselmäjärvi Natural Phenomena Observation Point: Near Salla Ski Resort, this observation point is right on the shore of the lake (frozen in winter). Thanks to the extensive lake, the view is quite open in all directions, so the place is great for watching the northern lights. 4. Eating & Drinking in Salla: Culinary Tips The Slogan “In the middle of nowhere” suggests that the range of restaurants in Salla is really very manageable. (So manageable that there are actually evenings when only one restaurant is open. A bit of research is therefore recommended.)
Many people take care of themselves and cook in your own apartment. In the main town of Salla there is a large supermarket that offers everything you need.
But we definitely recommend that you go out to eat one or the other time to try the regional specialties . The menu includes many meat dishes (such as reindeer) and fish (mainly salmon). Mushrooms and berries are also ubiquitous – in general, we found the culinary offerings in Salla to be very regional .
If you eat vegetarian food, you unfortunately have to be prepared for a rather limited choice. Vegan dishes are also served in the Kiela restaurant.
Recommendations for restaurants & cafes Kiela: This restaurant is part of our accommodation Sallatunturin Tuvat. The breakfast buffet is served here in the morning, and you can order à la carte for lunch and dinner. (Although there is also a buffet in the evening, we clearly recommend the à la carte menu.) In addition to classic dishes (mushroom soup, salmon soup, reindeer burgers, etc.), surprisingly there are also some vegetarian and even vegan delicacies. We have eaten here several times and found it very good.
Keloravintola: This rustic hut is located directly at the foot of the Salla Ski Resort. Despite self-service we found it really comfortable. In addition to pizza (gluten-free possible), burgers, pasta and salads are also offered here. Our choice was the salmon pasta, which was really good.
Ruuhitunturi Kahvila: This very quaint cafe is located near the top of Ruuhitunturi fell. If you book a snowmobile tour to Ruuhitunturi, you will end up here. Otherwise you can reach the café, for example, with cross-country skis, the e-fat bike or as part of a snowshoe hike. The location in the middle of the snow-covered winter landscape is really something special.
5. Spend the night in a Finnish cabin: Our accommodation in Salla The The originality of the Salla region is reflected in the accommodation options. That means: There are comparatively few accommodations in Salla – and most of them are quite authentic and traditional.
We chose the well-known Sallatunturin Tuvat, a spacious complex with many charming wooden huts surrounded by trees. Two holiday apartments are housed in most of the huts. So you only have one direct neighbor, if at all.
We were very lucky to be able to stay in the newest apartment (“Ferienhaus m² with sauna”) and can only warmly recommend it . Unlike in some other apartments, a modern Scandinavian style awaits you here – just to our taste!
Next to the fireplace was the private sauna clearly our highlight. There is simply nothing better in Lapland than warming up in the sauna after a long day in the cold and then sipping a hot cup of tea in front of the fireplace. So cosy!
Although we didn’t cook ourselves, the apartments at Sallatunturin Tuvat are perfectly self-catering. In addition to all sorts of kitchen appliances (stove, dishwasher, kettle, etc.), there is also an incredibly practical clothes drying cabinet, which got our wet clothes dry again in no time.
Ours Conclusion: Great location and really great value for money! We strongly recommend booking one of the newer cabins. We felt very comfortable in our apartment and would definitely come back.
You can book accommodation here: Sallatunturin Tuvat
34800Transparency: Advertising & Affiliate Links Our trip to Salla and this blog article were created in cooperation with Visit Salla. Thank you very much for this impressive experience! Of course we are free to report. This cooperation has no influence on our honest opinion.
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links . If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
And now we’re curious: Have you ever been to Finnish Lapland in winter? Maybe even in Salla? Or are you planning a trip and have further questions? We look forward to your comment!