Ivalo (Sami: Avvil) is a town in Finnish Lapland. It is the administrative centre for the municipality of Inari, with half the population and e.g. the health care centre. The municipality, at 17,333 km2 (6,692 sq mi), 5 % of the country, is the largest in Finland – but has a population less than 7,000.
- 1 Ivalo Airport (IVL IATA). is the northernmost airport in Finland. The only scheduled services are twice daily flights to Helsinki (1:40) on Finnair, although there are many charter flights from all over Europe during the Christmas/New Year peak tourism season. The airport has a regular bus service to Saariselkä (25 km, 20 min, €7,50). To get to Ivalo, there's an online bookable transport service from the airport and Ivalo and onto Inari. This service must be booked in advance. There will be a minibus or coach (depending on how many passengers have pre-booked), which meets every incoming Finnair flight. Stops at most hotels and guest houses and also connects to all departing Finnair flights. Taxis to Ivalo and Saariselkä cost around €17 and €35 respectively.
Ivalo is on national road 4 (E75) from Norway via Utsjoki to Sodankylä and to the railhead at Rovaniemi (3 hours away), and is thus served by any buses plying this route, including connections from/via Karigasniemi and Näätämö. Gluttons for punishment can even take a direct bus from Helsinki, which takes around 15 hours. There's a bus connection from Murmansk, Russia as well.
The above mentioned road 4 from Helsinki can of course also be driven by car.
Although quite large, Ivalo is not that well-known by tourists. The village was destroyed during the Lapland War 1944–1945. Most tourist businesses offer services for outdoor activities and visiting the nearby areas.
The northern limit for spruce is near the town. Here are still some big spruces, while few non-planted ones grow much to the north.
There is a Metsähallitus Customer Service in Ivalo:
- Ivalo Customer Service, Ivalontie 10, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Metsähallitus Customer Service, with information on state-owned lands in the municipalities of Inari and Utsjoki, especially about hiking opportunities. They also sell maps, fishing and hunting permits and take reservations for rental cabins in wilderness areas.
The Ivalo River (Ivalojoki) through the town was the site of a gold rush upstream in the 1870s, and some gold panners still try their luck. The former "Crown Station" Ivalojoen Kultala has been restored and is open for visitors (no fee). There is also an open wilderness hut and a rental hut at the site. Kultala is at Ivalojoki in Hammastunturi Wilderness Area, about 14 km from the nearest road (which is in bad condition). The recommended route (via the road to Kuttura) passes the gold panning area at the river Sotajoki, which is quite a sight, with unorganized caravan camping and machine dug holes in the stony river banks. There are historic gold villages also here, with huts and some other facilities for visitors. Farther from the road the route passes through nice landscapes (it might be worthwhile to deviate from the route for some hilltop views). The Ivalojoki canyon and the rope bridge over it at Kultala are sights in themselves.
Ivalojoki is a very nice canoeing route from Kuttura to Ivalo.
There are snowmobile routes passing by the village.
There are several accommodation businesses in and around Ivalo. Those in the neighbourhood often offer cottages and also activities.
In or near the centre
- Hotel Ivalo, Ivalontie 34, ☏ , fax: .
- Hotelli Kultahippu, Petsamontie 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- (Näverniemen Lomakylä), Näverniementie 17, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Camping, cottages and apartments.
- Guesthouse Husky, Hirviniementie 65, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. €92–136 depending on season.
- Saariselkä, 30 km south from Ivalo. Winter sports resort, gateway to Urho Kekkonen National Park.
- Inari, 40 km north from Ivalo, centre for Sámi culture, by the large lake Inari with a mosaic of islands.
|Routes through Ivalo|
|Vardø ← Inari ←||N S||→ Saariselkä → Rovaniemi|