Download GPX file for this article
68.440922.4788Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The church seen across the Muonio river.

Karesuando (Sámi: Gárasavvon, Finnish: Karesuvanto) is the northernmost village in Sweden, in the municipality of Kiruna. Across the Muoniojoki river is the Finnish half of the village, Karesuvanto.



This is the northernmost official border crossing between Finland and Sweden. The border is undramatic; if you have a boat or the river is frozen, you normally do not have to use the bridge. The Currency and time zone are different in Finland.

It is famous as the birthplace of the temperance and pietist Christian revival movement Laestadianism. It was founded by the vicar Lars Levi Laestadius, who served in Karesuando between 1826 and 1849 and spread rapidly among the Sami, eventually growing into the largest Christian revival movement in the Nordic countries.

The Swedish part of Karesuando has about 350 inhabitants, just above the 200 inhabitants needed to qualify as a village (tätort) in Swedish statistics. With 150 on the Finnish side, the combined population is some 500.

The only settlements further north in Sweden are smaller hamlets, single homes, or tourist camps.

There is Swedish, Sami and Finnish heritage.

Get in


The European highway E45 from Italy to Alta leads through Karesuando/Kaaresuvanto, joining E8 from Turku to Tromsø across the border. National road 99 from Haparanda via Pajala ends here.

The nearest airports are in Kiruna, Hetta ("Enontekiö"), Kittilä and Tromsø. There are bus connections from Kiruna daily except Saturdays (Länstrafiken Norrbotten) and across the border (1 km) at least daily connections from Rovaniemi (timetables: Matkahuolto), heading for Kilpisjärvi or (in summertime only) Tromsø. The village is 180 km from Kiruna centre, 186 km from Pajala, 110 km from Kilpisjärvi, 66 km from Hetta and 272 km from Tromsø.

You might also end up here coming by the Victorialeden snowmobile route along the border, or canoeing from Kilpisjärvi by Könkämäeno or from Käsivarsi Wilderness Area by Lätäseno (the two join to form the Muonio river 9 km upstream from the village).

Get around


Most service is within 1 km from the church, along the roads.

Taxi: Gunnar Asplund, phone +46 981 200-00


  • Wooden church, built 1905 and renovated 1953–1954.
  • Laestadius' house (Laestadius pörte) of 1828. Lars Levi Laestadius was vicar of the parish 1826–1849. The Leastadian revival movement still has great influence in the northern parts of Finland and Sweden.
  • Vita huset, Laestadiusvägen 113, +46 981 201-41. 10:00–17:00. Local history museum.
  • View from the Kaarevaara fell above the village.
  • View from Tynnyrilaki of Pingisvaara fells, part of the Struve Geodetic Arc, about 30 km from Karesuando along road 99. There is a forest road east of lake Paittasjärvi, a 1 km/140 m walk to the peak. A nice meadow by Pingisjärvi. The other peaks measured from here were Stuorrahanoaivi (Sturoivi; in Tarvantovaara wilderness area), Kerstivaara and Ounastunturi (near Hetta, in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park) in Finland and Pessinki to south-west in Sweden.



Karesuando is a haven for outdoor life; especially winter sport.

  • Hiking and cross country skiing
  • Kayaking/canoeing
    • Könkämä and Muonio rivers from Kilpisjärvi. Average height differences moderate, but some rapids are steep or long; the route is regarded as difficult overall. 130 km, 10 % lakes.
    • Jierijoki and Idijoki down to Könkämä river. Easy, with some rapids; nice landscapes. 44 km, 30 % lakes.
  • Snowmobiling (taking skis with you, you can make sidetrips to places where driving is prohibited)



Grocery stores:

  • Handlarn Karesuando, Laestadiusvägen 49 A, +46 981 202-02. M–Sa 08:00–20:00, Su 10:00–18:00.
  • Arctic Livs, +46 981 203-70. M–F 09:00–18:00, Sa 10:00–18:00, Su 12:00–16:00.


  • 1 Arctic Lunch & Grill, Laestadiusvägen 48, +46 981 203 70. A fast food joint serving burgers and Asian food. 70 kr lunch of the day.
  • 2 Davvi Arctic Star, Laestadiusvägen 153. Hotel restaurant of the eponymous hotel.





A motel and several cottage businesses, most closed in winter.

  • 1 Karesuando Camping & Rekreation (from the church 1.2 km towards Pajala), +46 70-605-1124, . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Camping and cottages by the river. Sauna. Guided tours, fishing, berry picking and hiking on agreement in advance. Open latter May to August 16th. Cottage with/without water 500/350kr, caravan 200kr (electricity +30kr).
  • 2 Davvi Arctic (Arctic Star Hotel), Laestadiusvägen 153 (1 km east of the border bridge). Features a restaurant, a hotel bar and a bubble pool!

See Karesuvanto for accommodation on the Finnish side of the border.



Postal code: 980 16 Karesuando

Go next

Routes through Karesuando
TromsøKilpisjärvi  W  E  KolariTurku
AltaKaresuvanto  N  S  GällivareGöteborg

This city travel guide to Karesuando is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.