Pelkosenniemi is a municipality in central Finnish Lapland. Pyhä-Luosto National Park and Pyhä holiday resort are where most visitors are heading to and where most servicies are. Lampivaara amethyst mine is the only open amethyst mine in Europe.
The municipality is unilingually Finnish. As elsewhere in Finland, English is widely understood.
The municipality is named after Paavali Pelkonen, a Finnish settler from Ostrobothnia who arrived here in 1664. As the Crown of Sweden hadn't taken these lands into its ownership (yet), Pelkonen's act was actually illegal. The Samis sued him several times for hunting beavers and fishing, and finally in 1671 the court ordered Pelkonen's settlements to be destroyed. However, Pelkonen appealed to the Governor of Osthrobothnia and eventually got permission to stay on the grounds. He died in 1715 and was buried to Kemijärvi cemetery.
During World War 2, the Battle of Pelkosenniemi was between Finnish and Soviet Armies in December 1939. The Finns won the battle. After the Soviets retrieved, they were unable to ever strike again.
Since the 1950s, the 1 Vuotos area was planned to create a new reservoir to produce hydroelectric power. This Vuotos Reservoir (Finnish: Vuotoksen allas) was one of the main topics in Finnish environment and energy politics for decades until 2018 when a political decision not to create the reservoir ceased the debate... at least for now. The public opinion in Finland was, and still is, mostly against the reservoir.
Being home for just 950 permanent residents Pelkosenniemi is the least populated municipality in Finnish Lapland and the population trend is still declining. The local economy is heavily based on tourism. 2 Pyhä holiday resort is the main employer but most workers at the resort come from elsewhere and stay here just for the season. Most leisure services have centered to Pyhä resort.
The most famous person born in Pelkosenniemi is rock musician Antti Hulkko, better known as Andy McCoy.
If you arrive by car, the main village is by the road E63. To get to Pyhä resort turn from E63 to road 962 at Vuostimo or from E75 at Torvinen.
There are a few daily coach connections to the parish village from Rovaniemi via Sodankylä or Kemijärvi. A bus ticket from Rovaniemi costs approx €30/adult and the trip takes about 2.5 hours.
From Kemijärvi there are more daily connections. A bus ticket costs €12/adult and the trip takes about an hour. Most departures visit Pyhätunturi resort on their way.
Check Matkahuolto for details. Use "Pyhätunturi" as your destination if you are heading to the Pyhä resort.
VR has a direct coach connection from the railway stations to the Pyhä resort. When using the VR travel search use "Pyhä" as your destination. A one-way ticket from Helsinki costs around €100/adult including the following coach trip.
If you are going elsewhere you probably have to buy the coach ticket from Rovaniemi or Kemijärvi separately, see By bus above.
The nearest airport is in Rovaniemi. Most coaches from there go via the airport.
The SkiBus runs daily between Pyhä resort and Rovaniemi airport via Luosto. The SkiBus waits delayed flight for one hour. If your flight is delayed more than an hour contact Kutilan Liikenne Oy and inform about the situation. The SkiBus costs €31/adult, €21/young person, €15/child or student.
There is no local public transportation in Pelkosenniemi. You may use taxi or the long distance coaches if your destination in on their routes. Check Matkahuolto or ask your host for details.
During the spring season the Pyhä shuttle drives a circular route around Pyhä resort. The shuttle is free of charge.
- Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi
In or near the main village
- 1 Pelkosenniemi church, Kirkkotie 10 (in the centre), ☏ . The wooden church built in 1929 was saved in the Lapland War. The church and the surrounding buildings are on the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. Open during the services, otherwise by request. Free.
- 2 Pelkosenniemi local history museum, Kirkkotie 10 (in the centre). Open occasionally during summer.
- 3 Andy McCoy statue, Sodankyläntie 5 (in the centre). A wooden(!) statue honouring Andy McCoy (1962–). A Pelkosenniemi-born Finnish rock musician. Free.
- 4 Kilpiaapa mire, Koulutie. One of the largest aapa-type mires in Finland right by the main village. This huge mire complex is an important nesting site for many birds, including some true rarities. Nature trail 2.7 km on duckboards. Campfire site and bird observing tower. If you are lucky, seeing elks or even bears on the mire is possible. Option for guided tours. Free.
- 5 Battle of Pelkosenniemi memorial, Sodankyläntie 369 (3 km north from the centre). The Battle of Pelkosenniemi was fought at the confluence of rivers Kitinen and Kemijoki in December 16–19 1939, during the Winter War. It was a great victory for the Finnish Army, and after the battle the Soviet Army retreated, leaving much of its heavy equipment and vehicles behind. After the following Finnish counter-attack Soviet troops were unable to cross the new defence line near the current Finland-Russia border. Losses were heavy; the Finns had 117 deceased and 105 disappeared. The memorial was dedicated in 1964. Free.
- 6 Memorial of Soviet Soldiers, Savukoskentie (6 km north from the centre). A memorial honouring those over 1000 Soviet soldiers being killed during the Battle of Pelkosenniemi. The memorial was dedicated in 2002. Free.
At or near Pyhä or Luosto
- 7 Pyhä-Luosto visitor centre Naava, Luontotie 1 (at Pyhätunturi, 24 km from the centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. year round daily 09:00/10:00–17:00. Pelkosenniemi tourist information. Exhibition about Pyhä-Luosto fell area, its geology, nature, and history of the forest Sami. Restaurant. Maps and other information about nature destinations in the East-Lapland. Keys for the rental huts. Free.
- 8 Isokuru ravine, Holy Baptism Spring and waterfall (at Pyhätunturi). The Isokuru-Pyhäkuru ravine complex is one of the most picturesque places in Finland and has many fascinating geological features. The Sami were baptised to Christianity at Pyhänkasteenlähde, "Holy Baptism Spring", from 1620 to 1680. There is a tall but narrow waterfall next to the pond. The site is a sieidi, a sacred place for the Sami. Free.
- 9 Lampivaara amethyst mine, Luostontie 4 (17 km from Pyhätunturi), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. June–September: daily 11:00–16:00/17:00, October: Tu–Sa 11:00–15:00. The quarry is closed in winter and spring. The quarry is worked with little machinery, not to exhaust it too soon. The entrance fee includes a guided tour to the quarry and every visitor may dig his/her own amethyst and keep it – one of them if you pick several. The café is open year round. NOTICE: The parking lot is 3 km from the mine and there are lots of stairs so the visit is not suitable for the disabled. The Amethyst Shop is at the Luosto resort. adult €19, child €10; with return transportation from Luosto €33/€15.
- 10 Suvanto village, Suvannontie. One of those few villages in Lapland that were completely saved from scorched earth policy of retrieving German soldiers during the Lapland War. Amazingly here is no post-war architecture either, which actually makes the village completely unique. The buildings are from late 19th or latest early 20th century, and the view to the village is today quite the same as it was a hundred years ago. There are about 30 year-round residents but many more come here for summer. Services include a café, an art gallery and a few cottage accommodations for visitors. The village is on the list of nationally significant scenic views. Free.
- 11 Kairala village, Sodankyläntie. A traditional agricultural village by the river Kitinen. The settlement on the west bank was completely saved from destruction in the Lapland War while the east bank was burned to ashes by the German troops. Most buildings built in the late 19th and early 20th century. On the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. Free.
- 12 Luiro village, Luirontie. A third village that was saved from devastation by German troops during the Lapland War. This was because the village has been built onto a narrow landstrip in the middle of vast mires and at the time it was roadless. By a river of same name. Bird watching tower a few kilometres north from the village by the Kairanaapa mire. Free.
There are bird watching towers by many of those vast mires in the area. River Kitinen is a popular fishing destination.
- 1 Luiro mires (12.5 km north from Pelkosenniemi towards Savukoski). Large fen mires and raised bogs, internationally significant bird habitat. The Sokanaapa trail and bird watching tower are an easy way to see some of the mires. Getting a more complete picture of the 12 km² area requires planning and decent equipment. Free.
- 2 Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Pyhä-Luosto National Park is the fifth popular national park in Finland with 174 000 visitors in 2018. The park covers a fell massif extending from Pyhätunturi fell in south to Luosto fell in north. There are old-growth forest, mires and, of course, those treeless fells. Some arctic species have their southernmost occurrences here. Fishing is allowed in some parts of the park but you need to by a permit. Several marked hiking trails from a 4-km circular route to s 35-km trail. Mountain bike routes 12–35 km. Free.
- 1 K-market Pelkosenniemi, Sodankyläntie 8 (in the centre), ☏ . M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 09:00-21:00. Groceries.
- 2 K-market Pyhäntähti, Kultakeronkatu 4 (in Pyhä resort), ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa-Su 10:00-18:00. Groceries and souvenirs. Mail service. Gasoline. Prescription-free drugs. Alko pick-up point.
- 3 SEO Pelkosenniemi, Sodankyläntie 9, ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa-Su 09:00-17:00. Gasoline. Café & bar. Mail service. Alko pick-up point.
Eat & Drink
There are several restaurants and bars at the Pyhä resort.
- 1 SEO Pelkosenniemi, Sodankyläntie 9 (in the main village), ☏ . M–F 09:00–18:00, Sa–Su 09:00–17:00. Café at the gasoline station. Seems to be a meeting point for elderly (?) locals.
- 2 Kairan Pirttikahvila, Sodankyläntie 1009 (in Kairala), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer café open from June until September. Local turnip products.
- 3 Café-Gallery Säpikäs, Suvannontie 1043 (in Suvanto), ☏ . Café in a historic environment. Art gallery.
For accommodation at Pyhä resort see Pyhä.
- 1 Mäkelän B&B, Kemijärventie 664, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A small B&B by the river Kemijoki.
- Ollila hut (in Suvanto), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cottage for 4+2 persons in the Suvanto village. Dry toilet. Sauna. No linen. winter €70/night, summer €60/night.
- 2 Mettiäinen huts, Suvannontie 1043 (in Suvanto), ☏ . Four cottages in the Suvanto village. Sauna. Café.
- Hunting lodge Kotasija (in Suvanto), ☏ . Lodging option for 10 persons, modern kitchen, shower and WC. €50/person.
- The Pyhä resort.
- Savukoski, the neighbouring municipality, even less densely populated, with a third of it protected areas, including part of Urho Kekkonen National Park, Kemihaara Wilderness Area, the northernmost part of the UKK trail, and the Korvatunturi fell, home of Father Christmas.
|Routes through Pelkosenniemi|
|Ends at ← Sodankylä ←||N S||→ Kemijärvi → Kuusamo|
|Starts from ←||W E||→ Savukoski → Kelloselkä|