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For other places with the same name, see Pello (disambiguation).

Pello is a town and municipality in Finnish Lapland, in the Tornionjoki river valley. It stands in the heart of Tornio river valley cultural sphere and connections across the border are tight.

The municipality is unilingually Finnish. The local dialect is distinctive and gives an important element to the local people's identity. As elsewhere in Finland, English is widely understood.



The municipality has some 3,500 inhabitants on 1,700 km². Some 2,000 people live in the administrative centre, the town Pello. Until Finland got separated from Sweden in 1809 Pello, Ylitornio and Övertorneå, the last one in modern-day Sweden, were a single Finnish speaking parish. Connections to Sweden across the river are tight, regardless of two centuries with a border in between. Many villages across the river share the same name.

The river Torniojoki or Väylä ("The Passage"), as locals call it, does not separate but bring the people together. For decades there was even a large summer event called Pokkinainti where couples across the border got married. During the 2010s the festival has mostly ceased as the young tend to move into cities and find their love there.

French mathematician and astronomer Pierre de Maupertuis determined the shape of the Earth by making astronomical measurements in the Tornio river valley 1736–1737. The northernmost measurements were done at Kittisvaara hill, right next to the current town Pello. The Pello coat-of-arms carry three stars to memorize Mapertuis' trip. Also von Struve used the hill, in the mid-1800s. Italian explorer Giuseppe Acerbi visited Pello in 1799 and described it as a wealthy village.

The former parish village Turtola is on E8 south of the town. The administrative centre was transferred to Pello after the Lapland War as German troops destroyed most villages in Lapland. Here the destruction was complete; only the remote Konttajärvi village and some individual buildings survived.

Today Pello suffers from high unemployment and negative net migration. The municipality itself is the largest employer. Located by the Swedish border and by an important route between the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Sea, logistics business has grown to a major source of income.

The Arctic Circle runs across the road E8 in the village Juoksenki, in the south-west corner of the municipality.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The municipality is on E8. From Tornio (120 km) to Kilpisjärvi (340 km) it runs by the Swedish border as national road 21. There is a 1 border crossing on the bridge between the Finnish and Swedish parts of the town, the Swedish part belonging to Övertorneå. The Finnish Customs operates the border only by patrol. If necessary, make the customs declaration online.

2 Juoksenki ice road connect Juoksenki village to a village of the same name in Sweden during the winter – a more exotic way to enter the country.

National road 83 comes in from Rovaniemi (100 km).

From the south, you might want to take your car on an overnight train from the south and unload it in Oulu, Kolari or Rovaniemi (depending on your train and your preferences).

By train[edit]

The overnight trains from Helsinki to Kolari stop at 3 Pello railway platform. They are seasonal, with up to two trains a day in peak season. There is no railway station building but just a shed. When there are no suitable trains to here, you can switch to bus in Kemi (145 km) or Rovaniemi.

By bus[edit]

There are coaches from Kemi in the south and from Rovaniemi in the south-east (via Ylitornio). There may be none from Muonio and Kolari in the north. The coaches between Haparanda and Pajala pass the Swedish Pello village. You need to walk or take a taxi across the border.

By plane[edit]

By plane you can use the airports of Pajala (PJA IATA), Kemi-Tornio KEM IATA or Rovaniemi (RVN IATA). Pajala has connections from Stockholm and Luleå, otherwise Rovaniemi is the main option. Rovaniemi airport has no direct bus connection to Pello; you need to catch the "airport express" at the bus station.

Get around[edit]

Map of Pello

By taxi[edit]

  • Menevä Pello, +358 50-471-0470 (head of office), toll-free: 0800-02120 (booking). Also bookable by app or web. Fixed price based on calculated route and time if destination address given when booking by app or web. Flag fall M–Sa 06:00–18:00: €7, other times and holidays: €7; 1–4 persons €1.00/km + €0.90/min, 5–8 persons minimum €20, €1.60/km + €0.90/min (March 2021).


Timber driving competition on Tornionjoki
  • 1 Maupertuis memorial (trailhead across the railway from Vihreä pysäkki – but the railway crossing is 500 m to the south).
  • 2 Struve point (at the top of Kittisvaara, along the same trail as the Maupertuis memorial). A point of the Struve Geodetic Arc.
  • 3 Oranki art exhibit (Oranki ridge, 1.3 km north-east of the village; check map and directions on their website). in summer, 2023: 22 Jun–30 Sep. Environmental art workshop and exhibit, arranged since 2001, old sculptures remain. Free.


Fishing, skiing (Skiing track map) and hiking.

  • 1 Lapland Wild Fish (Lapin Villikala), Pientie 3 (Sirkkakoski, 20 km south-east from the centre; start along Rovaniementie), +358 40-766-5399, . Fish, fish products and fishing excursions on the lake Miekojärvi.
  • 2 Reindeer Lake Resort (Puolukkamaan Pirtit), Puolamajärventie 18A, Lampsijärvi (by Puolamajärvi, 21 km east-north-east from Pello; start along Rovaniementie), +358 400-923-034, . Reindeer farm: reindeer activities, other programme services, lodging, reindeer meat. Negotiate activities beforehand.
  • 3 Miekojärvi lake area (20 km south-east from the centre; Sirkkakoski is a good starting point). Lakes, beaches and old-growth forest.


  • 1 Pörröporo, Karpinniementie 1 (in the north end of Juoksenki, 3–4 km from Juoksenki centre), +358 400-397-655. M–Sa 9:30–17:00 Su 10:00–17:00. Reindeer meat, berries, jam, cheese and other local produce. Souvenirs. Café.
  • 2 Vihreä pysäkki, Kolarintie 9 (by E8, at the river shore below Kittisvaara). Shopping centre. Textiles, interior design, gifts. Shops of Pentik and Marimekko.

Eat and drink[edit]

  • , Kolarintie 9 A (in the shopping centre Vihreä pysäkki), +358 16 515-500, . M–Sa 10:00–17:00 Su 11:00–17:00; lunch M–F 11:00–14:00 Sa 11:00–15:00 Su 12:00–15:00. Café and restaurant. €16–26, pizzas €13–16, snacks €6; children's menu €6–14; lunch buffet M–F €12, Sa Su €15, children €5.50/7.50.






As of Nov 2023, Pello and its approach roads have 4G from Elisa and Telia, but no signal from DNA. 5G has not reached this area.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Pello
KilpisjärviKolari  N  S  YlitornioTornio

This city travel guide to Pello 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.