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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 center 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 exact 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 Pello town. The Pello coat-of-arms carry three stars to memorize Mapertuis' trip. Italian explorer Giuseppe Acerbi visited Pello in 1799 and described it as a wealthy village.

The former parish village Turtola is at E8 south of the town. The administrative center 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 Juoksenki village, in the south-west corner of the municipality.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The municipality is at E8. Here it runs by the Swedish border as national road 21 from Tornio (120 km) to Kilpisjärvi (340 km). There is a 1 Pello border crossing on a bridge between the Finnish and Swedish parts of Pello town. 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. Perhaps a bit more exotic way to enter a country.

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

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 Kolari you can switch to bus in Kemi (145 km) or Rovaniemi.

By bus[edit]

There are coaches from Oulu, Kemi and Tornio in the south, from Rovaniemi in the south-east, and 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 direction; you need to take the coach downtown.

Get around[edit]

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
  • Oranki village (Oranki ridge). Environmental art workshop and exhibit. Free.


Fishing, skiing (Skiing track map) and hiking.






Go next[edit]

Routes through Pello
KilpisjärviKolari  N Tabliczka E8.svg S  YlitornioTornio

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