Russia to Finland

Inari - Centre of the Sami Winter Tour

Lapland Flag


Snowmobile Heaven

Departures October to April

The village of Inari is the centre of the Sámi culture in Finland and the heritage of the Sámi culture is active and vital in Inari and its surroundings. Here you can learn more about Sámi culture, handicrafts and reindeer husbandry. SIIDA – Sámi Museum, Northern Lapland Nature Centre have created a fascinating information package focusing on the indigenous Sámi people and the yearly cycle of Northern nature. The most essential elements of the nature are Lake Inari, numerous rivers, fells and the magical change from season to season, from the Northern Lights of the polar night to midnight sun in summer. Inari is a natural and genuine choice for a traveller, who seeks untamed nature and native culture. In Inari you can make a trip to the “Ukko” island, an ancient sacrificial site of the Sámi or go hiking to the wilderness church of Pielpajärvi 7 km north from the village. In Inari you can also visit a Sámi family and learn about reindeer herding and the life of the reindeer herders’ history and modern times.

Tours can operate in reverse:

Day 1          Depart Moscow/St Petersburg
Transfer to Ladozhsky railway station in St Petersburg. Four berth sleeper on train #12 departing at 0931. Travel time is 27 hours and 35 minutes. Transfer to Leningradsky railway station in Moscow. Four berth sleeper on train #16 departing at 0050. Travel time is 35 hours and 51 minutes.

Day 2      Arrive Murmansk
Arrive Murmansk at 1241 if coming from Moscow and 1306 if coming from St Petersburg. Transfer to hotel Polyarnye Zory for two nights.

Day 3          In Murmansk
After breakfast you will be taken on a three hour sightseeing tour of Murmansk with local English speaking guide. Afternoon free to explore the rest of the city. Murmansk, the world’s biggest city within the Arctic Circle, is situated 300 km from Ivalo among hills, on the coast of ice-free Kola Bay, 50 km from the Barents Sea. The city itself has an interesting history and today is a fascinating mixture of modern life and old “Soviet style”. You will be surprised!

Day 4          Depart Murmansk
Breakfast in hotel. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the bus station for the local bus to Kirkenes in Norway departing at 1530. The bus route takes us through Nikkel town in Russia, which is famous for its nickel mines before crossing the border and arriving in Kirkenes. Accommodation in Rica hotel Kirkenes for one night. The rooms are equipped with a shower and WC. Optional accommodation in snow hotel!

Day 5
Your guide will meet you at your accommodation at 1145. The drive to Finland and Inari village will take you through a variety of landscapes. First you drive along the Neiden Fjord to Neiden village. There you will make a stop at a small waterfall of a salmon river. With some luck one might see the salmon jump. In July and August, the locals fish here for salmon, using the traditional way of casting nets.

You head along the Varangerfjord towards Nuorgam through vast peatlands, passing rough weathered rocks and cliffs. You will drive through the beautiful Tana valley westward to Utsjoki. In Utsjoki the “Sámi bridge” connects Norway and Finland across the border river. We will be stopping at the church in Utsjoki which was built during the years 1850–53. Originally 22 buildings, the so-called church huts, belonged to the church which was in use until the 1930’s. Today, the 14 remaining huts are protected as cultural heritage. From Utsjoki the journey will lead south through marvellous fell landscape. You will find yourself in the kingdom of reindeer. In many areas there are more reindeer than people. We will take a coffee or lunch break on the way. This is not included in the price. Distance 350 km / 219 miles, duration 5-6 hours. In the early evening you reach your hotel in Inari.

The accommodation includes breakfast in the Hotel Rica Hotel. The double rooms are equipped with a shower and WC. Accommodation in this hotel for three nights. Accommodation at the Snow Hotel is possible - see price section.

Day 6
After breakfast you will visit the SIIDA - Sámi museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre. SIIDA hosts exhibitions about the regional culture and nature. The Sámi museum and the forest and park service have combined their knowledge and skills to create an interesting and competent information package. The museum is divided into an introductory and a main exhibition. In addition one finds temporary/changing exhibitions as well as an open air part.

In the afternoon you will also visit the Reindeer Farm where you will get information on the Sámi culture, past and today, reindeer and reindeer herding. You will be served coffee/tea and cake, which is included in the price.

Additional winter activities and sightseeing in Inari village:

- snowmobile safari to the holy Sámi island of Ukko and wilderness church Pielpajärvi or in the evening for “hunting Northern Lights”
- reindeer safari, husky safari, ice fishing safari
- cross country skiing, tobogganing
- snowshoeing day time to wilderness church Pielpajärvi or evening for “hunting Northern Lights”
- equipment rental; cross country skis, skates, snowshoes, kick sleds
- possibility for overnight or even several days snowmobile safaris

Day 7
Breakfast in hotel. Today we have more time for additional summer activities.

Day 8
After breakfast you have three choices.

1) Depart the hotel towards Kirkenes at 0800 for a scenic drive, which follows the shores of Inari Lake and others. There are over 50 lakes and you will experience some of them. There are many interesting photo opportunities, for example the rocky "Devil’s Fields' of on the shores of lake Jänisjärvi. The drive is takes you through the Skolt Sami region. Your guide will explain about the Skolt Sami and some of their history. In the Skolt Sami village of Sevettijärvi there is a small Orthodox church and interesting graveyard. Remember that when crossing the border we will gain one hour. The drive will continue towards Kirkenes along the Neidenfjord. It will be a one hour drive from the border to reach Kirkenes. Our guide will take you to the airport, hotel or harbour according to your travel plans. Distance 200km, duration - about four hours 

2) Public bus from Inari to Rovaniemi. Departure at 1215 and arrival about 1730.

3) Private transfer from Inari to Ivalo airport.

Price and booking

We quote this for individual requests for clients who are working with us on one of our Russian programmes.

Snow Hotel Snow Hotel Bedroom

Can Include:

  • Transfer to the railway station in St Petersburg or Moscow
  • Rail to Murmansk in the class of your choice
  • Transfer to the hotel in Murmansk and back to the bus station
  • Accommodation in Mumansk for two nights including breakfast
  • Three hour sightseeing in Murmansk
  • Transfers Kirkenes - Varangenbotten – Utsjoki – Inari, Inari – reindeer farm – Inari, Inari – Sevettijärvi Kirkenes OR public bus ticket Inari – Rovaniemi OR private transfer Inari – Ivalo airport
  • English speaking guide during trip Kirkenes – Inari, in Siida, at the reindeer farm, during trip Inari - Kirkenes
  • Accommodation in Kirkenes for one night with breakfast*
  • Accommodation in Inari in hotel Inarin Kultahovi for three nights with breakfast
  • Visits to Siida and the reindeer farm
  • Local Vat

* The Snowhotel includes dinner, breakfast, sauna & shower in morning.

Visit our Lapland information page which also has information on the climate.

Reindeer in winter pasture

South Sami tin thread embroidery. 
The cruciform motif represents the sun  with the four corners of  the world. This motif is found also on old shaman drums

Northern Lights