The Finnish capital of the indigenous reindeer herding Sámi people, Inari is a region steeped in tradition where reindeer outnumber people.
Inari is Aurora hunting’s unrecognised hero. We hear so much about Reykjavik in Iceland, and Tromsø in Norway but that is because they are large population centres with (ahem!) significant marketing budgets.
Little-known Inari has a Northern Lights record to match, or even better, any of its more vaunted rivals but significantly, Inari’s population density is minuscule in comparison. With more reindeer than people living in the Inari municipality there is virtually no light pollution so, on a good night, rather than having to escape the yellow glare of a large town or city, you can just stroll down to the lake and watch the show.
At first glance, you wouldn’t even know that Inari is anything other than a small village situated on the shore of huge lake but hereabouts you’ll find a few hotels which provide some of the best Aurora viewing services in the world.
Inari is also the Finnish capital of the indigenous reindeer herding Sámi people and is steeped in tradition and even, a degree of mysticism. To stand on frozen Lake Inari some 250 km north of the Arctic Circle and behold the Northern Lights overhead is about a far as you can get from modern day urban life.
The Perfect Viewpoint
Lake Inari is huge, and the wide open spaces mean that there are unobstructed views of the northern skies. This makes it perfect Aurora viewing territory and as a result, our partners have set up Aurora Camps on the lakeside. At these camps, your guide can get a fire going and brew up some warm drinks while you wait for the Aurora to emerge.
For the most romantic of Aurora hunts how about treating your partner to a private tour in heated glass windowed Aurora Sleigh? You’ll be pulled by a snowmobile driven by a local Aurora guide who will do all the hard work while you sit back and eagerly watch the sky.
There’s also Aurora hunting activities such as snowmobile safaris, snowshoeing, and car and minibus tours to provide additional mobility when trying to avoid cloud cover.
There are also plentiful daytime activities here many of which help maintain the cultural and traditional identity of Lapland’s indigenous Sámi people.
The excellent Sámi Siida Museum in the village is well worth visiting and beyond Inari itself, there are many winter delights to be enjoyed. Snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing are all available in the huge winter wilderness that surrounds little Inari.
Inari features a host of accommodation options to suit different tastes, all in prime Aurora territory.
Wilderness Hotel Juutua was completely renovated in late 2022 and offers a chic yet cosy base to explore the stunning Inari region via the fantastic winter activities on offer by the hotel. The small village of Inari is also within walking distance from the hotel and many of our guests choose to explore under their own steam during their downtime from activities. The hotel is also home to the locally renowned Aanaar Restaurant which offers the freshest local ingredients in dishes unique to Lapland. The restaurant offers an awesome taster menu (a supplement may apply if this is not included in your chosen holiday package) for those real foodies!
Wilderness Hotel Inari is a Lake Inari hotel focussing on the Northern Lights. We particularly like the Aurora cabins which boast premium views because of their large thermal windows. If you like the idea of watching the Northern Lights from the comfort of your own bed then these cabins might just make it happen. There are also the cosy log cabins, for a true winter retreat or the Panorama Lakeside Chalets for a touch of luxury.
There is a great range of daytime activities available here to keep you busy while you wait for darkness to fall and the Aurora hunting to begin.
Photography by Matt Robinson, Inari-Saariselka Tourism and Markku Inkila