Northern Lights Holidays to Nellim

Sitting quietly at 68° north of the Arctic Circle, Nellim is a small village with a big reputation for the Northern Lights. Nellim is 42km from the main town of Ivalo and just a mere 9km from the Russian border ensuring an isolated spot with minimal light pollution – the perfect scenario for potential viewings of the Aurora Borealis.

To get to Nellim you will travel along winding roads bordered by forested fells and snow-topped scenery which remains uninterrupted for miles. This is quite simply a stunning location for an Aurora zone experience.

The village itself is home only to a small marina and a few stores so is known mainly for its hotel which resides outside the village on the shores of Lake Inari, the third largest lake in Finland.  Lake Inari remains frozen and blanketed with a thick layer of snow in the winter giving visitors the ideal base for Aurora hunts. Indeed, our trips to Nellim will almost always include a night time visit to one of the Aurora Camps which sit at perfect vantage points on Lake Inari.

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As a settlement, Nellim dates back to the Stone Age and today the village is seen as an environment of historical, cultural and geographical significance. The village is also known as the village of three cultures, home to around 170 Finns, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi. In the winter this number can double with the number of tourists who are drawn to this idyllic region.

The village of Nellim, despite its seemingly insignificant size, is also home to a number of culturally and historically significant sites. These include a small Russian Orthodox Church constructed from locally sourced logs. Visitors with an interest in local history may also enjoy a preserved and restored log flume, which dates back to the once thriving logging industry of the 1920s. Here you can see the wooden flume waterway which was constructed to transfer logs from this region to a sawmill on the Norwegian shores of the Arctic Ocean.

In more recent history, Nellim held an important strategic position during the Second World War, and today the remnants of the fortifications built to defend the area from the Russians can be seen.

Being only 9km from the Russian border, visitors on some of the snowmobiling excursions can also go to the fence line which separates Finland from Russia and see the cameras which are still in operation.

A real highlight of the region is the nearby Paatsjoki Bridge, an idyllic Northern Lights vantage point. Here visitors can stand overlooking the water, which due to its fast flow, rarely freezes, ensuring that should the Northern Lights be on display they will be beautifully reflected in the water below.

This spot is also a beautifully photogenic location first thing in the morning when the mist rolls across the river as the sun rises just above the horizon – a definite memorable photographic opportunity during your stay.

Image credits: Anthony Oberlin and Markku Inkila

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The Aurora Zone was born out of our love of all things wintery. We were already regular visitors to the likes of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland thanks to a fascination with winter activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling and the Scandinavian way of life. Many of our visits coincided with sightings of the Northern Lights and The Aurora Zone was born from a desire to share Mother Nature’s greatest wonder with as many people as possible. We have all been held in the Aurora’s thrall and our mission is to do our very best to ensure that our clients can experience that magical moment on their Northern Lights holiday.

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    We include more in our holidays than any other Aurora operator

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