Kolari is a municipality in Finnish Lapland, best known as the northernmost railhead in Finland, with overnight trains from southern Finland. Most tourists continue from the town itself to Ylläs or other resorts.
The river Muonionjoki is an important salmon river and salmon fishing is the major attraction during the summer months.
Historically Kolari was famous for its mines. There are several closed mines around the municipality and the large iron ore resources are still in interest of many international mining companies. Today tourism is the main source of income, and the question about how well the mining industry would fit with it is a hot topic among the locals.
By planeThe nearest airports are in Kittilä to the east and in Pajala across the border to Sweden. Rovaniemi, farther away but with better connections at least off season, is another option.
For small private planes there is the Aavahelukka air field (EFAA), used by the local flying club.
By trainis the northernmost train station in Finland. During the winter season there is a direct train connection daily from Helsinki via Tampere; at 995 km, this is the longest single train route in Finland. An overnight trip takes 13 hours and is most comfortable in a sleeping cabin. Sometimes the train contains a special club car serving as a nightclub during the trip. The train also carries cars from Helsinki.
By carFrom Helsinki, drive by E75 to the north. Switch to E8 after Kemi.
From Sweden there is a bridge at Kolari border crossing about 3 km south from the municipality centre. There are bridges also at Haparanda/Tornio, Övertorneå/Ylitornio (Aavasaksa), Pello and Karesuvanto.
From northern Norway use E8 from Tromsø, road 93 via Kautokeino or E75 via Tana. From E75 you can turn at Sodankylä and continue via Kittilä.
The island Kolarinsaari is some 7 km long, sparsely settled near the bridge in the south. The settlements in the north are adjacent to Saaripudas on the Finnish side and the Swedish Kolari village (there was no border here before the 19th century).
In and near the centre
address: Pappilantie 4The new church was built 1965.
address: Siltatie 4The Kolari old church was built 1818–1819 and is included in the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. The church is in use only during special occasions in summer and the service in the Christmas Eve.
- Kolarinsaari island
phone: +358 20-639-7039address: Tunturintie 54The national park visitor centre has nature and cultural exhibition. Souvenirs. Fishing and hunting permits. Restaurant.
Varkaankuru nature trailA 4 km long circular trail through the narrow Varkaankuru valley. The microclimate in the valley is peculiar and the vegetation is exceptionally lush.
phone: +358 40-489-5316address: Rovantie 3A local history museum in 18th and 19th century buildings with old local household items. Short culture oriented trail.
Lukkarinvainio nature trailA circular 3.5 km long trail starting from the Kolarinsaari church going around the southern part of the Kolarinsaari island. There is a campfire site on the trail.
- Snowmobiling; a day hut, lean-to shelters and similar service along the route not far away, the routes extend to most of Lapland.
- For salmon fishing you need to buy a licence. Most accommodations near Muonionjoki river will arrange these.
Teuravuoma-Kivijärvenvuoma Protected Mire AreaThree aapa mire complexes, including open fens and forested pine bogs and spruce swamps. This 58 km² mire complex is among the largest in the whole of Europe and one of the best bird watching sites in central Lapland. Telatie is an 11 km duckboard trail between Venejärvi and Kurtakko villages, built originally in the 1880s and renovated in the 2000s. The trail is on the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. Easy routes with duckboards, lean-to shelters, campfire sites and observation towers. The observation tower at Teurajärvi, 1.4 km from the road, gives a very nice view. Kurtakko, another trailhead near Kurtakontie (1.5 km), is a 13 km hike away (i.e. 16 km in all with public transportation). Get mosquito repellent.
Niesikero nature trailAn easy 2.7 km long nature trail with lean-to shelter and observing tower.
phone: +358 50-366-8980address: Jokijalantie 1Knives, fishing lures and souvenirs, including wooden jewellery. Café with lunch.
Here are lodgings in the town or otherwise closer to the Muonionjoki river:
phone: +358 400-127-463address: Muoniontie 1Breakfast included. Sauna. Free Wi-Fi. Social dancing with live music about weekly.
phone: +358 40-533-1326address: Muoniontie 120Apartments, cabins, caravan places and camping. Fishing gear and licences. Fishing guide service.
phone: +358 400-310-840address: Muoniontie 150Apartments for 1–5 persons, hostel, caravan places (electricity, WC, shower) and camping (WC, shower). Canoe for hire.
Libraryphone: +358 40-489-5014address: Isopalontie 2Also computers and Wi-Fi.