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Utsjoki

Giisá village hall | Ellin polku trail | Utsjoki church cottages | Saami bridge

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Nuorgam

Skaidijärvi trail | Alaköngäs | Northernmost point of the EU

The most beautiful road in Finland

Saamiland is a land of great distances. Similarly to any traffic-jammed metropolis, the distances in Saamiland are not measured in kilometres, but rather in time. However, it goes without saying that you should never count the hours spent on the road, if you have made your travel plans on the basis of aesthetic values. Tenontie, the loveliest scenic road in Finland, should always be travelled slowly, enjoying the panoramic beauty of the countryside.

– Every traveller who steps out of their car at Seitala immediately heaves a wistful sigh and says ”What a wonderful view!” comments Juha Lohi, who provides accommodation to travellers in Seitala, alongside the Tenontie road.

Tenontie runs from the village of Karigasniemi to the parish village of Utsjoki, occasionally winding along the Tenojoki river valley before climbing up the high riverbank. The road runs along the route taken by large shoals of wild salmon each summer. The Tenojoki river valley is about a thousand metres wide and 200–300 metres deep.

– The road follows an old footpath by the river and most of the twists and turns were not straightened out during the construction. It comes as a surprise to many that the current road is actually quite new and was opened to traffic as late as in 1983. Up until that point, the people living here had no roads to speak of. 

To commemorate the construction of the regional road, a monument known as ”Mauno’s stone” was erected at the Pahtavaara scenic lookout. The monument was named after Mauno Koivisto, who was the President of Finland at the time. Instead of cutting a silk tape, Koivisto opened the road to traffic by sawing down a Teno boat. There are many scenic lookouts to be found along the Tenontie road, but in Juha’s personal opinion, Pahtavaara is the most beautiful.

– When the weather is clear and cloudless, you can see all the way to Rastigaisa, on the Norwegian side of the border.

There are also many other attractions to be found by Tenontie. In Seitala, on the southwest side of a sacrificial seita stone standing on the steep and rocky slope of the Sieiddenjunni hill, there is an almost man-sized hollow where the sacrificial offerings were once placed. The steep and stately valley slopes sometimes seem to rise straight from the river. In other places, the slopes of the fells have pulled farther back from the river, leaving space for plateaus, a handful of houses or even a tiny village. 

The Saami villages of Rovisuvanto, Outakoski, Dálvadas and Nuvvus are located between Karigasniemi and Utsjoki. You will also be able to see three sacred Ailigas fells along the way; they are located in Karigasniemi, Nuvvus and Utsjoki. It is definitely worthwhile making your way to the top of Nuvvus-Ailigas – the view down to the Tenojoki river valley is to die for! You can see the river winding along like a snake, glittering like silver, whilst dense birch forests give the slopes a lush appearance.

– Without exception, every visitor that I’ve ever taken for a ride on Tenontie has called it the most beautiful road in Finland. And I had the exact same thought in my head the very first time I made that trip, continues Juha, who definitely knows what he is talking about. A man who has performed gigs as DJ Jupe all around the country since 1976 must have seen every corner of Finland by now.

– I have never seen such a long stretch of riverbank anywhere else, though. When you approach Utsjoki and Nuorgam, the differences in altitude are not so pronounced anymore and the landscape flattens out some, but the view is still unbelievably lovely. Many travellers who are setting out from Seitala often decide to take a side trip to Utsjoki on their way south, even though the Karigasniemi-Kaamanen route is 70 kilometres shorter.

Seitalan matkailu- ja kalastuspalvelu
016 676 405, 0400 894 114, 0400 449 296, info(at)seitala.fi