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Petronella Restaurant, Saariselka :  
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'''Bold text'''''''''''''Petronella Restaurant, Saariselka :''''''''''
  
 
Only one word can describe this gastronomic experience - superb !!  
 
Only one word can describe this gastronomic experience - superb !!  
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The ambience, atmosphere, warm Finnish greeting, excellent service, wide choice of dishes and cuisine that arguably is amongst the best to be found in Finland keep you returning to this delightful, cosy restaurant.  
 
The ambience, atmosphere, warm Finnish greeting, excellent service, wide choice of dishes and cuisine that arguably is amongst the best to be found in Finland keep you returning to this delightful, cosy restaurant.  
  
Highly recommended is the Reindeer Fillet and, amongst the best appetisers I've come across in many years, are the 'escargots drizzled with gorgonzola', they're even better than those to be found in Paris !  
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Highly recommended are the Reindeer Fillet and Lake Inari Whitefish ; amongst the best appetisers I've come across in many years, are the 'escargots with parmesan', they're even better than those to be found in Paris !  
  
 
Another restaurant to make sure you visit in Saariselka is the 'Panimo' ; here again the reindeer is excellent and do make sure you try the choice of berry liquers along with a glass of chilled Jagermeister !
 
Another restaurant to make sure you visit in Saariselka is the 'Panimo' ; here again the reindeer is excellent and do make sure you try the choice of berry liquers along with a glass of chilled Jagermeister !
 
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==

Revision as of 12:33, 5 November 2008

Saariselkä [1] is a largish winter sports center high up in Finnish Lapland, some 250 km north of the Arctic Circle and nearly 1000 kilometers away from the southern capital Helsinki.

Nestled in a valley, Saariselkä is a compact strip of a village with one gas station, one supermarket, one liquor store and a slew of hotels and restaurants, but it's quite manageable on foot and located only 30 km away from the town of Ivalo and its airport. The fell of Kaunispää, equipped with ski lifts and the primary center for winter sports, looms nearby.

Contents

Understand

A succession of ice ages and their glaciers scraping back and forth has reduced what were once mountains into gentle rounded fells (Finnish tunturi), barely reaching 500m. The valleys between them are sparsely forested, but the exposed summits are treeless.

Aside from the occasional Sámi reindeer herder, there wasn't much human activity in these parts until Konrad Planting struck gold at the nearby Lutto River in 1865. The Finnish gold rush started soon thereafter and the first claim in Saariselkä was staked in 1871. Enough gold was found that by 1902 the mining company Prospektor set up its headquarters here and hacked a cart trail down to Sodankylä, some 100 kilometers away.

The gold rush slowly faded away, but in the 1960s the area started to gradually develop into a tourist attraction. Hotels and restaurants were built, skiing lifts were put up, and in 1983 the region stretching from Saariselkä to the Russian border -- favorite hunting grounds of former president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen -- were turned into the UKK National Park.

These days Saariselkä is a part of the municipality of Inari, which has some 7,700 inhabitants (including some 2,200 Sámi) on 17,321 square kilometers of land. Not too crowded, eh?

Get in

By plane

The easiest method is to take a Finnair flight from Helsinki to Ivalo airport (1:40, price €100-250 depending on the season), and then a connecting 20-minute bus ride into town.

By bus

Direct buses from the south are cheaper but involve a laborious 15 hour journey.

By train

An overnight train to Rovaniemi and a bus for the last 3 hours is a less painful but not particularly cheap alternative; this is, however, a viable option if you want to bring your own car.

Get around

Once in Saariselkä, you can pretty much walk anywhere you want to, but if you have gear in tow just hop aboard the (free!) Ski Bus, which shuttles between the village and the slopes once an hour or so.

See

  • Many tourists, especially the Japanese, come to Saariselkä to gawk at the aurora borealis. While they occur with a probability as high as 75% every night in season (November to March or so), they are all too often obscured behind a bank of clouds so don't count on it.
  • But there's plenty of standard Lappish tourist fare to keep you occupied during the day as well, ranging from husky safaris and reindeer-pulled sleighs to snowmobile and snowshoe treks through the countryside.
  • For arctic scenery, climb (or take the bus) up Kaunispää to take in the view.

Do

The fells nearby are excellent terrain for cross-country skiing, sledding and hiking, but somewhat puny for downhill since the maximum differential is on the order of 300 meters. Alas, this is about as good as it gets in flat Finland...

  • For extreme sledding, the legendary 1.5 km track down from Kaunispää can't be beat. Hold on tight and steer well!

Eat

Food in Lapland is expensive and fairly unimaginative, although if you haven't tried reindeer meat yet then this is your chance. For a more memorable experience, try a set dinner in a Lappish kota tent, offered by a number of hotels and tour operators.

  • Kaunispään Huippu, atop Kaunispää, [2]. Offers panoramic views of the mountains around and is a good option for a lunch or just a hot drink.
  • Supermarket Kuukkeli. The little canteen inside offers the cheapest eats in town. Reindeer hash, cranberry jam and mashed potatoes will set you back less than 12€.
  • Pirkon Pirtti, most famous restaurant in Saariselkä. Hard to find vacant table.
  • Restaurant Linnansali, at Hotel Riekonlinna, expensive and fine. Specialities cod tongue and king crab.
  • Muossi, snack kiosk near Holiday Club, hamburgers etc.
  • Kotipizza, like it sounds, pizza, in Siula shopping center.
  • Rakka, ala carte, Rosso Express, pizza and Houseburger, hamburgers at Holiday Club
  • Petronella
  • Siberia fine dine in exotic Lappland.


Bold text''''''''Petronella Restaurant, Saariselka :'''''

Only one word can describe this gastronomic experience - superb !!

The ambience, atmosphere, warm Finnish greeting, excellent service, wide choice of dishes and cuisine that arguably is amongst the best to be found in Finland keep you returning to this delightful, cosy restaurant.

Highly recommended are the Reindeer Fillet and Lake Inari Whitefish ; amongst the best appetisers I've come across in many years, are the 'escargots with parmesan', they're even better than those to be found in Paris !

Another restaurant to make sure you visit in Saariselka is the 'Panimo' ; here again the reindeer is excellent and do make sure you try the choice of berry liquers along with a glass of chilled Jagermeister !

Drink

There are quite a few possibilities for after-ski as well, all the hotels have restaurants and discos, and there's even a local microbrewery with a side line in distilled spirits as well. However, Saariselkä has a deserved reputation for catering to the middle-aged market, standard musical fare is melodramatic Finnish tango and even the food is all reindeer and snow grouse. Hip snowboarding youngsters tend to head for Levi or Ruka instead.

  • Saariselän Panimo, [3]. The local microbrewery, which does more than just beer: try Jellona Terwasnapsi, the home-brewed tar-flavored schnapps! A very authentically Finnish place in character.
  • Bepop, "Sportbar & Night", pub and nightclub at Holiday Club Saariselkä.

Wines :

Having posted above on Petronella, they also offer an excellent choice of wines if you're looking for the perfect accompaniement to the cuisine.

They also have a 'house cocktail' the 'Petronella' which has to be tasted to be believed ; great for warming up in minus 30 degrees C Finnish weather !

Sleep

  • Saariselkä Reservation Center, arrange all kind of accommodation.

Budget

  • Saariselän Panimo Inn, rooms start at 38€ in the summer, 79€ in the high season.
  • Savottakahvila (in Laanila near Saariselkä)

Mid-range

  • Hotel Kieppi
  • Saariselän Tunturihotelli
  • Hotel Laanihovi (in Laanila near Saariselkä), rooms 79€ in the summer, 97€ in the high season € [4]

Splurge

  • Holiday Club Saariselkä, [5]. Europe's northernmost spa and the fanciest digs in town, featuring a large swimming pool/jacuzzi/waterfall/etc section. Still, this is more of a family resort than a romantic getaway, so expect to bump into hyperactive kids. Rooms start at 120€ in the off season, 150€ in the high season.
  • Hotel Riekonlinna. International conference hotel, many of rooms have even own sauna and internet connection. Nice view towards the fjelds from most of rooms. Rooms 86€ in the summer, 150€ in the high season.
  • Hotel Gielas. From September 2008. Four star hotel with 84 rooms. All rooms have own saunas, bath, balcony and internet-connection.

Stay safe

Hiking in Saariselkä is safe if you follow safety advise and know your own limits. Routes near Saariselkä village are well marked and require only sneakers and clothes accordant with current weather. It's recommended to purchase an inexpensive map from your hotel reception or local market. Don't go alone into fields, at least without informing your hotel reception. Don't forget to report to your hotel when you come back. Weather conditions can change a lot even if it's warm and sunny when you leave.

Cellphone networks may not cover many places in between fields.

Tourists usually never meet any dangerous animals in Saariselkä. There are some bears in the eastern part of the national park, but bears would rather avoid humans if they can. It's recommended to indicate somehow to animals that you are roaming in the neighborhood.

Crime figures for Saariselkä are very low.

Stay healthy

Tap water is potable.

In case of emergency call number 112. If you need medical consultation less urgently, contact to MedInari health service at Holiday Club Saariselkä. It's managed by the Inari community and some local travel-related companies.

Get out


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