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'''Saariselkä''' [http://www.saariselka.fi/eng/] 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
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.
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.
Once in Saariselkä, you can pretty much walk anywhere you want to, but if you have gear in tow just hop aboard the (
* Many tourists, especially the Japanese, come to Saariselkä to
* 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 extreme sledding, the legendary 1.5 km track down from Kaunispää can't be beat. Hold on tight and steer well!
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, [http://www.saariselka.fi/huippu/indexen.html]. 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
* '''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
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''', [http://www.saariselanpanimo.fi]. 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
* '''Saariselän Tunturihotelli'''
* '''Hotel Laanihovi''' (in Laanila near Saariselkä), rooms 79€ in the summer, 97€ in the high season € [http://www.laanihovi.net]
* '''Holiday Club Saariselkä''', [http://www.holidayclub.fi/portal/english/spa_hotels/holiday_club_saariselka]. 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
* '''Hotel Gielas'''. From September 2008. Four star hotel with 84 rooms. All rooms have own saunas, bath, balcony and internet-connection.
Cellphone networks may not cover many places in between fields.
Tap water is potable.
In case of emergency call number '''112'''. If you need medical consultation less urgently, contact to MedInari health service