See these seven sights while walking in the town centre
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1. The Reindeer and the Lapp: the most iconic statue of Sodankylä and perhaps the whole of Lapland is a fine place to begin your walking tour of the town. The statue is a ten-minute walk from the bus station and there is ample parking by the statue for motorists. Take a selfie with the reindeer statue and investigate its depth of expression and richness of detail. Address: junction of Jäämerentie and Kemijärventie.
2. The old church: just a few steps from the reindeer statue, the old church of Sodankylä stands in the corner of a woody cemetery. The church, with its tar aroma, is one of Finland’s oldest preserved wooden churches. In the summer months, the church is kept open for visitors, but even at other times it is worth coming to admire it from outside. Check opening hours. Map.
3. Nilimella beach: Continue your walk from the old church across the bridge, crossing the wide River Kitinen. On the other bank you’ll find the lovely long Nilimella swimming beach. Take a dip in the invigorating water of the River Kitinen, enjoy the midnight sun on the sand or the jetty, or restore your energy with some food or drink on the terrace. The Nilimella beach is open in the summer. Map.
4. The old Saami marketplace: having had your fill of beautiful scenery and atmosphere on the Nilimella beach, return to the other side of the river and follow it downstream. Soon, you’ll arrive at an old Saami marketplace in a beautiful spot on the bank of the River Kitinen. There is a large information board here illustrated with a painting by Andreas Alariesto depicting the marketplace in its heyday. Map.
5. Pappilanniemi: continue past the old marketplace, staying on the riverside path. You’ll pass the former and current parsonage (Finnish: pappila), and then the route will pass through the shade of the forest before you arrive at the Pappilanniemi Nature Walk. You can pick berries, have a picnic and admire the beautiful River Kitinen en route. Next to the covered fireplace there is a woodshed and swings for children. Map.
6. The Local Heritage Museum: continue your journey around the peninsula of Pappilanniemi and walk up to Route 4, using it to cross the River Jeesiöjoki. On the other side of the river, a short walk away, the beautiful and renowned Local Heritage Museum awaits you. The Museum is in a picturesque spot at the confluence of the Rivers Kitinen and Jeesiöjoki. This is where you should let your camera run wild! The Local Heritage Museum is open in the summer. Check opening hours here. Address: Hampputörmäntie 20.
7. The Alariesto Museum and Gallery: return to the town centre from the Museum of Local History and Culture and experience another of the main sights of Sodankylä: the Alariesto Museum and Gallery. This is one of the most important buildings in Sodankylä, and is right next to the reindeer statue, meaning you have now completed the walking tour. See Andreas Alariesto’s beautiful paintings and shop for souvenirs in the Sodankylä Tourist Information Office shop! You can see the opening hours at the bottom of this page. Jäämerentie 3.