10 photographer’s dreams in Sodankylä
The boundless nature and amazing Lapland events in Sodankylä are a real treasure trove for photographers. Here are some practical photography tips for Sodankylä which are useful whether you’re interested in Lapland-themed phenomena, fell landscapes, or picturesque old buildings. The fells and buildings are listed in ascending order of ease of access, but in such a way that even the most difficult spot is accessible on a day trip in the summer.
Note that when there are snowdrifts on the ground it’s worth putting on snow shoes if you need to walk to the spot you’re interested in.
Views into the distance:
- The hill of Kommattivaara or Kommatti is about a 10-minute drive from the town centre. Kommatti is a favourite local outdoors spot, and even in winter it offers a relatively easy climb to beautiful landscapes. Climb, in normal or snow shoes, the slope of Kommatti and photograph Sodankylä from above the rest of the landscape.
- In Luosto, the shortest route to the top of the fell is 2 km long in each direction when you walk from Off-Piste 4 up the steps of the Ukko-Luosto trail, retracing your steps on the way back. The landscapes extending from the treeless summit of Ukko-Luosto to surrounding Lapland are breath-taking. In the winter, you can walk here in snow shoes to photograph the snow-covered trees and the northern lights.
- You can reach the Oratunturi fell route by following a gravel road for a few kilometres, after which you need to continue straight ahead on foot for 2 km towards the fell summit and the nearby shelter, maintained by the Forest Administration. The view of Lake Orajärvi and the fell of Pyhä-Luosto is stunning. In the winter, the easiest way to reach Oratunturi fell is to follow a snowmobile trail. See map in here.
- Kuukkeli trail in Tankavaara takes you to slender spruce and bog landscapes as well as to the peak of Pikku-Tankavaara, which offers a fine view of the Nattanen fells. The loop is 6 km long and in the winter you can walk it in snow shoes. You can rent the snow shoes at Tankavaara Gold Village.
- Nattanen fell is primarily a summer and autumn spot and one of Lapland’s most beautiful fells. Photograph the wonderful stone tors, the stone fireplace and the stunning landscapes of Lokka, Lake Sukkulalampi and Sokosti. The motor road to the start of the route is bumpy, and impassable altogether when there is snow on the ground. When you start from here, you’ll reach the peak after a walk of 2 km. Remember that you are in a nature reserve, meaning diverging from the trail is forbidden.
Gems of old Lapland:
- The old church is right in the centre of the town and dates from the 17th century. The church and its surroundings are a picturesque sight. In the summer months the church is open to visitors. Read more about the church here.
- The Sodankylä Museum of Local History and Culture is about 1.5 km from the town centre. The yard is full of very old Lapland buildings in fine condition and stands at the confluence of two big rivers. The Museum of Local History and Culture is open in the summer. Read more here.
- The village of Kierinki was spared destruction in the Lapland War and it exudes a picturesque atmosphere. In Kierinki you can also find Highland cattle grazing in the fields.
- The Ulingasköngäs Mill is a handsome, two-storey log building which can be reached by a snowmobile track or a 2.6 km long walking route from beautiful Uimaniemi, in Unari.
Northern Lights tip! Do you want to photograph the Northern Lights and the Nattanen fells without walking? From the dam in the village of Lokka you can see a row of fells rising on the other shore of the lake, and if the Northern Lights are in the sky, you have the makings of the best photograph of your life. Be considerate of other road users: only park your car in a suitable place. The birdwatching towers of Sodankylä are also good places to spot the Northern Lights in the autumn before the snow comes.
Photograph snowmobiles flying across water or through the air, reindeer racing, the atmosphere of the races under the midnight sun, or fringed cows watching a theatre festival. There are events just waiting to be photographed organised year-round in Sodankylä – check our events page to find out what’s on when you’re here.