Winter vacations and auroras in Ylläs

Hello guys!

In this episode of our Lapland Travels we are going to visit Ylläs. Situated amidst the 7 beautiful fells, it is one of the most picturesque areas in Finnish Lapland.

Beautiful scenery of Ylläs, Lapland, Finland.

Beautiful scenery of Ylläs, Lapland, Finland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Ylläs will gladly welcome you both Summer and Winter, however, this time our journey takes us here when it is all covered with a thick curtain of snow. There are only a couple of thousand residents in the area, and even the hotels and cabins are scattered in the woods. Silence and empty spaces are best thing about Ylläs!

Silence and empty spaces are best thing about Ylläs!

It is already night time when we arrive in Ylläs. We check into our retreat – Lapland Hotel Saaga, one of the best accommodation options in the area.

Lapland Hotel Saaga.

Lapland Hotel Saaga. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

In the morning, we are woken up by a warm, reddish light, peaking through the curtains. When I open them wide, this is the view that awaits us. Sweet!

Morning view at Lapland Hotel Saaga.

Morning view at Lapland Hotel Saaga. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

A quick brekkie in the hotel’s restaurant, and we are ready to go.

Break fast at Lapland Hotel Saaga.

Break fast at Lapland Hotel Saaga. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Lapland Hotel Saaga is situated in the southern part of Ylläs area, Ylläsjärvi, near the Ylläs Sport Resort.

This area hosts a couple of apart-hotels, restaurants and shops. We take the gondola lift up which gives us an excellent view over the area.

Heading up by Gondola lift in Ylläs.

Heading up by Gondola lift in Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

 

Ylläs is the largest Ski Centre in whole Finland. Ylläs mountain is the highest in use by the ski resorts, and it also has the longest slopes.

In fact, Ylläs is so big, it has 2 ski centres in one! Ylläs Sport resort is situated on the southern side and Ylläs Ski Resort on the Northern side, with access from Äkäslompolo village. Of course, once you’re at the top of the hill, you can just slide down to the other side! Btw, if you are looking for alternatives, Levi Ski Resort, situated just 5o km apart, is equally good and fascinating!

Ylläs Ski Resort.

Ylläs Ski Resort. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

It’s February, so there’s already lots of sun (compared the December), and it is a real joy to be outside!

On top of fell Ylläs.

On top of fell Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

The sun is making a wonderful halo.

Sun halo in Ylläs.

Sun halo in Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

After several hours on the slopes we are back home. In the evening, we are scheduled to visit Lainio Snow Village. While sitting at the hotel, I have an urging feeling…this is the Aurora calling! I rush outside, and even though it is only 6PM, the aurora is already dancing in the sky over the hotel!

Auroras over Lapland Hotel Saaga, Ylläs, Lapland.

Auroras over Lapland Hotel Saaga, Ylläs, Lapland.

Our journey towards the Snow Village becomes incredibly difficult. These auroras are must to capture! On our way, we stop at lake Ylläsjärvi to make a few stunning pics.

Auroras dancing over Ylläs, Lapland, Finland.

Auroras dancing over Ylläs, Lapland, Finland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Hello, anybody there? Who is running this amazing show? :) These auroras are some of the best we’ve seen in Winter 2017.

Magical Auroras over Ylläs.

Magical Auroras over Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

When we reach the Snow Village, the lights are still on :)

Lainio Snow Village.

Lainio Snow Village, Lapland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov.

The Snow Village a real piece of beauty! Such, that it certainly deserves it’s own story on this blog > Lainio Snow Village!

Polar bear room at Lainio Snow Village

Polar bear room at Lainio Snow Village. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

You can also see a short video walk-around we made at the Snow Village.

Next day we are up for a snowmobile adventure with Lapland Safaris. We start early morning and the sun is not even up yet, but the safari office is already full of chatter.

Lapland Safaris Office in Ylläs.

Lapland Safaris Office in Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

After hearing driving instructions and putting our gear on, we are headed into the pristine woods of Ylläs.

Snowmobile safari in Ylläs by Lapland Safaris.

Snowmobile safari in Ylläs by Lapland Safaris. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

There are dozens of km of snowmobile (and x-country ski) tracks available in the area, it is certainly impossible to visit them all during one short trip.

Snowmobiling in Ylläs through a pristine forest.

Snowmobiling in Ylläs through a pristine forest. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

A small stop on our path to enjoy a little bit of the fresh powder snow. There’s a lot of it!

Snow Fun in Levi.

Snow Fun in Levi. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

We circle around these wonderful forests for a good few hours.

Exploring Ylläs on snowmobiles.

Exploring Ylläs on snowmobiles. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

We take a break to stretch our legs a little. We see that our co-passengers are enjoying the journey!

Happy snowmobilers in Ylläs.

Happy snowmobilers in Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

We offer them a small treat – super-healthy snack bars by my friend Jari at the Arctic Superfoods company. I believe, you should find these amazing natural products in Lapland Safaris offices and Lapland Hotels around Lapland (among other places, of course!).

Enjoying a well-desrved break from snowmobiling.

Enjoying a well-desrved break from snowmobiling. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Our guide is accustomed to the snowmobile as his second home – he says that in winter he spends more hours on top of snowmobiling than in his bed :)

A little break from snowmobiling.

A little break from snowmobiling. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Time to go back to Ylläs.

Snowmobiling in Ylläs. Overhead view.

Snowmobiling in Ylläs. Overhead view. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Next day we are spending on our own. Ylläs area is rich with beautiful landscapes. We decide to go to Äkäsmylly, the old mill, situated on the river Äkäsjoki. I’ve never been to the place and am excited to discover it. It takes about 40 min drive to reach the area by the 940 road North. The turn is well marked, you won’t miss it! The river (and the most beautiful part of the river) are situated just 5 min walk from the parking area.

Äkäsjoki river.

Äkäsjoki river. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Old mill building is picturesque sight.

Äkäsmylly in Muonio near Ylläs.

Äkäsmylly in Muonio near Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

There are several snowshoeing and hiking paths that start from here, so you can spend a full day exploring the woods :)

Exploring Äkäsmylly in Muonio.

Exploring Äkäsmylly in Muonio. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

On our way back we visit Navettagalleria – a rustique cafe, situated a stone’s throw away from Ylläs. You can easily reach this place by cross-country skiing tracks as well.

Navettagalleria near Ylläs, Lapland.

Navettagalleria near Ylläs, Lapland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

Navettagalleria is an old farm and a cafe, which is hosted inside the old barn. They do have some fun domestic animals here :)

Locals at Navettagalleria, Ylläs.

Locals at Navettagalleria, Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

The cafe is quite popular despite of its rather remote location. Everything we tasted here was delicious, and it is home-made as well.

Cafe Navettagalleria in Ylläs.

Cafe Navettagalleria in Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

The cafe is run by this wonderful woman, Mrs. Lea Kaulanen. She is very accommodating, and will also tell you stories about the gnomes and different spirits that are believed to dwell in the area :)

Lea Kaulanen, owner of Navettagalleria.

Lea Kaulanen, owner of Navettagalleria. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

In short, a must spot to visit! Here’s a short video review of the cafe.

In the evening we head to Aurora Estate restaurant in Ylläsjärvi. It is run by two wonderful entrepreneur woman. The head-chef is Mrs. Sirly Schinmann, a finalist in Finnish edition of the popular Master Chef franchise.

Aurora Estate chef Sirly Schinmann.

Aurora Estate chef Sirly Schinmann. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

The foods is absolutely delicious! A dinner at the restaurant absolutely crowned our trip! If you are looking for a great place for dinner, look no further.

Reindeer dish at Aurora Estate, Ylläs.

Reindeer dish at Aurora Estate, Ylläs. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

On our final morning the weather is gloomy again, but we have no complaints. It has been a great journey and we were lucky with Northern Lights as well!

Ylläs Moon Lanscape.

Ylläs Lunar Lanscape. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.

I can highly recommend visiting Ylläs in any season. In winter, it is especially great for any outdoor enthusiast, and basically anyone who is looking to spend a few good days amidst the beautiful nature!

Author: Alexander Kuznetsov

I am an Editor-in-Chief of "All About Lapland" travel magazine, passionate Aurora Chaser, and an adventurous photographer. Based in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland but travel all around the region.

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