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545 km


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7206 m


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344 m


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Sallatunturi fell – Näätämö is the northernmost part of the EuroVelo 13 Iron Curtain Trail in Finland. As the southern part of the EuroVelo 13 route is still under development, we recommend starting the route at Sallatunturi. You then cycle northward to Savukoski and then west towards Pyhä-Luosto National Park area. From there the route turns northward again towards Sodankylä, Saariselkä, Ivalo and Inari, finally towards the east through Sevettijärvi to Näätämö.

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The Eurovelo 13 Northern Section gives you the endless possibilities of experiencing Finnish nature both on and off the saddle.
For much of the journey the route passes through isolated woods and moorland where you really get a feel for Finland’s vastness. You bike through vast wilderness areas where your companions for several hours are varying birds and an occasional reindeer. Nature in many shapes and forms is very much present. Lush, green forests, open marshlands, swamps and bogs, rivers and streams flowing at varying paces, ponds and lakes in every size punctuate the route and change the scenery as you cycle along.

Hopping off the saddle you can follow trekking routes into the many National Parks and zoom into nature up close or take a wider perspective from atop one or more of the many fells! Or you can take a cruise on Lake Inari or a boat trip up Lemmenjoki River to seek gold or kayak on the many rivers around Inari and Ivalo. Saariselkä, Pyhä, Luosto and Salla provide excellent mountain bike trails if you are up to the challenge!

On the way you visit many interesting towns and villages with an interesting cultural or historical heritage. In the north, the history and culture of the Sámi peoples is very much present at Sevettijärvi and Inari. The indoor and outdoor museums acquaint you with the history of the Sámi and their way of living and the gold digging history of the area around Inari and Ivalo.

The years of war and their effects on the people and daily living are visible along the route and towns. The wartime history of the areas around Savukoski and Salla are depicted in museums but also in the landscape, anti-tank obstacles are still very much visible in strategic places. The southern part of the EuroVelo 13 route in Finland, around towns such as Kuhmo, Imatra and the area between Lappeenranta and Virolahti, have even more museums focusing on the history of defending Finland’s borders. 

Summer months between May and August at these geographical levels are full of light. In the northern part of the route the Midnight sun enables you to cycle around the clock if you so desire!  Journeying in May and early June will give you the awakening of summer, buds turning into leaves, wild flowers starting to bloom, and rivers flowing abundantly. July is warm, but also enjoyed by the mosquitoes and other flying friends. The end of August and September is a blaze of autumn colors and wild berries ripe for picking as nature begins its preparations for winter.

Pyöräilijä ja punainen talo Eurovelo13 reitillä, Salla-Pyhä
Pyöräilijä metsätiellä Eurovelo13 reitillä, Salla-Pyhä
Pyöräilijä Eurovelo13 reitillä, Salla-Pyhä
Pyöräilijä ja jokimaisema Eurovelo13 reitillä, Salla-Pyhä

Is this trip for you?

The EuroVelo 13 Northern Section in Lapland runs in the wilderness and sparsely populated areas of Finland where distances between services are long and lonely. The route is thus for an experienced cyclist wanting to experience a long distance cycling trip through vast areas of nothing but wilderness, but with awesome scenery leaving you dazzled. 

The route is mainly paved, with only very short unpaved sections. This way the route is suitable for various types of bicycles and those wanting to ride long distances over continuous days. However, due to the almost non existing shoulders of the Finnish roads and the route running on main roads, it is also hazardous and requires extra caution. 

There are bike renting possibilities, but because of the limited services, you need to know how to carry out minor repairs on your bike. E-bike is definitely a nice and easy option for those not in tip-top shape.

You can connect to and from the Finnish part of the Eurovelo 13 Iron Curtain Trail by train, bus or plane - or even by Hurtigruten cruise ships from Norway. See more under Logistics (linkki?).


Click here for the map and details of this magical northern route and plan your next cycling holiday under the Midnight Sun!

Route options

On this route there are not that many options for alternative routes. This is because the road network in Lapland is scarce and there are only a few main paved roads between the small towns. The rest are gravel and sand roads leading to more remote wilderness areas.
During a few day routes you have the option of choosing a short side road that has less traffic, but is in some cases unpaved. These options are described in the daily route notes.

The main means of making route options are

  1. deciding whether to cycle from north to south or south to north

  2. deciding how you wish to split the route into day trips suitable for you according to the accommodation and services you prefer and how long distances you like to ride in a day

  3. deciding whether you want to tour the whole route or only one or some of the sections along the route

Under Logistics-tab below you find more information on the means to get to and from each end of the route. We recommend going from south to north! Consider the option of first biking and then spending time well earnt on the Hurtigruten boat cruising down the coast of Norway! Or maybe you want to continue your bike tour in Norway! 

The trail notes (bottom of the page) are split according to the availability of some kind of accommodation services and so that the distance is as easy as possible to suit all levels of cyclists. Each day's description proposes the accommodation and provides information on the distance to the next most convenient one on the route.

The number of days you spend on this route is dependent on your cycling speed and preferred day length, time you wish to spend on visiting the various sights and in some cases maybe weather conditions and resting days allowing for time off the saddle. Adjusting the distances to your own pace gives you the chance to feel the small things: the noises, the colors, the smells and the unexpected around the bend. Take the opportunity to stop to enjoy the local culture with its inhabitants, traditional crafts and local gastronomy. Should war history be of interest to you, Savukoski and Salla museums and anti-tank obstacles still visible by the roads will provide you with fascinating information and glimpses of what life was during and after the wars for Finns. 

The trail notes (bottom of the page) run the entire 534 km length of the trail. From the trail notes you get information to help you decide whether to do only 1-2 sectors of the route, namely keeping to the northern part between Saariselkä and Näätämö, or focusing on the southern sector around Pyhä-Luosto and Salla National Parks, or cycling the full length. Note that you can also use bus connections between some sectors, for example between Sodankylä and Saariselkä.

Photos: Mikko-Pekka Karlin

  • Lappish summer and Midnight Sun

  • The wilderness and the peacefulness between Näätämö and Inari 

  • Amazing harsh and rugged nature with marks of Ice Age, especially around Sevettijärvi, Inari, Saariselkä and Luosto-Pyhä National Park

  • Sights of Inari: Siida, trekking to Pielpajärvi wilderness church, cruise on Lake Inari 

  • Sights of Saariselkä: ride up to Kaunispää, trek or mountain bike to Kiilopää and in the Urho Kekkonen National Park

  • Sights of Luosto-Pyhä: Isokuru, Aittakuru, hiking and mountain biking tracks at Pyhä-Luosto National Park

  • War memorials and museums and anti-tank obstacles around Savukoski and Salla 

  • Panning for gold in Lemmenjoki river and Gold Museum at Tankavaara (south of Saariselkä)

  • In late August and September the autumn colors and berries ripe for picking

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