You can explore everyday modern Sámi culture and enjoy the peace of nature in Utsjoki.
The river Teno, which flows through the village of Utsjoki, is a border river between Finland and Norway. It’s possible to cross the border from Finland to Norway by foot over the Sami Bridge. You can also walk across the frozen river in winter.
If you would like to experience the life of a Sámi reindeer herder, head to the Holiday Village Valle on the Teno river in Utsjoki. Holiday Village Valle’s hotel Deatnu is the northernmost hotel in the European Union. The stylish and modern hotel rooms have been designed with Lapland-inspired colour schemes. The large windows provide a view of the beautiful scenery outside, and you can even see Norway across the river.
Holiday Village Valle also offers cabins and apartments where you can enjoy a Finnish sauna and gather around the fireplace afterwards.
Petteri Valle, the owner of the Valle Holiday Village, begins each day by feeding the reindeer that live in his yard. At the end of the day he visits the animals for another feeding – and he knows all of the reindeer by name.
Reindeer are normally allowed to roam free in the wild, but at the Valle reindeer farm the animals live in large enclosures. This way it’s easier for tourists to interact with them.
Reindeer may be kept in enclosures also when the females are calving or when the animals have trouble finding sufficient food in winter.
- My son owns the family’s reindeer now, but since I was born and raised a reindeer herder and have been taking care of them for so long, I couldn’t dream of not looking after them myself, Petteri Valle says.
Holiday Village Valle organises various activities around the year so that you can experience the life of a reindeer herder and explore the local culture and history. A reindeer safari allows you to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of nature and - if you’re lucky - even admire the northern lights while sitting in a sleigh pulled by reindeer through the snowy forests. In summer, the trips are done by foot or in dog-drawn carts.
Holiday Village Valle also organises dogsledding, skiing and snowshoeing trips. You can also try fishing on a fell lake or take a simply take a nature walk to admire the northern lights.
- All our tours are led by experienced guides who know the surroundings and conditions well. We provide our customers with warm gear, which is essential in the wilderness of Lapland, Petteri Valle says.
The nature in the Utsjoki area is pure and clean. For example, the water in the area is mostly potable. You can also pick and eat wild berries and mushrooms.
The owner of the Holiday Village often wears the gákti, which is the traditional Sámi costume. The colours, patterns and decorations of the costume are used to signify the family relations and geographical origins of the wearer to other Sámi people.
- Today the gákti is mostly a ceremonial outfit, but to me it’s everyday wear. My son and I like to wear the gákti while working so our guests can see what the traditional Sámi folk costume looks like, Petteri Valle says.
He still remembers how the gákti was an ordinary, everyday outfit in the Utsjoki area in the 70s.
- Whenever I visit elderly Sámi people, for example for birthday celebrations, I wear the gákti. Wearing our own culture’s traditional clothes is a way of showing respect, Petteri Valle says.
Petteri Valle, his family and his multilingual staff are looking forward to welcoming you to experience the kind of tranquillity you won’t find in the big tourist resorts of Lapland.
- We delight in providing our guests with a unique experience in the stunning scenery of Utsjoki in Lapland. You will also find that although we live on the edge of the EU, we have all the modern conveniences you could wish for, Petteri Valle says.