Ivalo (590 mi/950 km north of Helsinki) has the primary airport for the far northern part of the country, but there's little to see in the town itself. Instead, visit the nearby town of Inari to see the open-air museum, explore the Siida Sami cultural center and take a cruise on Lake Inari. Plan to stay two nights.

The resort in Saariselka offers excellent hiking, fishing, hunting and, in winter, cross-country skiing. The Hotel Kakslauttanen and Igloo Village has glass igloos, open to the sky and perfect for viewing the northern lights on clear nights. It also manages the almost adjacent Santa's Resort, an enchanting reenactment of all things Christmas. Nearby Lemmenjoki National Park is a perfect place for gold panning, river rafting and exploring Sami culture.

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