For families with children, there is a wide range of activities to enjoy every day of the vacation
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park with its rare old-growth forests and wilderness landscapes is easily accessible even with children.
You can access the extensive skiing, cycling, and hiking trails from both Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi villages. In addition to outdoor trails and downhill skiing, there are long sledding hills, a spa, an indoor playroom, frisbee golf courses, and animal activities such as husky or reindeer rides, as well as horseback riding for children.
Vacationing with children in Ylläs is worry-free both in summer and winter, with everything easily within reach.
In the summer and fall, it’s easy to roam the fells
During the snowless season, it’s a good idea to hike up the fell with children on foot or effortlessly take a ride on the gondola lift. The view that opens up at the top with the mountain range is impressive even for the little hikers. Mountain biking on Ylläs’ versatile trails and practice tracks is fun for children of all ages, except for the very little ones. If you’re looking for some variety or slightly different activities, fishing, canoeing, and horseback riding are excellent choices. Ylläs is also an outdoor paradise for children, where there’s no shortage of things to do.
Mountain biking for both older and younger kids
Mountain biking with children can be a lot of fun because the trails offer varied terrain and just the right amount of challenge. Trailers suitable for transporting children can be rented from rental shops. Mountain biking with babies and toddlers can be more challenging on rooty and rocky trails, so it’s recommended to stick to wider and smoother paths to avoid damaging the trailer wheels.
In Ylläsjärvi, there’s a fun Pump Track located in the courtyard of K-Market Eelin Kauppa, where both small and big kids can practice mountain biking for free with their own bikes.
Speedy ride on the slopes
For a speedy ride on the slopes, Ylläs Bike Park offers a Training Track area suitable for young riders. Here, you can safely practice mountain biking techniques on fun little hills, and the uphill ride is facilitated by a magic carpet lift. The Training Track is also suitable for the smallest balance bike riders.
Older kids can then move on from here to take the Gondola up to the summit of fell Yllästunturi and race down the long and exhilarating slopes in Bike Park. A word of warning, this entertaining sport can be quite addictive!
Explore nature by hiking
There are various child-friendly trails for day trips through different types of forests, swamps, and tundra landscapes. Instead of focusing on the destination, it’s worth investing in the experience of the journey itself: Stop to admire colorful flowers and the busy bees pollinating them, smell the scent of heather, and feel the different textures of the forest. Let the children hop on rocks, climb trees, and throw sticks into the river. Nature is at its best as a thrilling amusement park for children, where imagination is literally the only limit.
In the fall, Ylläs forests are full of nutritious berries like blueberries and lingonberries, which children love to eat and pick. From the swamps, you can also find plenty of treasures like cloudberries in late summer and cranberries later in the fall.
Easy trails for children
In the summer, there are easy local routes suitable for children for walking or cycling, which can be accessed from Äkäslompolo village, Ihmisen Rinki and Yllästunturi Visitor Centre Kellokas. From Ylläsjärvi, you can access easy routes from various places like Aurinkotupa, Ylläs Ski Resort Ylläsjärvi, and the K-Market Eelin Kauppa in the village.
Resting places and wilderness cafés are for enjoying treats
In Ylläs, easily accessible resting places during the summer season include Varkaankuru and Kesängin laavu in Äkäslompolo. You can also reach wilderness cafés such as Kesängin keidas and Velhonkota or drive to Elämänluukku, Peurakaltio, and Aakenuspirtti when they are open. In Ylläsjärvi, some convenient resting places include the lean-to at the children’s area of Ylläs Ski Resort Ylläsjärvi, Kahvikeidas not far away, and Aurinkotupa, which is accessible by car.
On the shore of lake Ylläsjärvi, near the local sports park, you’ll find a lean-to with fireplaces provided by the Ylläsjärvi village association; remember to bring your own firewood. Check the map for the precise locations of resting places along the routes.
To the waters, stables, and the fells
Around Ylläs, you can find plenty of different fishing opportunities in various types of waters. On a warm summer evening, it’s worth heading out with the whole family to go fishing, perhaps on Kesänkijärvi (remember to get a free permit from eräluvat.fi). While you wait for the bobber to twitch, enjoy the surrounding silence and the mirror-like reflection of the fells on the calm lake surface. You can try paddling with children in a canoe or with a fun inflatable kayak called a packraft. However, it’s not recommended to paddle in fast-flowing rapids with children.
Animal-related experiences are often a big hit with children. Meeting reindeer and huskies is possible during the summer season at Konijänkkä Farm in Äkäslompolo. Horseback riding and pony rides are also available for booking.
Gondola lift is also open during summer
You can easily access the fell landscapes by taking the gondola lift at Ylläs Ski Resort Ylläsjärvi. The journey to the summit takes just under 10 minutes and is an exciting experience, especially for young children. The gondola can also accommodate strollers. At the top, you’ll find a few restaurants offering a variety of savory and sweet treats for both big and small appetites. You can either walk back down or take the gondola back. The gondola operates during the summer season according to the Bike Park’s opening hours. However, please note that the lift doesn’t operate in strong winds.
At the base of Yllästunturi, you can also play frisbee golf for free on a diverse course that, by Finnish standards, is quite exceptional, as it ascends the hillside to provide beautiful views.
Snowy time in winter wonderland
On easy trails of Ylläs, it’s safe to try winter sports for the first time. There are easy and flat cross-country ski tracks suitable for children. Ylläs offers excellent facilities for downhill skiing and learning, including covered carpet lifts and gentle children’s slopes. There are several long sledding hills as well. During snowy times, children can enjoy outdoor activities and play as much as they want! Exploring the winter wonderland is often such a magical experience that children’s imaginations bring even the enchanting creatures of the snowy forest to life.
Learn how to ski
You can practice cross-country skiing, for example, on the frozen lake in Äkäslompolo or at the Aurinkotupa ski track. Along the well-maintained and smooth tracks, children are motivated by the prospect of enjoying a fresh donut and warm juice in the cozy wilderness café.
Exploring the snowy forest on a bicycle or snowshoeing
Older children can go cycling on fat bikes along winding and fun winter trails. Snowshoeing is also possible for children with appropriately sized equipment available for rent. Exploring the enchanted winter forest is a must, taking your time to wander and imagine what kind of trees live under the snowy blankets, listen to the sounds of Siberian jays, and sit by the campfire inside a hut, roasting sausages.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding
Ylläs boasts the longest slopes in Finland, offering an exceptionally long downhill experience on easy slopes. For slightly older riders, in addition to the long and varied slopes, there’s the Junior Park for practicing tricks with its rails and boxes. Ylläs Ski Resort also features several wide slopes where it’s safe to practice snowboarding and downhill skiing, even during peak season when there are more skiers on the slopes.
For learning to ski and snowboard, there are not only instructors but also excellent opportunities in the children’s slopes on both sides of the fell. In Ylläsjärvi, there’s a new covered magic carpet lift with lights, making it suitable for kids to ride even when it’s freezing and windy.
Take the kids to the snowmobile track to try snowmobiling
Offer your child an exciting experience on a children’s snowmobile. Children can ride on a marked track with an adult supervising. The recommended minimum age for children’s snowmobiling is 6 years. Children under 6 years (approx. 4-6 years) can usually ride with a carer. Depending on the child, 10-20 minutes is usually a suitable time to start.
Take a gondola lift up even with a baby
Hop on the gondola at Ylläs Ski Resort Ylläsjärvi and enjoy the magnificent scenery on the way up – this experience is already an amazing adventure for smaller children. The lift, which runs high above the slopes, takes you to the top for some hot cocoa and a ride on the big swing. The gondola lift is an easy way to reach the top of the high fell even without skis. It can also accommodate baby carriages. Please note that the gondola does not operate in strong winds.
Long hills for sledding
Ylläs Ski Resort in Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi have the longest sledding hills in the area. Both children’s areas are equipped with a hut or a tepee where you can barbecue sausages and eat your own snacks. Next to Lastenmaa, there is also Lastenpirtti, which offers facilities for diaper changing, among other things. Another excellent sledding hill can be found in the vicinity of Aurinkotupa in Ylläsjärvi, where you can also see reindeer and enjoy the delicious treats at the café.
Reindeer and husky safaris for children
Animal safaris are also suitable for the little ones in the family. Riding in a sled pulled by a reindeer is warm and peaceful. It’s also a great opportunity to see Lapland’s original animal up close.
On a husky safari, children typically don’t get to control the dogs but instead sit in the sleds. The journey is fun and fast-paced, and the eager yet well-behaved huskies are always a big hit among children.
Indoor activities for children in Ylläs
When outdoor games have been played or the weather is unfavorable, you can head indoors to burn off some energy. In Äkäslompolo, there is an excellent escape room where you can go and play as a family, especially with older children. Kino Kellokas offers movies, and while you’re there, it’s worth checking out the free and changing exhibitions at the Nature Center. On the Ylläsjärvi side, Ylläs Ski Resort has a bowling alley, and right next door, there’s an indoor playroom where you’re guaranteed to spend the day having fun. Please note that the playroom is open only during the daytime. In the evening, you can go for a swim and relax at the Hotel Saaga spa.
Playgrounds offer climbing, swings, and slides for children to enjoy
Children’s playrooms can be found at YlläsKids area in Ylläs Ski Resort Ylläsjärvi as well as in Lastenmaa in Äkäslompolo. In Ylläsjärvi, there is also a high-quality playground near K-Market Eelin Kauppa on the shore. In Äkäslompolo, you can find playgrounds in front of Yllästunturi Visitor Centre Kellokas, in the yard of Mailan Putiikki, and at Helukka.
Childcare in Ylläs
Linnunpoika offers childcare in Ylläsjärvi, but also at home, hotel and holiday home.
Rattikelkalla erämaakahvilaan. Rattikelkka on hyvä väline vetää lapsia Ylläksen talvipoluilla esimerkiksi Kesänkijärvellä tai Karilassa. Rattikelkkoja vuokraa Hidden Trails Lapland.