Autumn in Ylläs is full of stunning experiences. In addition to the traditional rusk, the seven fells also offer the chance to experience other unique natural and human displays.
The gaze turns towards Aakenus. The beloved law of the horseshoe-shaped fells opens before the eyes. Below, a marsh covered with scrub, lakes and forest. It feels small in the magnificent landscape of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. It is a privilege to breathe the cleanest air in the world.
For Pekka Laakkonen, Aakenustunturi is a place where the mind calms down and things come into perspective. Although the place has been familiar for decades, the landscape looks slightly different every time.
Aakenus is my favourite mountain in all its rugged beauty. The view opens up on all sides: from the top you can see Pallas, Ylläs and Levi. You never get bored of the landscape, you have to go there every time you visit Ylläs,” says Laakkonen.
Living in Lapland with respect and respect for nature
Retired teacher Pekka Laakkonen has been walking and skiing the trails of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park since the 1980s. Today, Laakkonen visits Ylläs with his wife a few times a year. He is particularly fond of Tunturi-Lapp during the snowless season.
Last year, the Laakkoses went on a rusking trip to Ylläs. The week was spent relaxing on day hikes and mountain bike rides on the national park’s trails.
“It was a trip of a lifetime. The weather was perfect – we were a small, comfortable group and we were able to hike as planned. In Ylläs, people are friendly, relaxed and unhurried: you can stay on the trails to chat and catch up.”
The weather hasn’t always been sunny, but that’s actually one of the best things about Lapland, in Laakkonen’s opinion. In the tundra, nature is so close that you have to listen to it in a completely different way than in the city.
“Once we went to Ylläs in early June and there was such a crazy storm that you couldn’t get to all the hiking trails. The next year, around the same time, it was so hot that there was a forest fire warning. And the very next year, at the same time of year, there was snow up to our crotches,” says Laakkonen.
If Laakkonen were to spend a day in Ylläs, he would go on a tour of the gorges, which includes not only gorges but also open tundra and forest terrain. Laakkonen believes that the rich and varied nature is one of the reasons why most people who visit Ylläs return to the seven fells again and again.
“The peaks of the fells rise high, but the forest provides shelter below. The hiking trails in Ylläs are well marked and there is little chance of getting lost. Even when there are a lot of people around, there are always places where it’s quieter.”
Locals say Ylläs is paradise
Vesa Kaulanen, entrepreneur of Yöpuu in Ylläs, agrees with Laakkonen. In addition to the stunning scenery, he cites the biodiversity and extensive network of trails, good mountain biking opportunities and cosy wilderness cafés as the best aspects of Ylläs.
“You won’t find anything like this anywhere else. You just have to be really careful when it comes to electric cycling – it’s so much fun that once you try it, you’ll soon have to get your own electric bike,” says Kaulanen.
Kaulanen, who comes from Äkäslompolo, has also ridden in Helsinki. Although he found love in the south, city living was not for Kaulanen. In the forest and on the fells, the mind rests and the hustle and bustle is forgotten.
Kaulanen has no intention of leaving Äkäslompolo with an axe.
“This is like paradise. Here you can find everything you need. The possibilities for hobbies here are endless, there are no limits.”
Vesa Kaulanen has hosted the Ylläs Nightclub since the 90s together with his wife Marja Kaulanen. Kaulanen’s parents started the Ylläs Yöpuu accommodation business back in the 1950s. Today, Ylläksen Yöpuu offers a wide range of accommodation, from cottages to individual rooms.
One of Yöpuu’s most popular facilities is the lakeside sauna on the shore of Lake Äkäslompolo, which can be rented out all year round.
“I modestly advertise that our sauna is located on the most beautiful lake in Europe. You can see six fells and the lake from the sauna,” says Kaulanen.
On moonlit mornings, a curtain of mist floats over Lake Äkäslompolo. During the day, the water reflects a magnificent brown colour, but in the evening you can also see a spectacular northern lights show on the mirrored lake.
Vesa Kaulanen recommends that all Ylläs hikers should try an evening walk to the lakeside in autumn. Even from the cottage, you can turn off the lights, sit on the terrace, have a glass of wine and look up at the sky.
“Everyone talks about the brown, but few people talk about seeing the northern lights during the brown. What many people don’t know is that the Northern Lights are in the sky all year round and autumn is the best time to see them, when it’s dark outside and still warm enough to sit on the terrace. It’s really cool to see the aurora borealis reflecting off the surface of a mirror-like lake.”
Autumn in Ylläs also includes a variety of events
A unique experience can also be had in autumn on the slopes of Yllästunturi, where there is a place called the Human Circle. It is a viewing platform where a unique cinema, Kino Ylläs, is set up every year. This year, for the 16th time, Kino Ylläs will delight tourists every weekend in September.
“When you sit in the theatre and the screen is in front of you, the fells rise up behind the screen. That in itself is an experience – it’s not just watching a film, but also enjoying nature and the scenery. If you happen to be in the Ylläs area in September, I warmly recommend you come,” says Hanna-Maija Kämäräinen of Kino Ylläs.
This year’s Kino Ylläs event will include films whose premieres could not be organised due to the interest rate.
The event will take place entirely under the sky. The films will start in the evening, when darkness and silence descend on the village.
“We’ve sat there and watched films even in the storm. In the autumn in Lapland, you can’t expect a clear starry sky all the time. Sometimes it has even rained during a screening and people have sat in raincoats to watch the film. Even the full moon can sometimes shine so brightly that the start of the films has to be postponed until later in the evening.”
Kämäräinen recommends buying tickets in advance from Kino Ylläs’ online shop. You can buy your movie heads at the café, which is always open on movie nights in the Ihmisen Rinki. There are films for all ages.
Kino Ylläs is organised by the Napapiirin Sankarit film club. The event has also been organised by the municipality of Kolari, the Tunturi-Lapin printing house and various partners. Volunteers have also been an invaluable help.
“We are very happy that there are many people in the village who are happy to help organise the event. Without the volunteers, Kino Ylläs would certainly not exist,” Kämäräinen says.
“The Market and Forest Days” will also be held in Ylläs in September, featuring market vendors, a male choir and talks by Parks & Wildlife Finland experts on Lapland’s nature.