Not as well-known as the other Lapland resorts, Pyhä’s small size often means it’s overlooked but for a small place it packs one hell of a punch... If you want variety, there’s bucketloads to do, all coming with a sprinkling of Sami culture and Finnish charm.
The scenery trumps every Christmas card you’ve seen with the Pyhä-Luosto national park being decorated with snowy forests and frozen lakes. Husky and reindeer safaris are a terrific way to explore before heading back to the village, which is child-friendly with a cosy feel.
Snowmobiling is an awesome way to take in the beautiful landscape of the Pyhä-Luosto national park as well as being seriously good fun! Anyone over 15 years old can usually take to the wheel and little ones aren’t forgotten either – they can ride on a sled dragged behind the snowmobile. The snowmobiles can go up to wicked speeds of 80 km/h over frozen lakes and are a fun choice for a group of friends who fancy battling it out with a bit of competition. You can often tie the snowmobiling experience in with a sighting of the Northern Lights in the evenings, adding another exhilarating dimension to the tour.
Reindeer have been a massive part of Lapland life for hundreds of years, so a meeting with these magnificent creatures is something you have to do. There are two reindeer farms within easy distance of Pyhä; the Kopara park takes about 45 minutes to drive to and the Jaakkola farm is about an hour’s drive away. Between them, they offer a variety of activities ranging from meeting and feeding the reindeer to safaris. The safaris are a fun way to explore the arctic landscape, sweeping past lakes and forests as you’re pulled along at surprising speeds. The tour leaders are experts in the field and will tell you all about the reindeer and the legends surrounding them.
A husky ride is an experience that you simply can’t pass up on; it’s great fun and has the bonus of being available to young children. The Arctic Husky farm is about a 15 minute drive from the resort. In past years, a company called Lapland Safaris have offered the chance to get there by snowmobile to make the experience extra special. With over 150 Alaskan and Siberian huskies, the farm usually does a range of safaris, where you can be pulled along in a sled or take to the reins yourself. It’s often possible to go on a day tour, which lasts 5 hours and covers miles and miles. If you travel later in the season, you might be lucky enough to meet some puppies...
Lapland is the one and only home of Father Christmas and if you’re visiting with children, a day trip to see Santa has to be top of the priority list. The Santa Park and Santa Claus’ village are both Rovaniemi, just under a couple of hours drive away. In recent years you’ve been able to meet Santa and his elves, explore the magical workshop and visit an ice gallery in the Santa Park, which is usually only open between November and January. Santa’s Village is open all year round so you can take the family to meet Santa over half term or Easter if you want to and start planning the Christmas list for next year!
For a small resort, there’s huge scope for cross-country skiing here, totalling an area of 150km - 25km of this is floodlit, so even in deep winter you can ski till late afternoon. The real winning factor is that some of the trails flow through the Pyhä-Luosto national park, which simply has some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see. There are various cross country cafes for a warming break, including one at the Chapel of the Northern lights and another near the Naava visitor centre. If you’re trying this for the first time, Pyhätunturi ski school also do cross country lessons.
Snowshoeing is almost certainly the most tranquil way to get out into the untouched wilderness that surrounds Pyhä, and snowshoeing fans would probably tell you it’s the most rewarding too. Whilst other activities like cross country skiing, snowmobiling and animal sledding require you to stick to marked routes, snowshoes allow you to venture into totally untracked areas that you wouldn’t usually be able to get to. We’d recommend heading into the stunning Pyhä-Lousto National Park, where you can hike amongst 200-year-old pine trees and admire the majestic Tunturi fells. There’s nearly always a guide available to show you around if you’d rather not venture out by yourself.
Beginners are well catered for with long, wide blues and the capable hands of the Pyhätunturi ski school, while kids have the ‘Rosa & Rudolph’ blue run as well as the designated Kids’ Ski Area and it’s Junior Snowpark. The area doesn’t have miles of intermediate terrain but there are some lovely long tree-lined reds. The off-piste is some of the best in Lapland with steeps and powder galore (the views of the national park are unbeatable). You can also ski the steepest slope in Finland - Huttu-Ukko - which is sometimes used for World Cup mogul competitions. Freestylers will love the Snow Park which is completely floodlit with a camel hump line, table top and a big box.
The Amethyst mine near Luosto is the only gemstone mine in the world that it is open to the general public. You can either a transfer to the mine or be slightly more adventurous on ski or snowshoe. The tours are fascinating and there’s a lovely café on site as well as a shop selling gems and treasures.
Ice climbing is a great activity for adventure-seekers and gives you a chance to experience the ice of Lapland in a whole new perspective! The Tajukangas fall is near the resort and
Bliss Adventure usually do lessons for newbies.
Ice Karting is great fun, perfect for those with a competitive edge. The track is frozen in winter but is also fenced which keeps everything as safe as possible (you also have to be taller than 150cm).
Smoke saunas are a huge part of Finnish culture and if you’re feeling the cold, a bit of R&R in a sauna might be just the ticket. Following up a warming sauna session with ice swimming may seem a bit daft but is actually a rejuvenating and unique experience (so they say!).
The horse farm is about half an hour from the resort and here you can meet the traditional Finnhorses and learn all about their history and their role within Finnish culture. Sledge rides are not only fun and informative but are a great way to get close to Pyhä’s beautiful surroundings and venture off the beaten track to great spots offering surreal views of the national park.
Have a go at this age old tradition in the Pyhäjärvi Lake or the Pyhäjoki and Kitinen rivers – local businesses like ‘The Call of the Wilderness’ usually offer excursions.
Pyhä is nestled right in the heart of Lapland and situated next to the untouched Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Venture into the National Park on a clear night and, thanks to the total lack of light pollution, you’ll stand a good chance of glimpsing the Aurora itself.