What’s the best starting point?
If you want to cycle downstream towards the north, it is recommended to start the journey from Karigasniemi, a multicultural village with a population of a few hundred. The scenery from Karigasniemi to Utsjoki is also the most impressive, and the route is easier to cycle this way. In Karigasniemi, you can find the holiday resort Guossi, a restaurant, a grocery store and a liquor store. If you have the time, it’s worth spending at least one night in Karigasniemi and perhaps hiking to Áilegas, which rises over 600 meters, or taking a boat trip on the Teno River.
In fact, Finland’s northernmost cycling route follows the famous Teno River, known for its salmon. For the locals, the Teno River has been an important environment and fishing place for hundreds of years, and the fishing methods have remained almost unchanged over time. Until the 1960s, the Teno River served as the main transportation route for moving between villages and transporting goods. The road from Utsjoki to Nuorgam was completed in 1971, and the road from Utsjoki to Karigasniemi in 1983. Long, narrow boats were used to navigate the Teno River during the summer, while in winter sleds pulled by reindeer were used as transportation. There have also been snowmobile and horse races on the frozen surface of the Teno River.
Getting lost on the Teno Valley cycling route is quite unlikely: head from Karigasniemi towards Ylätenontie and continue straight as long as you can. At the beginning of the route, you’ll pass through pine forests and fields, after which the river views become more prominent. The route alternates between climbs, descents, straight stretches, and winding sections. On the left gleams the Teno River, and the fells greet cyclists from all directions, both from the Finnish and Norwegian sides. It quickly becomes evident that on this route, you can peacefully pedal in your own thoughts and let your gaze and mind rest in the scenery. There are hardly any oncoming cyclists or settlements.
The first steep ascent occurs at the 15-kilometer mark, followed by a pleasant descent all the way to Fierranjoki. Take your first break after the descent at the 19.3-kilometer mark and enjoy the sandy beach scenery.
Seitala offers a cozy and atmospheric place to spend the night, located about thirty kilometers from Karigasniemi to Utsjoki. The surroundings of Seitala are spacious and rustic, situated right on the banks of the Teno River. There is plenty of space for tents by the water. Alternatively, you can choose cottage accommodation. At Seitala, you can also relax in the sauna and recharge your electric bike’s battery. It is recommended to make a reservation in advance by phone, please see more information on our Services page.
If you don’t stop at Seitala, a suitable place for a second break and rest is the Nuorpiniemi parking area (Nuorbenjárga, 33 km from Karigasniemi). Please remember to take your trash with you after the break.
Between Karigasniemi and Utsjoki, there are smaller villages such as Dalvadas and Nuvvus. When you reach them, the landscapes are particularly awe-inspiring, and one of the eye-catching features is the majestic Nuvvos-Áilegas fell. It’s a great day trip destination for hiking, and you can recognize the mountain by the two masts on its summit.
A great place for the third break is at the 54-kilometer mark in Nuvvus. This rest area also has a table and benches, as well as a trail leading down to the riverside. Overnight accommodation is also possible, as you can find cottage accommodation about ten kilometers towards Utsjoki from Nuvvus.
A stunning resting and photography spot is Báktevárri, which offers views towards the Rástegáisá mountain in Norway on clear days. Báktevárri is 27 kilometers from Utsjoki and can also be done as a round trip when coming from Utsjoki. Near Báktevárri, you’ll find the Tenon Tunturituvat, which offers accommodation and a café open from mid-June to late July. This is also a convenient place for recharging an e-bike battery if you have your own charger.
As the cyclist reaches the village of Utsjoki, they may sigh in awe as they see the Sámi Bridge appearing before them in the valley below – or breathe a sigh of relief, especially if they have already covered a hundred kilometers in one go. Utsjoki, with its approximately 700 residents, is the most populous village along the route. Upon reaching the village, the route continues straight towards Nuorgam. However, it is advisable not to rush, as Utsjoki offers plenty to see and explore for an extended period of time.
The Kirkkotuvat (Church Cabins) by Lake Mantojärvi, about six kilometers south of the village along Highway 4, are historically interesting and picturesque cultural landmarks. You can also refresh yourself at Nisulampi Beach or visit the 18-hole disc golf park, the northernmost one in Finland, located nearby. If you didn’t bring your own discs, you can rent them from Lomakylä Valle.
The Village House Giisá is a popular café and handicraft shop among the locals. And if you’re looking for more outdoor activities, head on foot or on a fat bike to the Áilegas fell near the village. From its peak, you’ll enjoy a magnificent view of the village, the Teno Valley, and the surrounding wilderness. There are excellent opportunities for hiking. A 1-2-day hike is possible, for example, on the Utsjoki wilderness trail, which starts in the village. You can also visit the swimming hall and gym in the village. And be sure to make a stop at the Sámi Bridge, which marks the halfway point between Finland and Norway.
The distance from Utsjoki to Nuorgam is about 45 kilometers. The hills on this stretch feel more moderate, and there is slightly more traffic compared to the Karigasniemi direction. The first opportunity for refueling and accommodation comes after eight kilometers of cycling. A coffee break on the terrace of Aurora Holidays by the Teno River is truly exceptional.
As you continue the journey, marvel at the Veahčabákti waterfalls and make a stop at the atmospheric Välimaa Sámi farm. The gravel-covered Museotie road was originally formed as a detour route around the Alakönkää rapids.
There are no designated resting areas specifically for cyclists yet, but at locations such as Alakönkää and Boratbokcá, there are widened areas with scenic views suitable for a break.
In the village of Nuorgam, with a population of a couple hundred, your attention may first be drawn to the number of Norwegian cars in the grocery store parking lot. Indeed, you will hear a lot of Norwegian, and cross-border trade is lively. The route ends at the national border, the northernmost point of the EU. However, it’s not recommended to just linger in the village. After refueling or a well-rested night, head up the paved road of Pulmankijärvi. The climb is grueling and sweaty, but at the top, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the wilderness. It is always a great idea to pack coffee and some snacks in a daypack and enjoy them at a beautiful spot along Pulmankijärvi Road. If you want to stretch your legs even more, head towards the Skáidejávri trail. Local companies in Nuorgam also offer guided hiking trips, boat trips on the Teno River, and canoeing on Pulmankijärvi Lake and River. Equipment rentals are available for various activities.
These landscapes have also been the backdrop for the successful film “Sisu,” and some of the set pieces are still in place along the road.
From here you can can easily continue to the Norwegian side and even pedal all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
Buorre mátki! Have a good journey!