Sodankylä is situated in the heart of Lapland. Sodankylä provides a perfect environment for both the active hiker and the person seeking peace, space and silence. Vast forests, unspoiled wild nature, wide open aapa mires and rugged fells of Northern Lapland in particular, are characteristic to this area. The Luosto ski resort is in the municipality.
The northern part of the municipality belongs to the Sámi native region.
There are no airports or railway stations in Sodankylä, so the only way to get in is by road, i.e. by car or bus. Buses along highway 4 (E75) between Rovaniemi and Ivalo stop in Sodankylä; the distance from Rovaniemi is 130 km, from Ivalo 160 km.
You can get around in the town itself by foot. However many attractions are located tens of kilometres outside of it and there are just a few buses a day (mainly just along highway 4), hence a car is the most practical mode of transportation.
This municipality is the home of:
- The Midnight Sun Film festival. Probably one of the world's northernmost film festivals, held in June each year since 1986, attracting an international audience.
- Alariesto Art gallery, Jäämerentie 3. Mon-Fri 9-17. An art gallery presenting the art of the local painter Andreas Alariesto.
- The old wooden church. Built in 1689.
- Lampivaara Amethyst mine (in Lampivaara village near the Luosto ski resort, 40 km from Sodankylä towards Kemijärvi).
- Kaamos Jazz festival. Held each November in Tankavaara 100 km, north of Sodankylä.
- The Gold prospector museum, Tankavaarantie 11 (In the village of Tankavaara, about 100 km north of the town centre), e-mail: email@example.com. Mo-Fr 10AM-4PM, in the summer longer. A museum dedicated to gold prospection in Lapland. adults €8, children €4.
A large variety of activities are available at near by locations in winter as well as in summer: snowmobile driving, ice fishing, reindeer farm visits, snow shoe walk, cross-country and downhill skiing, riverboat cruises, fishing, hiking and cycling.
- Finnish gold panning championships (95 km to the north along E75). Held each year in July in Tankavaara village, where also the Gold museum is located.
- Luosto ski resort. Skiing, husky safaris etc. Amethyst mine open to the public (see above).
- Pyhä-Luosto National Park (by bus, look for stops Pyhätunturi and Luosto; by car drive southwards and turn to road 962 in Torvinen), ☎ +358 205 64 7302, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rugged hills, gorges, old-growth forests and treeless fell tops. Historic sites of the Forest Sámi. Day hikes and an overnight hike between Luosto and Pyhä. Free.
- Urho Kekkonen National Park (for Sompio and the Ruijanpolku trail drive 88 km to the north along E75, to Vuotso, turn east along the Sompiojärventie forest road. There are trailheads after 9, 10 and 13.5 km; for the UKK trail and Nuorttijoki drive 145km east to Tulppio in Savukoski; for other options, see the park article). The second largest national park in Finland, with mires, deep forests and ranges of treeless fells. In the western parts there are good services, while most of the park is wilderness. The adjacent Sompio strict nature reserve includes the same habitats in a smaller scale. Free.
- Ilmakkiaapa mires (35 km to the north along E75). Easy 2·400m trail along duckboards over the aapa mire to a birdwatching tower. In spring the trail is flooded, otherwise no equipment is needed in dry weather, as long as you keep to the trail. Rubber boots needed for berry picking. Take your binoculars with you, to better see the birds. Right to access applies. Free.
- Hotel Bear Inn (Hotelli Karhu), Lapintie 7, ☎ +358 401 228250. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. Single rooms with private saunas or upgraded rooms equipped with relaxing power steam showers. Lounge with bar and a separate restaurant. Lunch buffet Monday through Friday at 11-14; after 15.00 daily, dinner à la carte.