Tornio Valley

Tourists from around the world can enjoy the traditions and pure nature of the area.

Tornio Valley is a unique meeting point of cultures.

Life on the border of two countries has made the river valley a rich and active area reflecting solidarity. Tourists from around the world can enjoy the traditions, hospitality and pure nature of the area.

Tornio Valley is located in the western Lapland, nearby the Swedish border. High road 21 from Tornio to Kilpisjärvi follows along the Tornio River. The landscape in Tornio River Valley is very beautiful with several lakes and grand hills.

The best known of the hills is Aavasaksa, 242 meters. Aavasaksa is known as "the sun hill" because it attracts thousands of visitors to admire the midnight sun every year. The Midsummer Festival in Aavasaksa is very old and still very popular event in Tornio River Valley. In the scientific literature the name of Aavasaksa became famous because of the geographic work that the Frenchman Maupertuis did in 1736-37. It is located in the area where the Arctic Circle crosses the border of Sweden and Finland.

Sights and places to visit

Aavasaksa Kruununpuisto Park (1878) – Lapland’s oldest tourist destination

The spectacular national landscape that opens up before you from the top of Aavasaksa, coupled with the Midnight Sun have attracted visitors for centuries. Aavasaksa Kruununpuisto Park was founded in 1878 when the State purchased the land at Aavasaksanvaara

Hill in order to be able to serve the increasing numbers of visitors. Keisarinmaja (Imperial Lodge) was built in 1882 for visitors to enjoy refreshments and relax. The stone steps that are still in use today were built at around the same time. The rocks scattered about the top of the hill were the calling cards of bygone visitors, and stonemasons have immortalised the initials of the visitors from the 1800s right up to the 1950s. The park is a protected area.

Aavasaksa Pavilion (1927, 1999)

Aavasaksa Pavilion was built on top of the Hill in 1927 for the summer visitors to use. The building was renovated in neoclassic style in 1999. The renovations, funded by the National Board of Antiquities, were in keeping with the former structures and preserved the original harmonious shades used in the visitors’ cabin. Skilfully constructed in wood, the pillars, rafters and beams exude the atmosphere of dance pavilions in bygone times.

A cafeteria operates in the pavilion during the summer months. Besides having light refreshments, meals are also served. Consideration has been given to people with limited mobility; the café has an invalid toilet, cars can drive right up to the top of the Hill and a path suitable for wheelchairs leads to a viewing platform. The pavilion has seating for 50 people and there are more seats on the sunny terrace. Advance reservations required for groups, possibilities for dining, coffee/tea breaks and guided tours.

Keisarinmaja (Imperial Lodge) (1882)

Keisarinmaja is Lapland’s oldest building intended for tourism; built on the Hill for visitors to the region. Refreshments were served in the lodge and it also provided shelter for visitors during poor weather.

The hunting lodge was given the name Imperial Lodge in preparation for a visit to Lapland by the Tsar of Russia and the Grand Duke of Finland. (Alexander II reined through to 1882 and followed by his son, Alexander III.) The visit to Aavasaksa was planned as part of the Tsar’s itinerary for his visit to Lapland. Unfortunately, due to the unstable political situation at the time, the Tsar’s visit had to be cancelled.