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Tankavaara

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Tankavaara is a village in Sodankylä, Finnish Lapland. It features a gold prospecting museum and a company called Gold Village offering services for travellers and locals. The former national park visitor centre is now part of The Gold Village: Tankavaara Wild conference centre, offering nature activities and services.

From Tankavaara village there's an easy access to some trails and nature paths of Urho Kekkonen National Park.

Understand

Tankavaara is famous for its gold prospecting, which started in the 1930s. Since the 1970s, the village has been a tourist attraction including hotel, restaurant and the gold prospector museum.

Get in

Tankavaara is situated by E75, some 90 km north of Sodankylä centre, some 30 km south from the Saariselkä resort, and some 60 km south of the airport in Ivalo. The railhead in Rovaniemi is some 230 km away. There are several coaches daily between Rovaniemi and Inari and farther north along the road (3 h from Rovaniemi, 45 min from Ivalo). The name of the bus stop is "Tankavaara th".

Get around

The village is small, use your feet. If you are in wheelchair, check what facilities are accessible. One of the nature trails in the national park is accessible with wheelchair, if assisted.

See

  • 1 Tankavaara Wild (conference centre), Tankavaarantie 11 B, ☏ +358 40 570 7002, wild@tankavaara.fi. Open on request, bookings wild@tankavaara.fi. Exhibitions, films, activities, information on the park and the wilderness area (former visitor centre). Available for conferences and for a private or public events. Guided exhibition tours are available on request. Accessible with wheelchair. (updated Jul 2019)
  • 2 The Gold prospector museum, Tankavaarantie 11 C, ☏ +358 16 626-171, info@kultamuseo.fi. June–September daily 09:00–17:00, October–May M–F 10:00–16:00. A museum dedicated to gold prospection in Lapland and internationally. Large collection of geological samples. Also outdoors museum with several historic buildings. €10/8/5, children fee for 7–16 years old; gold panning €8–10. (updated Apr 2017)
  • German Schutzwall military post. Remnants of military post from the Lapland War (fought during World War II). There are repaired constructions along the "Urpiaispolku" nature trail and by the village. There is a dedicated 2×1.5 km warhistory trail with replica structures and an old artillery weapon; be careful by the original structures as they may collapse. (updated Apr 2017)

Do

  • Gold panning in the Gold village, Tankavaarantie 31, ☏ +358 16 626-158, info@tankavaara.fi. 09:00–21:00 daily. €12/person/1 hour, €60/family/day. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Gold panning in the wild, info@teamdeadwood.fi. From short family adventures to week-long backwood camps. Family day €170. (updated Apr 2017)
  • Nature activities in Gold Village, Tankavaarantie 31, ☏ +358 16-626-158, info@tankavaara.fi. Hiking, canoeing in the summertime and Northern light tours and snowshoeing in the wintertime. (updated Feb 2019)

Urho Kekkonen National Park

The Urho Kekkonen National Park is adjacent to Tankavaara and there are several marked trails into it, with signs and some infrastructure, such as lookout towers, dry toilets, "Lap pole tents" and campfire sites. For longer treks Tankavaara is not the best starting point, since most of the park is behind Sompio Strict Nature Reserve, where trails must be followed, and there are no trails into the reserve from Tankavaara. It is however possible to walk through the park towards Kiilopää, halfway you pass the north end of the Sompio reserve and can choose the rest of the route more freely.

  • 1Urho Kekkonen National Park. The second largest national park in Finland, with mires, deep forests and ranges of treeless fells. A few shorter trails start at Tankavaara. Free.  
  • 2Sompio Strict Nature Reserve (Sompion luonnonpuisto) (trailheads at the road Sompiojärventie, which starts in Vuotso 8 km southward). Habitats similar to those in the national park, in a smaller scale. Trails have to be followed. The trail from Tankavaara has been closed. Free.  
  • Trails. (updated Apr 2017)
    • Geological trail (start by the conference centre Tankavaara Wild). 7 km trail in the national park, can be combined with the Tankavaara nature trail to a slightly longer route. Check whether the information posters are in English also. (updated Apr 2017)
    • Nature trails (start by the conference centre Tankavaara Wild). Nature trails in the national park (1km/3km/6km; as snowshoe routes in winter), with bird and landscape observation towers. The short trail is accessible with wheelchair in summer, if assisted. (updated Apr 2017)
    • 3 Pyhä-Nattanen circle trail (from Vuotso 9 km along Sompiojärventie). From Sompiojärventie through Sompio Strict Nature Reserve to the Pyhä-Nattanen fell and back to a point 1 km farther along the road. 
    • 4 Ruijanpolku trail (from Vuotso 14 km along Sompiojärventie, from the shore of Sompiojärvi). Ancient trail leading to the Barents Sea. The 35-km leg from Sompiojärvi to Kiilopää and Laanila has been made into a modern trail, but some of the old markings can still be seen. Leads over the Nattaset fells (Nattasduottar) and through the forests of the national park (where you are allowed to choose your own routes). 

Events

  • Kaamos Jazz festival. 19–22.11.2020. 
  • Finnish gold panning championships. Held each year in July. 
  • World Gold Panning Championships in August 2019. Held each year in August somewhere around the world and 2019 in Finland, Tankavaara.
  • Gold Rush Run Sled Dog Race. Held each year in March.

Buy

  • Souvenirs etc. from the visitor centre and from the Gold village and the Miners Market shopping bus.
  • 1 K-extra Sieppi, Säpikästie 3 (in Vuotso, some 10 km to the south), ☏ +358 400-214-655. Small grocery store. (updated Dec 2015)

Eat

  • Old Gold Prospectors Restaurant (Wanhan Waskoolimiehen Ravintola), ☏ +358 16 626-158, info@tankavaara.fi. 09:00–21:00. (updated Apr 2017)

Drink

  • Wild West Saloon. Su–Thu 21:00–23:00, F–Sa 21:00–02:00. (updated Apr 2017)

Sleep

  • Kultakylä (Gold Village), Tankavaarantie 31, ☏ +358 16 626-158, info@tankavaara.fi. "Corundum" rooms with modern standard, cottages "in the spirit of gold rush times" with shared kitchen and showers in separate building, and camping. The "Kultaränni" standard hotel twin rooms with shower built in 2018 (12 twin rooms). €100, cottages €60–80. (updated Apr 2017)

Connect

Postal code: 99695 Tankavaara

Free Wi-Fi in the Prospectors Restaurant

Go next

  • Urho Kekkonen National Park, with the Prospector Trail and some other traces of gold mining, and of course vast areas for trekking.
  • Lemmenjoki National Park or Hammastunturi Wilderness Area, where some people still spend their summers panning for gold.


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