Nellim village and its surroundings make a natural, beautiful and peaceful residential, vacation, camping and recreation destination with marked nature trails and hiking routes. The marina of the village is a good place to lower a boat into the water, thus allowing visitors with boats access to Lake Inari.
Nellim is located at the back of the famous wilderness lake, Lake Inari. Lake Inari holds 3 318 islands, large open water areas and narrow straits. The largest islands are Kaamassaari, Mahlatti, Viimassaari and Roiro. The best-known islands are Hautuumaasaari and Ukonsaari, which is a historical sacrificial location of the Sami people. The island Korkia Maura is the home of an ice cave with permafrost; the ice in the cave doesn’t usually melt even in the summer.
The Vätsäri wilderness area is located on the eastern side of Lake Inari. The remote location of the area makes it one of the rare true wilderness areas with its gorgeous, untouched landscape. The southern edge of the area can be reached via a regional road (969) traveling through Nellim; the road continues on towards the forest area of Kessi, and it turns into a forest road after the Paatsjoki bridge. The forest road (about 13 km) ends just before the Kessijärvi lake.
A snowmobile route travels through the area from Nellim to Sevettijärvi. The wilderness area can be accessed on foot from the south, via the Kessi forest area. The only marked route in the Vätsäri wilderness area, the Piilola trail, starts at Kessintie, approximately 14 km from the village of Nellim.
Tsarmitunturi wilderness area
The exceptional landscape of the Tsarmitunturi fell wilderness area is located at the south-side of Nellim. The area can be accessed by car via the forest road of Kontosjärvi or by snowmobile.
The Tsarmitunturi highlands and Akalauttapää form the heart of the wilderness. These two areas are separated by the deep Pahakuru ravine.
Tsarmikuusikko is the northernmost uninterrupted spruce forest in Finland. The fell area is flanked by the northernmost uninterrupted spruce forests in Finland and by the hundreds of years old pine forests in the northern part of the wilderness.
Nellim is located about 300 km above the Arctic Circle, and the Sun doesn’t set at all in the village between May 21 and July 21. So you can enjoy the midnight Sun and light of June and July for a long time.
The opposite of the midnight Sun is the dark winter, the polar night, when the Sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all. In Nellim, the Sun doesn’t rise at all between December 2 and January 9. However, the days aren’t pitch-dark; depending on the date, midday looks more or less like twilight.
The so-called blue hour is a beautiful winter phenomenon, which can be seen in the afternoon as the day is turning into night.
During the blue hour, sunlight is still reflected through the atmosphere, with the light being blue. In the snowy wilderness and walking on the ice-covered Lake Inari, the blue hour is a unique experience.
The northern lights are colorful light phenomena consisting of changing constellations on the night sky. The northern lights are born when the charged particles of the solar wind hit the Earth’s atmosphere in the high latitudes.
Nellim, surrounded by wilderness and Lake Inari, is a particularly good location for watching the northern lights as the area has no light pollution of cities to dim the nocturnal display of color.
Animals and plants
The entire Nellim village and its surroundings are reindeer husbandry areas, so you can meet these northern crown heads practically everywhere – in the forests, roads and yards.
In addition, the area is inhabited by the moose, fox, stoat, marten and bear. If you’re lucky, you may even see the endangered arctic fox. Wolves cross the Vätsäri wilderness on their way from east to west. The wolverine is rarely seen in the wilderness.
Other inhabitants of the forests include, for example, the wood grouse, willow grouse and ptarmigan. The several ponds and lakes in the region are inhabited by various waterfowl. High up in the sky you can see the white-tailed eagle and the golden eagle, and if you look a bit lower, you can see the raven. Lake Inari has plenty of salmon, trout, arctic char, common whitefish, vendace and grayling.
The forests in the region offer many different kinds of berries, such as cloudberry, black crowberry, lingonberry and blueberry. The diverse forests also offer plenty of different mushrooms, such as boletes, milk-caps, Russula, chanterelles and false morels.
Collecting berries and mushrooms is an everyman’s right – hunting and fishing in Finland usually requires a permit.