Ivalo is a village in the municipality of Inari, Lapland, Finland, located on the Ivalo River 20 kilometres south of Lake Inari. A small town of 3000 people, it is a hub for transport to the ski resorts and outdoor adventures of Finnish Lapland.
The Ivalo village is the administrative centre for the municipality of Inari, and also its largest population centre, so it comes as no surprise that this is where you can find the widest range of services in northern Lapland. The well-stocked grocery shops open their doors every day of the week, from early in the morning until late at night, including Sundays.
The Inari area offers unforgettable experiences in nature combined with a firsthand introduction to Sámi culture and traditions.
"The Sámi people are the only officially recognised indigenous peoples in the European Union. Estimated to be around 75,000 in number, there are around 9000 Sámis in Finland, over 40,000 in Norway, 15,000 - 20,000 in Sweden and 2000 in Russia. Although Sámi people are distributed across country borders, they consider themselves to belong to one land known as Sápmi or Sámiland, have one Sámi flag and their own national day which is celebrated on 6th February.
Finland’s Sámi population has its own parliament which is responsible for linguistic and cultural self-government. The parliament operates out of Sajos in Inari village and is elected every fourth year. In Lapland’s northernmost municipalities Sámi students have a right to take their education in their own language. Efforts are also made to preserve the Sámi languages with immersive cultural day care centres for young children. In Finland three Sámi languages are spoken: Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi.
Although lean-tos, kotas and other traditional structures are still a part of the Sámi culture and environment all year round, people live in modern houses, dress in modern clothes and do not differ from Finns in their outward appearance. However, almost all Sámis have a Sámi dress, which is worn on important or special occasions. When wearing the beautifully made and decorated traditional dress, a Sámi person is representing their family and their region." Visit Inari