With 718 lakes, 2053 saunas, and more than 20 kilometers of winter walking and fat tire biking trails in addition to the more than 15 ski lifts, there’s plenty of things to do in Levi Finland in winter that aren’t downhill skiing or snowboarding.
This little ski town lives winter out loud in the best way possible. With some of the cleanest air in the world, mountains, frozen lakes, and the elusive northern lights, Levi just might make you fall in love with winter.
Plan your trip with these 8 unforgettable outdoorsy things to do in Levi Finland in winter, including the best places to stay and eat in Levi!
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Where is Levi?
Just over 600 miles (or 1000 km) north of Helsinki, and well above the Arctic Circle, is the adorable ski town called Levi. While driving certainly is an option, it’ll take you more than 12 hours to get from Helsinki to Levi. With no train service between the two cities, I recommend taking an affordable 2-½ hour flight.
Pro Tip: Can’t decide between visiting Rovaniemi and Levi? Check out my post about the best place to visit in Lapland Finland in winter!
There are numerous daily flights to Levi (Kittila – KTT) Airport from Helsinki. Flights to Levi from other countries in Europe are mostly only available in winter months. Finnair appears to have the most affordable options and flexible schedules.
Getting Around Levi
Levi’s city centre and ski village is compact, making it easy to get around without a vehicle. It took me about 15 minutes to walk across the city center in winter.
Kittila Airport is a 15 minute drive from the city center of Levi. Both rental cars and a shuttle are available to get to the city center.
The shuttle is conveniently scheduled to leave shortly after each arriving flight and a couple of hours before each departing flight. Tickets are available with a credit card on the shuttle upon arrival or you can purchase your ticket in advance (8€ one-way, 14€ return). The shuttle stops at several dropoff points in Levi city center. Check to see where the nearest one is to your accommodation on the map on the left hand side of this page.
Pro Tip: Buy a return shuttle ticket to save 2€ but be sure to keep your paper receipt for your ride back to the airport.
Car Rental in Levi City Center
If you’re like me and want to rent a car for a short trip over to Rovaniemi, save both time and money by renting through Europcar through the pickup and dropoff service at Lapland Hotel Sirkantahti. This hotel is conveniently located right in Levi city center (see the map above).
What’s the best place to stay in Levi?
There really is something for everyone when it comes to places to stay in Levi. It actually can be a little overwhelming to try and choose where to stay, so here’s a few tips to help you decide.
- Book early if you plan to visit in winter as this is primarily a winter destination and places book up!
- Do you want to be able to walk to everything or are you ok renting a car?
- How important is it to have a full kitchen so you can prepare your own meals? Or do you prefer to have meals like breakfast included in your rate?
- Very importantly, do you want to have a sauna in your room?
Break Sokos – Worth the splurge!
This place was my sanctuary for a few nights and well worth the splurge. Located right in the heart of the city center, all of the restaurants, shops, and activities are right outside your door. The rooms are modern but comfortable, some even have an in-room sauna to warm up in after a long day of outdoor adventures! An impressive breakfast buffet is included.
Pro Tip: Book a Superior Room Twin for an in-room sauna like mine!
Hotel Hullu Poro – Budget-friendly and brilliant breakfast!
Looking for something a little more budget friendly? Hotel Hullu Poro offers fairly basic and somewhat dated rooms, but has an incredible breakfast and one of the only gyms in Levi city center. Grab a drink at the lobby bar to wind down after a long day!
This is also conveniently one of the stops for the airport shuttle.
Top Outdoorsy Things to Do in Levi Finland in Winter
Downhill skiing not your thing? I get it. While Levi is a downhill skiing and snowboarding destination, there is so much more to do outdoors while you’re there!
Pro Tip: At the main traffic circle in town, you’ll find the Visit Levi Tourist Information Center. The staff there are super helpful in answering your questions. Be sure to grab a trail map while you’re there!
1 | Chase the northern lights on an exhilarating snowmobile safari.
Imagine zooming across the Arctic countryside on a snowmobile with the snow gently falling all around you. Now imagine doing that at night with the northern lights dancing above you. In-cred-ible!
Just a short walk from the city center is Lapland Safaris office where they suit you up in all the warm gear for your ride. The gear includes a jumpsuit, wool socks, boots, balaclava, helmet, mittens and all of it was freshly laundered and cleaned. Seriously, you will not be cold!
Once suited up, head off into the night in search of the aurora! Our group of 14 split into two groups – those who wanted to go fast and those who wanted to take their time. This was a nice option to meet everyone’s needs! We all met up at a Kota hut for hot drinks and sausages over the fire.
Cost: ~140€ per person
Pro Tip: Snowmobiling is a risky activity so I strongly recommend reading the reviews of any tour company prior to booking and to inquire about the insurance options. Damage to the snowmobile may not be covered on your personal travel insurance policy but you may be able to add coverage when you book the tour.
2 | Hike across a frozen lake at sunrise.
Just behind the Visitor Center is a trail that leads to Immeljarvi, which by mid-winter is a frozen lake with groomed trails for hikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobiles. Follow the path to the far end of the lake where it transitions to a small road for a short period before turning back into the woods. From this section of the trail take in the incredible views of Immeljarvi and Levi from above. The trail is approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) round trip.
On cold days, there is a warming hut stocked with wood where you can enjoy a fire and use a primitive toilet.
Sure, you can do this hike at any time of day. There’s something magical, though about being there shortly after sunrise. You’ll likely have the place all to yourself!
Pro Tip: If you do this hike later in the morning, enjoy a cup of coffee at the little coffee shop, called Riihi, on the far end of the lake.
3 | Enjoy the Arctic countryside on snowshoes.
Overlooking Immeljarvi is Katka which is a mountain (or fell) that’s perfect for snowshoeing. Take the same trail towards Immeljarvi from behind the Visitor Center. After a short walk across a corner of the frozen lake, the trail will veer up towards the summit.
Snowshoeing doesn’t require a lot of technique though it can feel a bit strange the first time you do it. There are many tour companies offering guided snowshoe tours up Katka, but if you prefer to save some money or go solo you can rent snowshoes as well. This route is 4.5 km (2.8 miles) roundtrip.
Cost: ~20€ for 3 hours
4 | Take your cross-country skiing to the next level.
Since this trip to Finland was part of my DNA travel journey, I decided to invest in a few experiences that would help me connect with Finnish culture. One of those experiences was a cross-country skiing lesson and I am so glad that I did!
Lessons and rentals can be booked through Zero Point ski school which is right at the base of the ski slopes in the city center. It’s best to book a lesson in advance, but I was able to book a private lesson for the next day. Cross-country skiing rentals are available in the same building and there are lockers to store your personal items.
My instructor was friendly and knowledgeable. We started by practicing basic technique on a practice run in front of the ski school. Before long she told me I had graduated and we went for a ski through the forest. It turns out, I’m a natural at cross-country skiing!
Pro Tip: Wear layers as you will seriously work up a sweat while cross-country skiing. I ended up removing several layers as we swished our way through the forest near the ski school!
Cost: 80€ for 90 minute lesson, ~25€ for gear rental
5 | Explore Levi’s trails on a fat tire bike.
Whether you want to follow the same hiking path across Immeljarvi or venture out a bit further, renting a fat tire back is a fun way to explore Levi in winter!
From Levi city center, there is a 10 km (6.2 miles) trail that follows the base of the ski mountain to Loimulohi. Bikers can do this as an out and back, 20 km (12.4 miles) round trip, or finish the loop back to Levi city center with a section along the main road, closer to 17 km (10.4 miles) total.
Cost: 28€ for 3 hours
Pro Tip: Upgrade to an e-fat bike for some extra oomph on the trail!
6 | Try your hand at ice fishing.
As you make your way from Kittila Airport into Levi, you’ll see the frozen lakes dotted with people huddled above a hole in the ice anxiously waiting for a fish to bite their line. Ice fishing has long been a part of life in Finland and a unique way to experience winter in Levi.
For those interested in ice fishing on their own, stop by the Visitor Center in town to purchase a permit. If you’ve never tried ice fishing, it’s best to go as part of a tour so you can learn the basics.
Cost: Varies depending on the tour, ice fishing is often combined with other activities like snowmobiling.
8 | Channel your inner Mario with ice karting.
Do you have a need for speed? Ice karting is for you! Drive a go-kart fitted with studded tires around the ice for a thrilling and unique experience. The karts go up to 60 km/hr as you wind around the 500 meter long track. Don’t worry, warm gear and driving lessons are included!
Cost: 65€ per person for 90 minutes
Other Things to Do in Levi Finland in Winter
While these may not be unique to Levi, here are some other things to do while you’re in Levi!
- Enjoy a peaceful moment at St. Mary’s Chapel.
- Chase the northern lights on something other than a snowmobile.
- Ride through the countryside on a reindeer safari.
Where to eat in Levi Finland?
When I travel solo, I tend to buy most of my food at the supermarket so I can save money and eat on the go. Levi city center has two grocery stores where you can stock up and most accommodations have a fridge and a microwave in the room.
But, a big part of travel is the food! Here are a few notable places to eat in Levi.
NiliPoro Restaurant | Website
Owned by a local reindeer herder, the menu and decor represent the Sami people who are indigenous to the land. All of the reindeer dishes served are locally processed and from the owner’s own herd – truly farm to table. The restaurant is tiny and fills up quickly so be prepared to wait or go early, but it’s worth it. This was hands down the best meal I had my entire time in Finland. Try the reindeer meatballs!
King Crab House Finland Oy | Website
Salmon or fish soup is a staple Finnish food, available almost anywhere you go in Finland. But, good fish soup is a bit hard to find. Every day for lunch, King Crab House offers their fish soup of the day with delicious fresh bread. This was the perfect warm-me-up meal after a morning of being out in the cold. If fish isn’t your thing, the menu features options for any sort of diet.
Panimo A la Carte Restaurant | Website
This place caught my eye because it’s adjacent to the supermarket in town. The upstairs portion closes for a few hours in midday, but if you walk around the building there’s a lower level entrance that’s open in the afternoon. There are more lively restaurants in Levi, but personally I enjoyed the quiet and quick service. Try the reindeer sausage and chips!
Profinlandia Levi Wine Cellar (Levin Viinikellari) | Website
Wherever I go I seem to happen upon a wine tasting room of some sort and Levi was no different. As I wandered around Levi I saw a small sign that appeared to be for wine tasting, so of course I had to peek inside. The unassuming little storefront is a wine cellar featuring Finnish wines and liquor made from Lapland berries. Stop in for a tasting and stay for the home-cooked food in the attached restaurant.
While purchasing a bottle of wine, I noticed a Minnesota Vikings jersey hanging on the wall and tried explaining to the man that I live in Minnesota. His eyes lit up with excitement as he poured me an extra tasting. It’s like I was meant to discover this place!
Are you ready for a winter trip to Levi Finland?
So, are you ready to book your winter adventure to Levi Finland yet? Seriously, I could’ve spent another week here exploring! The hardest part is deciding what activities to add to your itinerary.