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“Bit of a mixed experience”

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Kilpisjarven Retkeilykeskus
Reviewed July 11, 2011

This was the first stop on our tour of lapland and, had I reviewed it straight away before having seen other places I would have probably have given it a four or five, but now having seen what else is on offer throughout lapland I've had to review my rating. Being one of only two or three places available to stay in the area, the place is of course packed with people. We were camping in a tent and the camping area itself was basically just anywhere you could fit your tent in amongst the trees in between the rented cabins. This is not a major problem for us as we've camped in far worse places in forests etc. but when you're actually paying €20 odd for the privilege of pitching your tent you expect at least some reasonably flat place to do so. The on site facilities were adequate for our needs ie. toilets and showers but i have to say the hygiene standards were a bit lacking and the showers in particular smelled a bit musty. Another thing that irked me slightly was the difference in attitude in the staff when dealing with me and my husband who are both finnish speakers and the foreign tourists. It was almost as if they couldn't be bothered to deal with the "locals" and put all their efforts into pleasing everyone else, smiling and going out of their way to give advice etc. Never mind though, because the main point of coming to Kilpisjärvi in the first place is to see lapland and Kilpisjärvi boasts some of the most spectacular scenery of anywhere I've been so this made up for the somewhat snotty attitudes of the staff. If you're up to the punishing 4km trek up 744 steps and half a mountain then the hike to the top of mount Saana is well worth the effort. You can sign your name in the guest book at the top and feel very self satisfied looking down on breathtaking views of Finland, Sweden and Norways lakes and mountains. Also worth doing is the boat trip across the lake to three lands mark where you can stand on the spot where Finland Sweden and Norway meet. The trip costs 25€ each, which is a bit pricey, but as they also have the monopoly on boat rides it's the only option (except for a 16km hike) if you want to see three lands mark. If you're exceptionally adventurous (and tight with money) as we are, you might consider spending the night in the wilderness hut near to three lands mark. Its free! Finlands forestry commission builds these cabins all over lapland and travellers are allowed to stay in them for free for one or two nights. The doors are always open and the rule is that if someone else turns up, you must make space for them, you must clean the cabin before you leave and replace any fire wood you used. This place really appealed to us and if I were able to write a seperate review of it i would give it a five as this is the place where we got our first true taste of real lapland. The cabin was well equipped with a butane cooker, pots and pans, a small wood burning stove for heating and a comfortable table and chairs and sleeping area. We slept fantatically well here, except for being woken up once by a cheeky mouse who was raiding our sausage supply! The wilderness hut beat the actual camping area by a mile and I would advise anyone thinking of going to Kilpisjärvi to consider forgetting the camping centre, and heading straight for the wilderness hut!

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank karingal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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14 - 20 of 29 reviews

Reviewed February 23, 2011

"Must" place in Kilpisjärvi, long traditions and friendly people. Amazing place for cross-country skiing, and food is amazing as well. If you need peace, choose this place in the middle of nowhere.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Suomenjussi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2010

Their hostel is a bit overpriced. Probably both places existing in the area enjoy unlimited freedom of pricing policy, as the only alternative for travellers are guest houses, which usually are harder to get in contact to, and there`s only a slight chance they`d turn up ready to rent for several nights only.

After browsing through reviews here at TripAdviser, we chose to stay in Retku rather than in that other place due to my utmost dislike for must.
Well. The place is a typical hostel, so if you`ve never been to one – be warned and read up on the phenomenon.
Our room was absolutely tiny, had two beds, a table, one chair, and a little wardrobe. Ensuite bathroom meant of course that from the room we could hear everything going on in WC.

They serve typical Scandinavian breakfast, in it`s lower price range (no meatballs just sausages and such), and hold common guest saunas. As it is really a harsh place weatherwise, sauna is of great help, plus it`s included in price. Breakfast is not.
Adding to our room price, 70 euro, 16 euros for 2 breakfasts, we got 86 euro per night at a hostel.

Parking`s fine, and there`s also small, but fine shop in Retku. You won`t find much food in it, but things like woolen socks and thermoses are bound to come in handy.

Reception, restaurant and shop all close at 10 p.m.

All in all very basic stay, but at least it`s clean and warm inside, and, wherever you choose to stay in Kilpisjarvi – there`s Norway with it`s... everything... just round the corner. And, fair enough, a LOT of reindeers all around.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank benitahillstrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2010

If you're traveling through Kilpisjarvi, stop and spend at lest one, and better, two nights. The Retkeilykeskus is a unique kind of accommodation. For families, there are cabins scattered up and down the hillside beside the lake. There is also a youth hostel. The cabins are small, but spotlessly clean. You get 2 sets of bunk beds separated by a kitchen table, a small kitchen area, a toilet & shower room and a small porch. The cabins are new and bright inside. If you haven't brought food, you can eat in the main lodge. It's buffet-style and very reasonably priced. The buffet food is good. There are also very high quality sandwiches and muffins. You will need to pay for sheets and towels in the cabin if you have not brought your own. The retkeilykeskus is a little east of the downtown of Kilpisjarvi, and very easy to find since the lodge is just to the side of the only road through town. If you are lucky, you will also find that you are stopped in front by a herd of reindeer. These reindeer appear to wander freely through the trees and bushes among the cabins: if you dream of photographing reindeer, you can't hope to do better than this. We spent hours trailing after them. If you think you or your children might be intimidated by reindeer, be reassured that though they are a sizeable animal, they are more frightened by you than you are by them, and will flee as soon as you move or raise your arms. Bring a swimsuit and water-going sandals to use the sauna down by the lake - then jump in the lake for the full Finnish experience. During the day, take the boat trip out to the point where Finland, Norway and Sweden meet. Or better, do the hike up the Saana, the enormous hill on which this facility sits. If you hike around the bottom of the Saana you reach a lake where you can fish. If you want to fish you need to arrive early enough in the day to stop at the Tourist Office in Kilpisjarvi for a licence. They close before 5. If it rains, you can sit in the lodge and read or watch Finnish TV..Folk at the front desk and in the cafeteria all speak English and are very friendly. There is a wonderful atmosphere here, a mixing of young and old; singles and families, outdoor enthusiasts and folk touring by car. We'd stop here again without question and if you are looking for cabins, lake and hikes, this location in northern Finnland can't be beat. It's about 2 1/2 hours drive to the Tromso airport in Norway.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank PJaneChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: September 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank Ivi231
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: August 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank JuutasK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2017
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  • Stayed: May 2017, traveled with friends
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Thank Veikko K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kilpisjarven Retkeilykeskus

Address: Kasivarrentie 14663, Kilpisjarvi, Finland
Location: Finland > Lapland > Kilpisjarvi
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Kilpisjarvi
Price Range: $98 - $130 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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Kilpisjarven Retkeilykeskus Kilpisjarvi, Finland - Lapland

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