Giellajohka: the beautiful place where we got engaged!

Up in the north of Finnish Lapland, less than an hour’s drive from the border with Norway, you will find the beautiful lodges of the Giellajohka holiday park. In this blog, I explain why Giellajohka in Kaamanen will always have a special place in our hearts.


We are standing on a frozen lake in the large backyard of Giellajohka, the accommodation where we spend our last days in Lapland. Suddenly Ries turns towards me, kneels down and asks if I want to marry him. The setting is beyond romantic: there we are, in the middle of all this beautiful nature, engaged and super happy! Back in our cosy cabin, we pop a bottle of champagne and toast with our friends Thomas and Christine on the veranda while overlooking the frozen river.

Riverside Cabins Giellajohka

This cute holiday village is located far away from tourist hotspots, in the middle of the beautiful white wilderness. A perfect location to spot the northern lights: there is little light pollution from large cities which gives you a much better view of this natural phenomenon.

During this five-day trip through Lapland, we stay at different accommodations. Our last two nights are spent in one of the cosy lodges of Giellajohka. Afterwards, Ries explains that he waited with his proposal until our time in Giellajohka. He had two reasons for this: first of all, because the environment where the park of Giellajohka is located, is beautiful and the perfect setting for this romantic moment. Secondly, because we can see the northern lights from our bed, super romantic. The whole side of our cabin is a glass wall through which you have a magnificent view of the Aurora Borealis.

We sleep in one of the three Riverside Cabins. Giellajohka is named after the Kielajoki (or in the Sami: Giellajohka) river. It is completely frozen and snowed under at this time of the year, a beautiful view. The cabins are nicely furnished with a fireplace, a sauna and a nice kitchen. We make extensive use of all three! The perfect day to relax is when hopping into the sauna just before dinner and afterwards, stare sleepily in the flames of the fire.

Budget options Lapland

Giellajohka does not only offer luxury options, but there are also budget-friendly places to sleep. Budget accommodation is something that we have not seen in many places in Finnish Lapland. You can sleep in one of the private rooms in the guesthouse or even camp on the grounds of Giellajohka. There is a toilet block with showers, a public kitchen and for caravans, there is even electricity and waste-water drain.

Family business

On arrival, we are welcomed by Jouni. Together with his mother Anita and sister Anni, he runs the Giellajohka vacation village, a family business. It was his initiative to settle here a few years ago. After convincing his sister and mother, they moved to this part of Finland, just a bit above the city Inari, and it quickly became their home.

The next morning we meet his mother Anita. She is a warm and friendly person who tells everything about the northern lights, the research that is being done into this natural phenomena and how things are here in the summer. A good tip of Anita: don’t only come to Lapland in the middle of winter, but also visit this place before the first snow falls, in September or October. You can see the aurora borealis, even better at that time because of the lack of reflection of the light in the snow.Giellajohka northern light

When we go out for dinner in the restaurant in the evening, Jouni keeps a close eye on the weather reports. All guests are invited to join the northern lights WhatsApp group so that when you spot the Northern Lights, you can warn each other. Super handy! Soon Ries and Thomas are outside again to take pictures. Near the river is a large Tipi where a campfire is made every evening. This way you stay a little warm while looking at the starry sky and waiting for the northern lights.

Cross-country skiing and other activities

Jouni has invited us to learn cross-country skiing (cross-country skiing) and we warmly accept that offer. After we have put on special shoes and skis, we set off. Thomas joins us wearing special snowshoes. It goes without saying that Ries is doing fine, but I’m a bit clumsy and trip a lot with the skis. While we are playing outside in the snow we don’t feel the cold at all, we even get warm.

Cross-country skiing and snow hiking are not the only activities you can do here. In the winter you can go ice fishing, hunting, learn to cook traditional Finnish or ride a husky. In the spring and summer, you can make hikes in beautiful nature, go kayaking or fishing for grayling and trout. It’s free to rent skis and snowshoes. In addition, if you are not sleeping in the river cabins (and have a sauna in the cabin), it’s possible to use the Finnish private sauna.


Practical information about Giellajohka

Do you also want to stay in a nice lodge in the countryside, far away from tourist attractions? Then I can highly recommend Giellajohka! Giellajohka is located 110 kilometres north of Ivalo airport. You can reach it in an hour and a half by car. There is a direct bus connection from both Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Inari to Giellajohka. Giellajohka offers pick-up services at an additional cost.

The supermarket can be found in the nearest village, Kaamanen, about a 30-minute drive away. We happened to have just picked up groceries for breakfast before breakfast and had breakfast at our lodge. It is also possible to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at Giellajohka’s restaurant. We had a nice dinner here on the first night! You will also find a souvenir shop with, among other things, cute woollen socks.

You can spend the night in the guesthouse from €49 for a single room or €63 for a double room. The four of us stayed in the luxury Taiga Riverside Cabin. You can stay here with a total of six people for which you will pay € 340 per night (with occupancy of 6 people).

For more information and reservations, visit the Giellajohka website.
Address: Karigasniementie 2920, Kaamanen, 99910, Finland
Tel: +358 40 7386825
Email: info@giellajohka.fi
Or click here to book direct!


All my other blogs on Lapland and Finland!


Other travel blogs on Lapland


* We were invited by Giellajohka, however, everything above is true to me, as always I reflect my own opinion and experience.

**Credits of photography: both Thomas Kroon and Ries made the pictures for this blog. For contact details from Thomas, sent me a message.

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