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Couple driving reindeer sledge, Finnmark Finnmark
Couple driving reindeer sledge, Finnmark.
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com

The Sami way of life

Join a dogsled expedition, learn to throw a lasso, and experience the Sami culture first hand in Karasjok and Kautokeino.

The Sami are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe, and the attractions on the Norwegian tundra all reflect Sami history, heritage and life today. No wonder, as nine out of 10 people here are Sami. Go dog sledding or skiing on the rugged Finnmark plain, camp in a traditional lavvu (Sami tent), or get a glimpse of reindeer husbandry. At winter nights, wonder at the northern lights dancing above your head.

The town of Karasjok, with its recognised Sami institutions and living Sami culture, is the Sami capital with almost 3,000 inhabitants… and some 60,000 reindeer. At The Sápmi Culture Park you can experience the Sami way of life. Here you can try Sami cuisine by the open fire, hear the traditional songs (the “joik”, one of Europe’s oldest surviving music traditions), and meet Sami people in colourful local costumes. The town also host the Sami parliament, shaped as a lavvu. 

Even though Karasjok is Sami Norway's indisputable capital, the neighbouring municipality, Kautokeino, have more Sami residents.

Most people here have Sami as their first language, and the area is officially bilingual. Nomadic reindeer herders have lived here for hundreds of years, and the traditional lifestyle is still very much alive. 

Go in spring to see the Sami Easter festival, or in summer to see the wildlife and thousands of fishing ponds and lakes, and the midnight sun. A little way out into the countryside with a prime view of the town you will find Juhls Silvergallery - an eye-catching building where you can buy traditional Sami silver and more modern designs. 

It shouldn’t be a surprise that mushing is popular both as a sport and a means to get around in the Land of the sami. If you come in winter, you should definitely try to experience a dogsled race or join an expedition. The beautiful, wild nature surroundings comes as part of the bargain.

People watching the northern lights at Kautokeino, Finnmark
Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
Sami man with reindeer outside lavvo, Finnmark
Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
Reindeer feeding, Kautokeino
Ørjan Bertelsen / www.nordnorge.com / Kautokeino
Traditional Sami cooking in Lavvo, Kautokeino
Ørjan Bertelsen / www.nordnorge.com / Kautokeino

Things to do

Getting here and around

By plane:
  • There are daily departures from Oslo to Alta Airport, which is the nearest major airport, although it’s also possible to fly to Lakselv. Alta Airport is a two hours drive from Kautokeino, and two and a half hours from Karasjok.
By road:
  • The few roads between places on the Finnmark plain are of a good standard and pose few problems.
  • There are only a few buses between places on the Finnmark plain, and all bus transportation must be planned carefully.
  • Travel time from Karasjok and Kautokeino is around two hours.

Northern lights forecast

Land of the Sami offers ...

There is no need to wait until you´re here to find out what you´d like to do.



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