Hetta is a relatively small village set on the bank of Lake Ounasjarvi. Although home to only a few hundred people, Hetta is the administrative centre of the sparsely-populated Enontekio municipality. About one fifth of the village’s inhabitants are Sami – the indigenous people of Lapland. Much of the village life and culture revolves around the reindeer herding seasons and many locals are engaged in reindeer husbandry.
Hetta overlooks Lake Ounasjarvi – only one of Finland’s 188,000 lakes. The lake freezes over during the winter months, making it an ideal place for snowmobile safaris, or simply wandering onto to gaze up at the Northern Lights during the dark hours. On the other side of the lake is Pallas National Park. Pallas is the third largest national park in Finland, covering over 1,020 square kilometres. It is a protected area and there is an abundance of Arctic wildlife which you may come across: the arctic hare, the arctic fox, and a myriad of bird species. Sightings of brown bear have also been noted in years gone by, but such sightings are uncommon. There are 14 nature trails through the park and these are not very demanding; information boards are scattered along the routes.
The village has seen an increase in tourism over recent years, thanks to its attractions in wilderness locations. Hetta Hiihtomaa is the area’s home of winter sports. It is possible to snowshoe, snowboard and cross-country ski here. There are two illuminated ski slopes (one red and one blue) which are perfect for families and beginners. Amongst the other attractions that Hetta has to offer visitors is the Sami museum, which exhibits a host of artefacts and presentations detailing the history of the Sami people in this region. The Sami are the semi-nomadic indigenous people who are still heavily involved with reindeer husbandry. Hetta also has a snow castle which is built anew each year. The rooms are made of ‘snice’ (a mixture of ice and snow) and decorated with elaborate ice sculptures – there is even an ice bar in which to enjoy a tipple!
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