A Cozy Stay at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä (My Review)

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Saariselkä is one of Northern Finland’s most popular resort towns – it offers adventure, snowy landscapes (well, in winter), and the magical northern lights.

This guide details and reviews my stay at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä, one of the most iconic glass igloo hotels in the area. 

I will tell you why I booked a night at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä and whether or not I think you should too. I will also explain how to book your own stay if you think this is the perfect hotel for you!

My stay at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä (a review)
My stay at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä (my review)

Let me preface this post by stating that I went there in autumn. I tend to do most of my northern lights trips and hotel stays in autumn because it is the best season for the northern lights and it is far easier (and cheaper!) to find accommodation then.

But, like any property in Finland, each season has its perks!

Northern Lights Village Saariselka review
Northern Lights Village Saariselka review

Let me know if you have any questions about my stay in the comments. Thanks!

About the Northern Lights Village in Saariselkä

The Northern Lights Village in Saariselkä is much more than a place to sleep; as they state on their website, they specialize in offering immersive Arctic experiences with their glass igloos and portfolio of tour options.

Not only do they offer unique accommodation and bucket list tours, but they also offer a buffet and a la carte restaurant with some extremely delicious food.

Fog at the Northern Lights Village Saariselka
I woke up to fog after a clear night!

One thing that I found special about the Saariselkä Northern Lights Village is that they offer packages to guests. While you can book activities on the spot, you can actually see what kind of offers they have directly on their website.

Usually, they include an extended stay and you will have the chance to do a few tours during that time. I do find that this is still a pricy option, even if it offers ‘specials’. The high season in Finland is no joke!

The Saariselkä resort was opened in 2016 and managed by Markku Inkilä and Susanna Inkilä (husband and wife).

Aurora slowly coming out in Saariselka
Aurora slowly coming out in Saariselka

One thing that I think makes the Northern Lights Village unique is that Markku has been passionate about northern lights photography for years and has had his photos published in various media outlets around the world.

Why is this special? I think it proves the point that he knows how to see the aurora and the resort (and its tours!) reflect that perfectly.

The igloo part faces the north skies
The igloo part faces the northern skies

The property has energy generated sustainably (with geothermal heat pumps) and the igloos are absolutely cozy.

Why I Booked a Stay at Northern Lights Village in Saariselkä (& How You Can, Too!)

I own a place in Rovaniemi, but there is nothing I love more than a ‘semi-local’ staycation.

And Saariselkä never disappoints. It is quiet and beautiful, while still having enough for me to do so that I don’t get bored easily (my way of saying ‘I eat’).

Quiet lobby during the off-season
Quiet lobby during the off-season

There is also something so special about staying in glass igloos during the low season.

Autumn gives the best chance to see the northern lights, and the place is so much quieter.

Autumn aurora in Saariselka
Autumn aurora in Saariselka

While not all activities are available, I knew I could keep myself occupied at the resort, and I would still be able to assess whether or not the northern lights would be visible from the property (in this case, they were easy to see as the light pollution is low).

I am sure I will make it back in the winter, but I will likely wait until February or March instead of the super busy season in December.

Highlights of My Stay at Saariselkä’s Northern Lights Village


I absolutely loved my cabin at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä. The interior was modern and cozy at the same time. The bathroom was warm and had Rituals hand soaps and shower products (always a plus).

Inside the accommodation, there was a mini-fridge (with a mini-bar). Like most mini-bars, the food and drinks inside are not free, but they are fairly affordable, as I had to pay for a few the following day.

Inside my glass igloo during the day
Inside my glass igloo during the day

The roof of the glass cabin is heated with a laser, and it is open toward the north (perfect for aurora viewing).

They also have tea and coffee, a hairdryer, free wifi, and hot water in the cabins that run for 10–15 minutes at a time (this is standard in glass igloos in Finland).

BOOK HERE: Northern Lights Village Saariselkä

And I know this may not be important to some people, but I love that the check-out time is noon at the Northern Lights Village. This gives you plenty of time to eat breakfast and come back and freshen up before leaving.

While you are not permitted to park in front of your glass igloo, you can drive up to it and drop your things off at the cabin.

You can drive right up to drop things off - or staff will help.
You can drive right up to drop things off – or staff will help.

There is a large parking lot you can return your vehicle to after.

Northern Lights Village Saariselkä in Winter

This property is one of the best to stay at if you want to see the aurora. I have stayed at around ten or more northern lights hotels in Finland, and this is easily one of the top.

There is little light pollution in the area and on the property. The only time I found it a struggle is when you exit the front door of your igloo, a light will come on momentarily (but shorter than other properties I have stayed at).

Photo from Northern Lights Village Saariselka
Photo courtesy of Expedia

The heater for the glass roof also ensures that your roof stays ice- or snow-free, allowing you to see the aurora from inside the cabin.

I will state now that seeing the aurora while lying in bed is not easy.

And I don’t like it when places promote that as a possibility because guests usually don’t understand that the aurora is not what you see in photos with the naked eye.

📸 GOOD TO KNOW: The photos I took for this guide were taken with a Sony a7iii and a long exposure on a 20mm lens. The aurora will not appear like this to the naked eye. You will likely not see an aurora like this while lying in bed. Sorry.

But if there is a place where you have the most chance to see the aurora from inside the cabin, it is most definitely Northern Lights Village Saariselkä.

If you’re visiting during the winter months, there are plenty of activities available at the resort.

Photo courtesy of Expedia
Photo courtesy of Expedia

You can go husky sledding, head east on a northern lights safari, feed reindeer, and more! They also have plenty of things to do on-site (like sauna opportunities).

Northern Lights Village Saariselkä in the Low Season

This place is calm and chill during the low season. Fall presented itself with incredible northern lights and very few people. Prices are also significantly cheaper!

I will say that this hotel has some of the best ‘low-season’ food of any I have stayed in. The breakfast was fantastic, as was the buffet dinner that was included in the price of my stay.

Inside the restaurant at the hotel
Inside the restaurant at the hotel

Another perk of staying there is that they offer experiences in every season, not just winter. You will find the following:

  • Autumn: husky safari (will be with a cart), northern lights safari, hiking in a national park, campfire by the lake, fat bike safaris, gold panning, and more.
  • Summer: hiking with huskies, fat biking, a day trip to Nellim (learning about Sami culture), Inari day trip, gold panning, midnight sun photo safari, and more.
  • Spring: many are the same as winter since the winters are rather long in Lapland.

Restaurant at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä

Northern Lights Village’s restaurant was delicious, spacious, and a great place to relax in the evenings (I had wine with a lovely couple from Florida there!).

They offered a buffet that had everything from meat to vegetarian options on it. Plenty of desserts were put out, and I really can’t say enough good things about it. It was simply delicious!

Part of the dinner buffet at the Northern Lights Village
Part of the dinner buffet at the Northern Lights Village

The restaurant is open to the public and not just overnight guests, but they do recommend you book ahead of time during the high season. You can book online here or give them a call at +358164691200.

How to Get to Northern Lights Village Saariselkä from Ivalo Airport

Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I will just link to their page with all of the transportation information (including an airport pickup if you need one). 

Where you'll turn to get to the village
Where you’ll turn to get to the village

I drove there from Rovaniemi in my rental car, so I never flew into Ivalo Airport, which is the closest airport to the hotel.

Going to Levi or Rovaniemi instead?

One of the best things about Northern Lights Village Saariselkä is that they have sister properties in other places around Finland (Lapland)! 

They have a property in Levi and one in Pyhä (a little over an hour from the Rovaniemi area). They are similarly built (I have not been to Pyhä yet but I did stop by the one in Levi even though it was not open for the season yet).

Northern Lights Village Levi
Northern Lights Village Levi
Northern Lights Village Levi
The cabins in Levi

Both are built in areas that do not have a lot of light pollution and will be good for aurora viewing!

Do you have any questions about booking a stay at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä? Let me know in the comments!

More Lapland Travel Guides

** Some of the photos above are courtesy of Expedia


3 thoughts on “A Cozy Stay at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä (My Review)

  1. Jennie says:

    Thanks for your very helpful review. We will be travelling with young children in Dec/Jan and are looking to go further north for 5 nights after a few days in Rovaniemi. We really wanted to stay ant NLV Saariselka after reading your review but can only get 2 nights here. We are torn between taking the two nights and then staying for the other 3 at Kakslautenen/Inari or rather going to Levi after Rovaniemi and spending 5 nights in the Northern lights Village there, as they do have availability.

    Do you have any insights as to what would be the best option- Levi or Saariselka?

    Our great dream is to see the aurora, although we realise this is luck, especially in Dec/Jan.

    Thanks so much! Your blog is a wealth of information for prospective Lapland travellers!

  2. Laurissa Nesbitt says:

    Hey, me and my fiancé are looking for a 3 night package for the glass igloos . Did you have a shower in your one ? And did you stay in East or west village ?

    • Megan Starr says:

      Hi Laurissa! Sorry for the delayed reply! I have no idea which village I stayed in – didn’t even know there were two different ones. I did have a shower in mine and assumed all did. The bathroom was a decent size!

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