In 1868 the remote area of Tankavaara on the Ivalojoki, 32km south of Saariselkä, experienced a gold rush, with a community of up to 500 panners seeking their fortune. The story is related in this museum, which also covers gold production around the world. A cubic metre of sand is on display, along with the sobering 2g of gold it normally contains here. In summer try your luck and pan for gold. There's an original smoke sauna and octagonal hut.

You'll also see replica buildings from American goldfields; rockhounds will enjoy the gemstone and mineral exhibition. Nature trails lead out from the neighbouring nature centre. The atmospheric cafe Wanha Waskoolimies has Lappish dishes, a saloon, and rooms and cabins.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Saariselkä attractions

1. Tankavaara Nature Centre


Next door to Tankavaara's gold-panning museum, Kultamuseo, this nature centre has advice on activities and trekking in Urho Kekkonen National Park. Good…