Sodankylä is the main service centre for one of Europe’s least populated areas, with a density of just 0.75 people per square kilometre. It’s at the junction of Lapland's two main highways and makes a decent staging post between Rovaniemi and the north; even if you’re just passing through, stop to see the humble but exquisite wooden church Vanha Kirkko. A contrast is provided by the high-tech observatory Aurora House just outside town, an important collection point for data on the atmosphere and the aurora borealis.