The Teno River, which runs through the municipality of Utsjoki, is significant in many ways. It separates not only Norway and Finland, but also the northernmost EU areas. To the inhabitants of the region the Teno River has never been a separating factor -- on the contrary, it has been a joining factor. The Sámi have never bowed to borders between countries. The Teno has always served as an extremely important fairway, making trade possible and the Arctic Ocean accessible.
The Teno River Valley has been inhabited for thousands of years. The first signs of human presence are from immediately after the Ice Age. Fishing and small-scale cattle herding marked the later culture of the Teno River Valley. Even today, the Teno salmon is of great importance to the inhabitants of the region both as a source of nutrition as well as for additional income. Many of the area`s inhabitants get their income especially from salmon-fishing tourism, which does not seem to be decreasing in popularity. The annual catch of Teno salmon has been counted as up to tens of thousands of kilograms.
The area is abundant in small companies specialised in rowing, sale of fishing permits and boat rental. In addition, numerous different places of accommodation, camping areas and rental cottages can be found. Most of the entrepreneurs in the area are Sámi. Salmon-fishing tourism also brings income to other companies in the area; stores, kiosks and hand-craftsmen benefit form the annual arrival of visitors.
The landscape of the Teno region is very varying with high mountainous highlands, lush riverbank meadows, dense mountain birch forests, pure mountain lakes and a large number of crystalline streams and rivers. An asphalt road follows the river along both sides -- small idyllic villages are situated next to the road and the river.
In the Teno River Valley, one can experience the vastness of the mind and the landscape, the excitement of salmon-fishing and original Sámi culture as well as meet friendly local people, from whom one can learn a great deal.
The Unique Fjords of the Sámi Country
The unique fjords of the Sámi Country can be found across the Norwegian border. Norway is famous for its beautiful fjords, of which many are situated in the Troms or Finnmark (Ruija) municipalities. In these northern regions, it is possible to take a fishing excursion to the sea, go on a whale safari, or just enjoy how beautifully the rugged mountains reflect on the glassy surface of the water.
In Tysfjord, situated in the Nordland municipality, killer whale safaris are organised. Killer whales follow the herring, which they use as nutrition, to the fjord. The whales stay in the fjords from October to January. Whale safaris are organised throughout this entire period.
Kåfjord is a Sea Sámi municipality in the northern Troms area, which is well known for its beautiful nature and good fishing conditions. Every midsummer, many fishing competitions are organised, and the Sámi festival Riddu Riddu lures a great deal of people to the municipality.
Alta is the most highly populated municipality of the Ruija Province; rich in cultural sights, Alta is also situated on the shore of a fjord. The most significant tourist attraction is the Alta River and its canyon, which is the biggest in northern Europe.