With a river of the same name flowing through its heart, Kautokeino is both a village and municipality in Norway’s far north. Sprawling across more than 9,700 square kilometres of Arctic tundra, it is the largest municipality in Norway and one of the coldest places in the Nordic region. Kautokeino’s Sami culture is explored at the municipality’s open-air museum and reindeer herding is a significant industry in the region.
Things to do in Kautokeino
One of the most important architectural landmarks in Kautokeino is the red-hued Kautokeino Church, which was constructed from wood in 1958 based on the designs of Finn Bryn. It was built to replace an earlier church that was destroyed by the Germans during World War II and has the capacity to seat just over 270 people during weekly services.
On the opposite side of the Kautokeino River is the Kautokeino Bygdetun, an open-air museum that explores the local Sami culture. Featuring several reconstructed buildings from the early 20th century, it is located on the site of a former school and houses an engaging collection of indigenous artefacts, everyday tools and old photographs.
Want to pick up a locally made gift? Head to Juhls' Silvergallery, which was established in 1959 as Finnmark’s first silver workshop. Scandinavian-inspired jewellery is designed and made on-site by Regine Juhls, with many pieces reflecting the surrounding tundra environment. Handicrafts and artworks created by other local artists are also showcased in the space.
Getting around Kautokeino
Kautokeino is just under two hours’ drive from Alta Airport, which has flights to destinations across Norway. Tromsø is 5.5 hours away. Buses connect Kautokeino to towns and villages across northern Norway and the village centre is compact enough to explore on foot. Having your own vehicle is best for exploring the municipality.