Surrounded by Arctic nature, this town lies amid the fascinating land of the northernmost indigenous group in all of Europe.
Kautokeino or Guovdageaidnu (in the indigenous Northern Sami language) is a municipality of Finnmark, in northern Norway, on the Scandinavian Peninsula. Enjoy a beautiful region where you can participate in many exciting activities, including dog sledding and skiing. Discover the rich cultural heritage of the Sami, the indigenous people living farther north than any other group on the continent.
The indigenous name Guovdageaidnu means halfway, as the town is located between two long-established migration points in the area. The official name was Kautokeino until it was changed to Guovdageaidnu-Kautokeino in 1987, becoming the first municipality in Norway to have a Sami name. Since 2005 both names are used, either Kautokeino or Guovdageaidnu.
Explore the town that strongly reflects the Sami peoples’ history and culture. Look for the coat of arms with a gold lavvu, the traditional shelter used by the indigenous. It is similar to a tepee, but far more resistant to strong winds.
The neighboring town of Karasjok is the Sami capital where more Sami locals live than in Kautokeino. See the beautiful landscape of the Sami region, with amazing wildlife and numerous fishing ponds. Discover its many natural wonders, such as the northern lights and the midnight sun. Stop at Juhls’ Silvergallery, an art gallery in a distinctive building about 2 miles (3 kilometers) outside Kautokeino’s town center. Here find traditional Sami silver and other handmade Scandinavian art pieces and designs that you can buy as souvenirs of this fascinating region.
While you are visiting Kautokeino, experience some of the exciting activities in the area. Go skiing on the Finnmark plain, join an expedition, camp in a lavvu and enjoy mushing, which involves dog sledding and racing. Mushing is very popular in Kautokeino, both as a sport and a method of transportation powered by dogs.
Find the popular Kautokeino Kirke. The church was designed by the Norwegian architect Finn Bryn and built in 1958. It’s a lovely wooden red building that seats about 300 people.