Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki, Exploring Finland

Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki – Exploring Finland

Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki is the westernmost point of the mainland of Finland. It is also the northernmost border tripoint in the world. Here in the remote part of the Nordics, within the Arctic, the borders between Finland, Norway, and Sweden meet. In English this is the “landmark of the Three Kingdoms”, referring to the previous border tripoint between the monarchies Norway, Sweden, and Russia. Finland might be a republic today, but it used to be a part of Russia. The site’s name in Swedish, Treriksröset, and Norwegian, Treriksrøysa, also refers to the Three Kingdoms. The usual English translation is the Three-Country Cairn. Today the name is equal to the yellow-painted concrete monument in Lake Koltajärvi.

A Short History of Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki

It was in the 1750s that the border between Norway and Sweden began to be marked by cairns, which are piles of stones. The whole border was marked by the year 1766. Lake Koltajärvi was at the time just a place along the long border. That changed in 1809 when Sweden lost its eastern half to Russia.

When the new border between Sweden and Russia was marked up with cairns in the northern and southern parts, the tripoint was located at Kuokimmuodka. It was not until 1901 that the current location, 150 meters west of Kuokimmuodka, was identified and a new border cairn was created to mark the tripoint. The cairn was replaced by a concrete structure in 1926.

It was with the independence of Finland in 1917 that the border tripoint became the meeting point of Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

Things to Do and See

The main attraction at Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki is the border tripoint itself. The yellow concrete structure in the lake is surrounded by a metal platform, making it possible to walk around the tripoint and visit the three countries within just a few seconds. The steel platform also gives a great view across Lake Koltajärvi towards the mountains of Norway.

There is, however, more to see in the area around Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki. There are several hiking trails here. Some of these hiking trails stretch far into the Arctic.

How to Get to Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki

Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki might be located in a remote area of the Nordics, but even inexperienced hikers can reach it. The most common starting point is the village of Kilpisjärvi in Finland. You can go on a long hike across the Malla Nature Reserve. That hike is around 11 kilometers, one way. The second option is to take one of the small ferries across the lake to the harbor of Koltaluokta. This is on the Swedish side of the lake and from here it is only about 3 kilometers to the Kolmen Valtakunnan Rajapyykki. The small ferry gives you about 2 hours to hike to the tripoint and back before returning to Kilpisjärvi. There are more options during the winter when the area is accessible by skiing and snowmobile.

  • Flights: There are several airports in the area, but none is near. In Norway, there is Tromsø Airport (TOS), in Finland Enontekiö Airport (ENF), and Kiruna Airport (KRN) in Sweden.
  • Car: The closest accessible road is in Kilpisjärvi on the Finnish side of the border. It is the E8 that goes through the village on its way from Tromsø in the north and then south through Finland.

The driving distance to nearby Kilpisjärvi from 5 major Finnish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Helsinki – 1194 kilometers (13 h 20 min)
  • Turku – 1234 kilometers (14 h)
  • Vaasa – 906 kilometers (10 h 50 min)
  • Oulu – 588 kilometers (7 h 10 min)
  • Joensuu – 973 kilometers (11 h 20 min)

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