A Unique Experience in Torne Valley

Welcome to Kukkolaforsen

nestled along the Torne River at the border between Sweden and Finland. A quaint village in the Torne Valley, Kukkolaforsen boasts its distinctive culture and language, Meänkieli. Its breathtaking setting offers a genuine cultural milieu, showcasing fishing huts, fish-drying sheds, a fishing museum, and water-driven mills. Our essence lies in the riverside accommodations, vibrant sauna rituals, culinary traditions, and the esteemed fishing practices. Come, embrace this unique tapestry of experiences with us.

Explore the Richness of Our Culture!

Torne Valley, stretching across northern Sweden and western Finland, epitomizes a rich historical tapestry marked by its proximity to the Torne River. This waterway serves as a natural boundary between these countries, fostering a vibrant history of trade and cultural exchange between the east and west. This region presents a diverse natural canvas with rivers, forests, and mountains, celebrated for its pristine and unspoiled beauty, appealing to nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Cities like Haparanda in Sweden and Tornio in Finland share a common heritage and signify cross-border cooperation, defining the essence of the Torne Valley’s unique cultural identity rooted in its geographical and cross-border character.

Minority Languages

Language is a bridge that spans cultures and histories, and in Tornedalen, it takes on a vibrant form known as Meänkieli or Tornedal Finnish. This language is not just a blend of Swedish and Finnish influences; it’s a living testament to the rich tapestry of our shared past. Imagine the melodies of everyday conversations, the poetry of songs, and the echoes of tradition—all woven into the fabric of Meänkieli.

Born from the ancient roots of Finnish, Meänkieli thrives in the unique crucible where Swedish and Finnish legacies converge. It’s a linguistic artwork, colored by the nuances of both cultures yet sculpted into its own distinctive form. In the everyday rhythms of life, in the harmonies of melodies sung, Meänkieli breathes life into the cultural legacy of Tornedalen.

This language isn’t just a means of communication; it’s a testament to our resilience, a living archive of our shared experiences. From the bustling streets to the serene melodies of traditional songs, Meänkieli weaves a story—a story that resonates with the soul of Tornedalen.

It’s not just about preserving Meänkieli; it’s about nurturing it, watching it flourish and evolve. It’s the celebration of diversity, the recognition of our collective heritage. Embracing and cherishing Meänkieli is not merely a duty; it’s a celebration of the vibrant mosaic that is the cultural identity of Tornedalen.


Tornedalen’s Terroir

Terroir, initially a term in winemaking, denotes the unique interaction among climate, soil, topography, and human techniques impacting cultivation and product quality in a specific region. Tornedalen’s terroir refers to the specific geographic and climatic conditions influencing food and other produce cultivation and production here. Tornedalen is defined by its distinct natural setting, including proximity to the Torne River, the presence of forests, and mountains. The Arctic climate, characterized by cold winters and relatively short summers with midnight sun, dictates suitable crops and successful farming practices. Soil composition variations across Tornedalen affect plant nutrients and flavor profiles. Human methods and local traditions in agriculture and food production also play a vital role, contributing to Tornedalen’s terroir.

The Border

It’s remarkably close to the other side, sometimes no more than a stone’s throw, occasionally shallow enough to wade across the shallows during low tide. Yet, on the other side of the Torne River lies another country: Finland, which for over a century belonged to Russia. The borderland in Tornedalen is often described as the world’s most peaceful. Nonetheless, its history is equally dramatic. Presently, it’s a relief that tranquility has long settled over the region.

The early 1800s were tumultuous in Europe. France led by Napoleon, allied with Russia, was at odds with England, supported by Sweden/Finland. It became too much for the Russians, who invaded Finland, marking the commencement of the 1808-1809 war. The entirety of Finland and the northern Swedish coastal region, down to Umeå, was occupied by Russian forces. Eventually, when peace was negotiated in Fredrikshamn and Sweden lost Finland to Russia, the new border delineation had devastating consequences, particularly in Tornedalen.

There was a long-standing dispute over the border’s location, with the final choice between the Kalix and Kemi rivers. Eventually, the border was drawn at the Torne River, with the decision for the city of Tornio to lie east of the border. In an instant, life was changed for the people of Tornedalen. The river, which had bound villages and families for centuries, now marked a border dividing the region into two parts. While the border was open with free passage, the inhabitants had ample time to choose which side to reside on. Even then, discussions hailed it as the world’s most peaceful border.

Kukkolatapas served

The way we eat

In Kukkola, on both sides of the border, they’ve been grilling whitefish for a long time, but exactly how long is unknown. It’s claimed that whitefish has been grilled here for 1000 years. In Olau Magnus’ “Carta Marina,” there are engravings depicting wood that looks like grilled whitefish from Torne Vally. Olau Magnus made his journey in the 1500s, and regardless of how old the tradition of grilling fish is, we are extremely proud to still be able to do it and to preserve the art of grilling whitefish. In the video above, you can learn how we prepare grilled whitefish here in Kukkola!

The Village of Kukkola

Kukkola is a slender village beside the Torne River, known for its beautiful and pristine natural environment. Kukkola and the area around Kukkolaforsen have a lengthy history, being a central place in people’s lives and livelihoods for centuries. Historically, the river’s powerful currents were utilized to power mills and other establishments. Salmon and whitefish fishing form a crucial part of the village’s history and present. People from both Sweden and Finland gather at Kukkolaforsen, particularly during the fish’s spawning season, to participate in traditional bag net fishing. Kukkola is where local traditions and culture are recognized and preserved. Various cultural events and festivals take place here. As the village lies near the border between Sweden and Finland, Kukkola symbolizes cross-border cooperation and community. People from both sides of the border converge here to share common traditions and relish the unique atmosphere at Kukkolaforsen.



The narrative of Torne Valley and Kukkola intertwines closely with the story of fishing. The abundant, mighty river has been and remains an integral part of life and sustenance. The iconic tar-coated rapid-boats and unique catch methods with long-handled bag nets are crafted based on local conditions. Essentially, the entire area surrounding Kukkolaforsen resembles an open-air museum deeply connected to the river. The grand fishing patan boldly stepping into the turbulent rapids, with fearless netters precariously navigating the wooden structure, dominates the scenery from the shore during summertime. This timeless sight has persisted here for ages.

The bag net fishing from the wooden constructions called Pata, stretching out into the River, has been meticulously regulated since the time of Gustav III in the 1700s. In the past, Salmon was the most significant catch, but today, it’s the Whitefish that’s closely associated with Kukkolaforsen. However, there’s also an abundance of grayling, trout, pike, and perch. Not to forget the “Nätting”, or the river lamprey as it’s known, a small ancient creature thriving at the river’s bed. Read more –>

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Huskie dog on the run


Kukkolaforsen offers diverse seasonal activities, blending adventure, knowledge, and personalized engagement for all ages.


Experience tranquility by the Torne River! Choose from our varied lodgings—hotel rooms, cottage apartments, or suites—all boasting stunning river views. Sauna access included, embracing the essence of Torne Valley's nature, ambiance, and culture.

Riverside Restaurant

Indulge in our Riverside Restaurant's culinary fusion! From local flavors to global influences, experience diverse menus amid Torne Valley's stunning vistas.