During our awesome road trip around Finland with Tinggly, we spent some time in Finnish Lapland and found ourselves at the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine.
This was one of my favourite spots in all of Lapland, why you ask? Because I got to dig my own Amethyst! But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at some information about the mine and how you can experience this place for yourself.
Located in Pyhä Luosto, Lapland (which is close to Phyan Astelli, one of the awesome igloo style accommodations to see the Northern Lights!), the Lampivaara Amethyst mine is a working mine that gives visitors the opportunity to dig their very own Amethyst. If you don’t know what amethyst is, it’s the purple gemstone and very beautiful. Amethyst actually catches a pretty penny too!
The mine was formed millions of years ago and since the mine only uses traditional mining techniques (i.e mining with smaller tools and not industrial equipment), the amethyst is thought to last another 600 years, giving everyone an opportunity to mine their own amethyst!
You can visit the Lampivaara amethyst mine all year round, and we actually visited in the winter season. The place was filled with snow which we loved!
There are a couple of ways to get to the Amethyst mine, if you don’t have your own vehicle, then you can head on a tour with company by purchasing a combined entrance and transport ticket from the amethyst shop in the Luosto centre.
If you have a car, like Brad and I, then you can park at the Ukkolusoto parking lot and get your best walking shoes on. The mine is located within the Pyha-Luosto national park, so you’ll need to walk to it, (or ski!). It’s 2.5 km from the parking to the Lampivaara Cafe (which is the departure point for the mine tour and the place to purchase your tickets).
It says it takes around 45 minutes to walk from the parking to the cafe, but we did it in 30 (so I guess it depends on how quick you walk).
The walk isn’t uphill and easy for all fitness levels.
Tours depart on the hour and the Finnish are punctual! So, if you want to make the 12 oclock tour, then start your walk up at 11.
It costs 19 euro per adult and that price includes the tour, a hot drink, and covers the cost of the amethyst you will uncover.
You can pay by cash or card.
Open every day from the 1st june.
1.6- 15.8, tours run every hour from 11am to 5 pm
16.8- 30.9- tours run every hour from 11am to 4 pm
During October tours run Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm.
Upon arrival to the cafe, the group will gather and everyone will leave together on the tour on the hour. During our tour there were around 20 people. You walk up some steps to get to the entrance of the mine and present your ticket.
Actually, when you are heading up the steps, take some time to stop and admire the fantastic view that surrounds you.
Once you present your ticket, the group is split into two groups, the first group is for finnish speakers and the second for english. In our group there were only 4 of us and a lovely dog!
You start your tour by heading into a cosy little cabin where your tour guide will give you a run down about the history of the mine, and tell you all about the different types of amethyst that can be mined, and the pieces you should look out for when digging.
This is your chance to ask questions and enjoy the hot juice that’s given out during the talk.
After the chat, which lasts around 20 minutes, it’s time to head down to the mine and start digging. During the summer you dig at the outside mining area, but winter sees you dig in an “indoor” area, which is basically just gently covered to shield the wind. You should still try to wrap up warm!
You’ll be given small tools to dig with and you basically head to find a spot in the mine to start digging. You’ll have a little basket to collect anything you find.
It’s actually a lot of fun and quite challenging to tell the amethyst apart from just pretty rocks. Naturally it’s all dirty, so you can take your pieces to the side to get cleaned up and you’ll see if it’s amethyst or not. Some pieces you’ll see are clearly amethyst.
So Brad found a couple of really cool pieces and by this stage, I still couldn’t find anything, but I was having fun digging. Then as I was digging, I could see something kind of sparkle deep down, so I started digging around it and finally I pulled out a BIG bit of pure amethyst.
When digging, you’re allowed to keep one piece of amethyst as long as it fits in the palm of your hands when you close it. (Although if it’s a little bigger, the guide usually doesn't mind!)
Well, mine was so big, it didn't’ and my tour guide said I found a valuable piece and if I wanted to keep it, I’d have to pay a little extra…
I HAD to have it, so I paid 20 euros, for some amethyst that was worth around £200! I negotiated a deal and got to keep another piece of beautiful glass like amethyst I also found!
I can’t explain the thrill I had hunting for amethyst, especially when I saw the sparkle and knew I was digging for something good.
The guide showed us some of the really massive pieces of Amethyst that other tourists have uncovered (it made mine look tiny!). One set of tourists uncovered amethyst worth over 5,000! Naturally, they didn’t buy it...
After you’ve found your perfect amethyst and selected a piece to take home, it’s time to visit the gift shop where you can purchase “cleaned up” amethyst stones, jewellery with the gem stone and other pieces. A great spot if you’d like to pick up some unique christmas presents.
Then it’s time to say your goodbyes and begin the journey down the hill.
The tour itself takes around 1 hour and if you decide to hang around and get pictures then it might run a little longer. If you’ve got time, I suggest you have some lunch at the cosy cafe too. All in all, you need about 3 hours to get there, do the tour and get back!
Remember, if visiting in winter, you lose light quicker, so go for an earlier tour.
I absolutely loved the tour of the Amethyst mine in Finland. I’d never done anything like that before, so it was super unique. Now when I’m home, I’ve got my beautifully hand mined piece of amethyst sitting proudly on display and it’s a wonderful reminder of a fantastic day in Lapland.
This is a great excursion for families, friends and couples. Basically anyone can have fun mining their own amethyst!
If you’re super organised, you can book yourself a tour to the mine ahead of time and some of my favourite choices are listed below.
If visiting from Rovaniemi, then head with this tour.
Winter amethyst mine tour book here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’ve got any other questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment.