On the north side of Luosto fell there is the cutest little coffee house, Torvisen maja. I highly recommend visiting the cafe, not only for its delicious freshly baked doughnuts and pies but also for the incredible atmosphere, oozing authenticity and olden days.
How to get there?
I ended up visiting Torvisen maja as a pit stop on my skiing trip in December. The cross-country skiing tracks around Luosto are fabulous and versatile, by the way. Luosto fell is part of Pyhä-Luosto National Park in eastern Lapland. If travelling from abroad, the nearest airport is Rovaniemi. There are busses from Rovaniemi, as well as from other directions. As for me, I left my cabin with skis 6 km away, skied pass Luosto “centre” and towards the north side of the largest fell. There, you cannot miss the place.
Resting haven for 60 years
At doorstep you already start feeling it. The warmth of the fireplace and dim light of candles embrace you. There are colourful rugs as tablecloths and traditional decorations from the olden days. This cafe has served tired and hungry skiers and wanderers since 1957!
Torvisen maja was founded by Torvinen village association as a wilderness hostel. One could stop here on a hiking or skiing trip and get a cosy sleeping space from upstairs, for a small fee. During the decades the cottage has served also as an open wilderness hut, and for the past 30 years actively as a cafe.
And imagine, there is still no electricity nor running water. But just that is a big part of the charm.
Exceptional atmosphere and versatile menu
Today the cafe keepers are Maria Heikkilä and Toni Vaarala. They are very open and welcoming to all visitors from near and far, they chat with customers and tell stories about the cottage’s past. Meanwhile there is a fresh pot of coffee brewing and dough waiting to be turned into doughnut, or “munkki” as we say, on gas stove. Positive feedback from customers has been nearly overwhelming (we Finns do not accept compliments easily).
Indeed, a senior skier sipping coffee in the next table states Torvisen maja is the most atmospheric cafe he has ever visited, and he has been to many.
Maria and Toni emphasise they have a menu that is different every day but always contains fresh and home made goods.
I had a hard time deciding on my order as this was the Menu du Jour:
– reindeer-lingonberry pie
– lingonberry-fudge pie
– warm doughnuts, “munkki”
– pancakes (savoury and sweet)
– salmon sandwich
– tasting plate including reindeer salami, bear paté, reindeer liver, salmon and whitefish roe
Torvisen maja is open from Autumn until late spring, however long there is snow to be skied. The busiest time for the cafe is from February skiing holidays onwards until Easter.