Wildlife and Hiking in East Finland

Wildlife and Hiking in East Finland– Finland –8 days / 7 nights, Kuopio - Kuhmo - Juntusranta - Kuusamo - Oulanka National Park - Ruka - Korouoma Nature Reserve - Arctic Circle - RovaniemiThis self-drive itinerary takes you through the sparsely populated taiga forests of north-east Finland. There are three national parks and two national hike areas with hiking, canoeing and fishing. Close to the Russian border you can join in bear or wolverine observation tours with a chance to watch and photograph the animals safely. Accommodation varies from hotel rooms to apartments and cozy cabins. Enjoy local delicacies and genuine Finnish sauna.

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Operation May 1 - September 30, 2015
Departure Daily, May 1 - September 30, 2015
Price from $975 per person in double room
Included 7 nights accommodation:
Days 1, 2 and 4 in an apartment
Day 3 in a hotel room
Days 5, 6 and 7 in cabins for 2 - 4 persons
Breakfast daily
Dinner days 1 - 6
Sauna every night except on day 4
Welcome Package: travel documentation including personalized maps,
itinerary and driving directions
Car rental class B (Skoda Fabia or similar), 8 days (192 hours)
Pick up Kuopio airport / drop-off airport of Rovaniemi
Not Included International airfare & Airport taxes
Flight Helsinki-Kuopio / Rovaniemi-Helsinki by Finnair
Lunches and drinks
Dinner on day 7
Entrance fees or any other services
Activities
Fuel charges & GPS
Personal insurance / personal items
$25 Service fee
Please Note Minimum of 2 persons
The minimum age to rent a vehicle is 25 years and drivers must have held a driving licence for at least 12 months prior to hiring the car.
Payment by voucher, but the client must guarantee with own credit card when picking up car.
Tour Options Additional nights in Helsinki
Silja Line Cruise, Helsinki - Stockholm
Silja Line Turku - Stockholm
More Information Driving in Finland

Contact us to book today!

Day 1 ARRIVAL AT KUOPIO - METSÄKARTANO (80 mi) (D) Arrival at Kuopio airport and pick up rental car. If you arrive on an early flight you can visit the city of Kuopio which is full of life especially in summer. The city, in the centre of the Savo region, is famous for its marketplace, harbour and cheerful people. At the market you can taste the local speciality, "kalakukko", a Finnish fish pie. The symbol of the city is the Puijo tower from where you can admire beautiful views over lake Kallavesi. For the first night you will drive to Metsäkartano mansion situated in a tranquil spot. Dinner and possibility of a sauna. Overnight at the Metsäkartano Mansion.

Day 2 METSÄRTANO - NATIONAL PARK (B, D) Breakfast at the hotel. Today you can choose between two national parks which are both within easy reach of Metsäkartano. Tiilikkajärvi National Park offers quite easy routes, beautiful lakeside scenery and beaches. By contrast, the scenery at Hiidenportti National Park is quite rugged; trails include more hills and are a bit more demanding.

The heart of Hiidenportti National Park is the majestic Hiidenportti Gorge with its vertical rock walls. Both national parks have some good hiking trails for a few hours' tours. Remember to bring a picnic lunch with you since there are no opportunities to purchase food in the parks. Dinner and overnight at the Metsäkartano Mansion.
Recommended walks: Hiidenkierros 3-5 km, Kitulankierros 10,5 km, Uiton kierto 7 km

Day 3 WILDLIFE WATCHING - KUHMO (65 mi) (B, D) Breakfast at the hotel. Time to say goodbye to Metsäkartano and head via Nurmes in Karelia to Kuhmo. In Nurmes you can visit the Karelian Bomba House and the Karelian village around it. Bomba House is a good place to enjoy lunch. Midway, in the middle of the wild taiga, is a company organizing wildlife watching tours (not included). During these tours you can observe some interesting native Finnish animals, such as beavers. You can participate in a safari, at an extra cost, but this must be booked before departure.

By the end of the day you'll arrive at Kuhmo which is a small village where you can see the Finnish national epic Kalevala reflected in the architecture, events, research, museums and the food. You can learn more about Kalevala and Karelian culture at the Kalevala Information Centre Juminkeko. If you visit Kuhmo during the last two weeks of July - you won't be alone! At that time of year Kuhmo is full of guests enjoying the annual Chamber Music Festival which is famous and appreciated throughout the world.

Kalevala Hotel

Day 4 BROWN BEARS - JUNTUSRANTA (105 mi) (B, D) After breakfast you will have the opportunity to visit Petola Visitor Centre which is an information centre on Finland's large carnivores - bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. From Kuhmo the route goes north through some very sparsely populated areas following the Russian border. You'll pass through the beautiful village of Lentiira and cross the road leading to Kostamus and to the international frontier crossing point of Vartius.

Some 25 km south of Suomussalmi is the historical area of Raate where several battles took place during the Second World War. In Raate it is possible to visit the Winter War exhibition and the Raate Frontier Guard Museum (not included). Your accommodation for the next night will be in the tiny village of Juntusranta just beside the Russian border. Arola, Helena and Eero's former dairy farm, is well-known for its delicious local food. The farm is surrounded by remote woodland inhabited by European brown bears. In the evening you can take part in a bear safari (not included) and observe these majestic animals from the purpose-built log cabins.
Recommended walks: Petola nature trail 0,5 km

Day 5 HIKING IN HOSSA - KUUSAMO (85 mi) (B, D) Breakfast at the hotel. Continuing north you will arrive at Hossa which is a national hiking area known for its crystal-clear lakes and handsome pine heathlands. The area offers great opportunities for hiking, canoeing and fishing. A good destination for a day hiking trip may be Värikalliot, the oldest rock paintings in northern Finland dating back some 4000 years. In Hossa you can also visit a reindeer park (not included) and get to know the semi-wild animals inhabiting the northern area of Finland better. You can try your skills at lassoing reindeer or just pet and feed them.

Your final destination today is Kuusamo, which is one of the most important tourist destinations in Finland, thanks to its magnificent nature and the vast range of activities available throughout the year. Before settling down for the night at the cosy Ollila Holiday Cottages you could, for example, pop into the Tourist and Nature Centre Karhuntassu and visit a nature photography centre there. Overnight in the Ollila Holiday Cottages, or similar.
Recommended walks: Värikallio trail 8 km, Huosiusjärvi circle trail 7,5 km, Hossa nature trail 3 km

Ollila Holiday Cottages

Day 6 KUUSAMO (B, D) Breakfast at the hotel. Today you may head to Oulanka National Park or to Ruka which is one of the most popular skiing resort in Finland. The landscape of Oulanka National Park is made up of pine forests; river valleys with sandy banks and rapids; and, in the north, vast marshes. The area is rich in animal and plant species. Hikers can get a general picture of the park's nature even on daytrips. There are several routes available but one very nice (though very demanding) one is the Small Bear's Trail starting from the village of Juuma.

Departing from Oulanka Visitor centre you can visit the Kiutaköngäs rapids which are some of the biggest rapids in Finland. Many safari companies organize river rafting in Oulanka National Park varying from easy family tours to speedy tours that will make your heart race! At Ruka you can climb up to some of the hills and admire the beautiful views over forests and lakes. An easier way to get to the top is the Ruka Lookout Lift that takes you up to the hill (not included). If you are brave enough, you can descend on a speedy summer sled! Activities in the area are canoe trips, quad safaris, mountain biking and Nordic walking tours. The night is spent again at Ollila Holiday Cottages.
Recommended walks: Small Bear's Trail 12 km, Valtavaara nature trail 8 km, Hiidenlampi nature trail 5 km
Recommended canoeing route: Oulanka canoeing route 7-23 km

Ollila Holiday Cottages

Day 7 ARCTIC CIRCLE - ROVANIEMI (130 mi) (B) This will be your last and longest day of travelling, ending at Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. If you are still willing to do some hiking you can easily visit either Riisitunturi National Park or Korouoma Nature Reserve which both offer the opportunity of some nice daytrips, though there are no circular routes available. Both destinations have their characteristics and especially the 30-km-long fracture valley in Korouoma is very special.

If you take the longer, the southern route from Posio to Rovaniemi, you will have a chance to visit a Wildlife Park situated in Ranua (not included). There are about 50 species of arctic and northern wild animals at Ranua Zoo, including bears, the only polar bears in Finland, lynxes, wolves, wolverines, moose and many more.

The city of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, offers plenty to do. Santa Claus' Village on the Arctic Circle takes you to the atmosphere of Christmas, even if it is summer. You can visit Santa Claus in his office, send a postcard from Santa Claus' Post Office and visit a Christmas Exhibition presenting Christmas traditions around the world.

The Arktikum, a science centre and museum, is also worth a visit (not included). The exhibitions of the Arktikum lead you through the Arctic areas and Finnish Lapland's history and modern day providing a unique insight into the way of life, culture and history of the North.

For the last night of the tour you will stay at Ounasvaaran Pirtit, in a well-appointed cabin with a genuine Finnish sauna where you can refresh yourself after a week full of activities. The dinner is not included in the price today but there are several good restaurants to choose from in Rovaniemi.
Recommended walks: Riisin Rääpäsy Trail 4 km, Riisin Rietas Trail 10,5 km, Erauspojan Polku 8 km

Accommodation at Ounasvaaran Pirtit, or similar

Ounasvaaran Pirtit

Day 8 DEPARTURE ROVANIEMI (B) Breakfast at the hotel. Check out from the hotel. Drive to the airport of Rovaniemi and drop off rental car.

Optional Excursions (not included in price):
Overnight wolverine observation excursion (on day 2), supplement $155 p/p. The tour takes place in Lieksa 120 km from Metsäkartano. Arrival around 2 pm, departure to the hides at 4 pm and return following morning at 6 am. The night will be spent in a wilderness hut, opportunity to observe and photograph also other animals like brown bears, wolves, lynxes, beavers, goshawks, olden eagles, white-taled eagles depending on the night. If you book this tour you skip the second night in Metsäkartano. The price including dinner, breakfast and room for rest.

Beaver observation, on day 3 (availability to be confirmed), duration approx. 5 hours (5 pm–10 pm), price $100 p/p (min. 2 persons). In addition to beavers a possibility to see birds like Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus).

Bear watching (on day 4), season May 1 - August 17, prices: 12-hour overnight safari $160 p/p, 6-hour safari $110 p/p.

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