Into the Wilds

Tour ID: PS5

Tour Info

Duration: 8 Days
/ 7 Nights
Countries: Finland
Seasons: Summer
Available: May - Mid August

This self-drive itinerary takes you through the sparsely populated taiga forests of north-eastern Finland where in the three national parks and two national hiking areas, hiking, canoeing and fishing are easily accessible. Koli National Park is a firm favourite with peaks providing spectacular views of lake Pielinen. Closer to the Russian border joining a bear or wolverine observation tours gives you the chance of observing and photographing these animals in safety. Accommodation varies from hotel rooms to apartments and cosy cabins. You’ll also get to enjoy local delicacies and on most nights, the chance to have a sauna and possibly, jump in a lake to cool off.

Back to Nature

From $1,995 pp

Highlights:

✔ Swim in crystal clear lakes
✔ Venture into the Finnish countryside
✔ See wildlife in their natural environment
✔ Berry picking (dependant on season)
✔ Enjoy long summer days

Price Includes:

✔ Accommodation in hotel, cottages or apartments
✔ Breakfast daily
✔ Five dinners
✔ Bear watching
✔ Exclusive travel documentation package including personalised maps, itinerary and driving directions

Price Excludes:

✖ Car rental is not included in the package price and can be confirmed at a supplementary price

Itinerary

Arrive Joensuu airport or by train. Collect your vehicle and continue to Koli.

The view from your accommodation in Koli Park is simply spectacular. Situated right within the Park and beside the Nature Centre, this is going to be a feast of sights and nature. Keep your cameras ready – wildlife don’t always give advance notice of an Instagram moment coming up.

Enjoying the scenery on the way, take the 1.5 hour drive from Koli to Tiilikkajärvi National Park. The Park offers easy hiking route, beautiful lakeside scenery and beaches. Think about taking a picnic lunch along with you as there are no opportunities to purchase food in the Park. Early afternoon, continue to Kuhmo via Nurmes where you can make a stop and visit Karelian Bomba House and the Karelian village around it. Continue to Kuhmo for your overnight. It’s a small village with architecture events, research, museums and food clearly reflect the Kalevala. If you enjoy chamber music, the last two weeks of July when the famous Chamber Music Festival takes place, is a good time to visit Kuhmo.

The possibility exists to have an overnight in a wolverine observation centre at additional charge. In this case, you would overnight in Lieksa and and continue to Kuhmo the following day.

Before continuing your tour this morning, vist the Petola Visitor Centre which houses information on Finland’s large carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. From Kuhmo your route takes you north through thinly populated areas close to 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 which was the stage of some heavy battles during the Second World War. The Winter War exhibition and the Raate Frontier Guard Museum in Raate is worth a visit. Your accommodation this evening will be in the tiny village of Juntusranta at Arola Holiday Farm owned by Helena and Eero’s. This former dairy farm is well-known for Helena’s delicious local food. Surrounded by remote woodland, the area is home to European brown bears and this evening, Helena will take you to a hide in the forest to observe the bears. A little patience may be needed as the bears don’t adhere to human timetables.

Heading north, you’ll arrive in Hossa, a national hiking area known for its crystal-clear lakes and handsome pine heartlands. The area offers great opportunities for hiking, canoeing and fishing. One good destination for a day hiking trip might be Värikalliot, the oldest rock paintings in northern Finland dating back some 4000 years. Hossa Visitor Centre offers information on trails and there is also an exhibition on the area’s history and present day. Hossa also had a reindeer park open to visitors. 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. Well worth a stop on route is to see artist Reijo Kela’s ‘Silent People’. Continue to Kuusamo.

This morning you don´t need to pack your luggage because you two nights here. 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 day trips. 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. If you are brave enough you can descend on a speedy summer sled! The safari companies of the area also offer many other activities such as 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

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 day trips, 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 southern route from Posio to Rovaniemi you will have a chance to visit a Wildlife Park situated in Ranua. 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: visit Santa in his office and send a postcard from his Post Office. The Arktikum, a science centre and museum, is also worth a visit. 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 Chalet hotel Rovaniemi, in a well-appointed cabin with a genuine Finnish sauna where you can refresh yourself after a week full of activities. Exceptionally the dinner is not included in the price today but there are several good restaurants to choose from in Rovaniemi.

Breakfast and drive to the airport of Rovaniemi where you will leave your hire car.

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Back to Nature

From $1,995 pp

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