photographer-krista-keltanen-in-koli-on-a-hike.jpgPhoto Credit: Visit Finland, Krista Keltanen

Wildlife Finland

From: $1758 per person

Self Drive, 9 Days/8 Nights
Dates: June 1 - September 30, 2019 and 2020

This trip takes you through the sparsely populated forests of north-eastern Finland. Options to visit multiple national parks that are easily accessible from the driving route. Explore Koli National Park on a half day guided hike, and have many more options to hike, canoe, and fish in other spots along the way.  Close to the Russian border, visit parks with bear or wolverine observation tours which give you a unique chance to watch and photograph these animals safely. Each night enjoy a genuine Finnish sauna where available at your hotels. 

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Dates: June 1 - September 30, 2019 and 2020

Day 1:  Arrival at Kuopio 

Arrival at Kuopio airport where you will collect your hire 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 center of the Savo region, is famous for its marketplace, harbor and cheerful people. At the market you can taste the local specialty, “kalakukko”, a Finnish fish pie. About 20 cruises depart daily from the harbor of Kuopio to Lake Kallavesi. The symbol of the city is the Puijo tower from where you can admire beautiful views over Lake Kallavesi. 

Accommodation at Puijonsarvi Hotel or similar

Day 2 : Kupio - Koli (approx. 203km)

It’s time to say goodbye to Kupio and head to Koli National Park. This is a perfect location to spend the next two days and explore the area. Koli National Park has a great hiking path network. Path maps can be bought at hotel reception when you arrive.  The terrain is quite mountainous but it can be hiked without any special equipment besides good hiking shoes.  Option to enjoy a sauna this evening after a good long hike. Most of your hotels during this trip will have saunas (entrance fee paid locally) for you to use and enjoy.

Accommodation at Sokos Hotel Break or similar

Day 3: Exploring Koli National Park

After breakfast drive to meet your group and guide and depart on a guided hiking tour to Makravaara, a hill in the heart of Koli National Park. A traditional Finnish trail lunch is included in the price. On this half-day hike, explore Makravaara. The trails up to Makravaara take you into deep forests, open meadows and spectacular scenic lookouts on top of one of the oldest bedrocks in Europe. If the climb up Mäkrä hill doesn’t take your breath away, the view opening from the top over Lake Pielinen most certainly will! On the top of Mäkrä you understand why the view has inspired so many artists. During the hike enjoy a typical Finnish trail snack around a crackling camp fire. If the weather doesn’t permit on open fire, make sure you pack the meal in backpacks and enjoy it on the trail.

Accommodation at Sokos Hotel Break or similar

Day 4:   Koli – Ruhtinansalmi ( approx. 370km)

Depart Koli and drive north to Kuhmo. Great suggested stop will be the Petola Visitor Center which is an information center on Finland’s large carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. From Kuhmo the route goes toward 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 which was the stage of some heavy battles during the Second World War.

In Raate it is possible to visit the Winter War exhibition and the Raate Frontier Guard Museum. Your accommodation for the next night will be near 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 after your dinner, you can take part in an optional bear safari (extra charge booked locally) and observe these majestic animals from the purpose-built log cabins. Recommended walks: Petola nature trail 0,5 km

Accommodation at Arola Guesthouse or similar

Day 5:  Ruhtinansalmi - Kuusamo (approx. 135 km)

Heading north again you will first arrive at Hossa which is a national hiking area known for its crystal-clear lakes and handsome pine forests. The area offers great opportunities for hiking, canoeing and fishing. One good destination for a day hiking trip is Varikalliot, the oldest rock paintings in northern Finland dating back some 4000 years. Hossa Visitor Center offers information on trails and there is also an exhibition on the area's history and present day. In Hossa you can also visit a reindeer park 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, head over to the Tourist and Nature Center Karhuntassu and visit a nature photography center there. Recommended walks: Varikallio trail 8 km, Huosiusjärvi circle trail 7,5 km, Hossa nature trail 3 km

Accommodation at Scandic Rukahovi or similar

Day 6: Kuusamo – Nature’s Own Amusement Park

Today you can head to Oulanka National Park or to Ruka which is maybe 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 center you can visit the Kiutakongas rapids which are some of the biggest rapids in Finland.

Optional excursion: river rafting in Oulanka National Park varying from easy family tours (if interested, please inquire). 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! 

Optional activities such as canoe trips, quad safaris, mountain biking and Nordic walking tours (if interested, please inquire).  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

Accommodation at Scandic Rukahovi or similar

Day 7: Reach the Arctic Circle Kuusamo - Rovaniemi approx. 210 km

This will be your last and longest day of travelling, ending at Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. Self guided 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. 

Accommodation at Vaakuna Hotel or similar

Day 8: Explore Rovaniemi 

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 center 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.
NOTE: dinner is not included today, but there are several good restaurants to choose from in Rovaniemi. Recommended walks: Riisin Raapasy trail 4 km, Riisin Rietas trail 10,5 km, Koronjaa trail 5 km

Accommodation at Vaakuna Hotel or similar

Day 09: Departure - Rovaniemi airport - Approx. 7 km

After breakfast, drive to the airport and drop your vehicle rental. Depart Rovaniemi.

Or inquire to extend your vacation.

Your Trip Includes the Following:
Your trip can also include: 

Price per person is based on 2 persons in double/twin room.

Single Supplement from: $1324
Additional nights and/or transportation back from Helsinki are additional. If interested, please inquire. 

This package is priced LAND ONLY. If you need assistance with booking your airfare, let us know and we will be happy to help you.

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