Finland summer holidays
Forests and lakes -cycling tour
A self-guided cycling tour on the Finnish countryside from Kajaani to Kuhmo. Bear viewing option available at the end of the tour. Departures May 20-Sep 15.
Forests and lakes -cycling tour
This self-guided cycling tour leads cyclists along peaceful, well-maintained roads through forests, cultivated areas and woodland-covered hills of eastern Finland. On the route you will spot plenty of shimmering lakes offering refreshing swimming spots on a hot summer day - however the weather rarely is really hot, even July and August use to be pleasant. After a cycling day you will enjoy light summer nights that will probably make you want to stay awake until the next morning.
At the end of the tour there is an option to join an extraordinary bear watching excursion which gives you an opportunity to observe and photograph brown bears safely from small wilderness hides.
Finland cycling holiday highlights:
• Finnish countryside
• Lakes and forests
• Low-traffic roads
• Light summer nights
• Wildlife watching
Day 1: Arrival
Arrival at Kajaani airport and transportation to the hotel situated along the river shore a stone’s throw from the town centre. After arrival welcome meeting by a local guide.
Day 2: Day tour in Kajaani, 45–50 km
On the first cycling day you will cycle amidst country settings along quiet tarmac roads and well-maintained gravel roads in the surroundings of Kajaani. In the village of Paltaniemi you can visit the church famous for its ceiling and wall paintings and enjoy great views to the sea-like Lake Oulujärvi, the 4th biggest lake in Finland. In Kajaani worth visit are the castle ruins from the 17th century situated on the river shore.
Day 3: Kajaani–Vuokatti approx. 45 km
A nice rolling route takes you out of Kajaani and towards the holiday resort of Vuokatti. There is of longish climb on the route and another one if you choose the recommended side trip through the Naapurinvaara hill, but views from the top are surely worth some struggling.
Today’s destination Vuokatti is one of the most popular all-year-round holiday resorts in Finland but most crowded during winter, not in summer. For the next two nights you’ll accommodate in a cozy cabin situated in a tranquil spot in the forest next to a hotel Vuokatinhovi.
Day 4: Day tour in Vuokatti, approx. 40 km
Today you can take it leisurely in Vuokatti or make a day tour on the surrounding countryside. Enjoy the peace of nature and the ease of cycling on tranquil roads. Take a picnic in a picturesque lake-side spot and have a swim on a hot summer day. Don’t forget to climb to the top of Vuokatinvaara hill to admire the vista over the lakes and hills!
If you decide to stay in Vuokatti instead of cycling there are some nice walking routes suitable for a day tour as well as an endless list of other activities available.
Day 5: Vuokatti–Kuhmo, approx. 72 km
The longest day of the tour takes you toward east, first through the municipality center of Sotkamo and then through tiny villages of Sumsa and Katerma. The route offers some more beautiful lake, forest and hill landspaces and rolling roads. If you are cycling after mid-July you can easily have a healthy snack straight from the forest picking up some bilberries which grow everywhere. A bit later also raspberries and lingonberries are ripe to be picked up.
In the afternoon you will arrive at the small town of Kuhmo, world-famous for the Chamber Music Festival which is held annually in July. The accommodation for the next two nights will be in the charming Hotel Kalevala, situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Lammasjärvi.
Day 6: Day tour in Kuhmo approx.40 km
Today’s cycling takes you to Lentua where you can visit the famous Lentuankoski –rapid and Lentua Nature Information Hut. The hut is also the starting point for a 6,5 km nature trail which introduces visitors to the restoration of forests and mires.
If you prefer to skip today’s cycling you have the opportunity to visit eg. Petola, an information center on Finland’s large carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine – or Juminkeko, where you can learn more about Finnish national epic Kalevala and Karelian culture which are both still strongly present in Kuhmo.
Day 7: Return
Breakfast and transfer to Kajaani airport.
Day 7: Cycling Kuhmo–Lentiira and bear watching, approx. 40 km
Today you cycle in the middle of the forests to the tiny village of Lentiira situated near the Finnish eastern border. In Lentiira you will be welcomed by Sabrina who hosts a B&B and runs wildlife watching tours. The wilderness of the border area is inhabited by large carnivores like bears and wolverines and in the evening you set off on an overnight safari to observe and photograph them from small purpose-built log cabins.
Day 8: Return
Return from the hides in the morning, breakfast and transfer to Kajaani airport.
Good to know
RENTAL BIKES AND ACCESSORIES
Rental bikes are normally 21 or 24-gear hybrid bikes (eg. Trek 7.2 FX) in men’s and women’s models. Please let us know your height in advance. The bike will be given to you at the first hotel.
Features: rack, mudguard, bottle holder.
Accessories included in the bike rental:
1 per person:
lock, water bottle, pannier
1 piece per room:
cycling computer, repair kit (inc. spare inner tube, glue, patch, tyre lever, tools), pump, handlebar bag with plastic map case
A cycling helmet is obligatory in Finland. Helmet rental on request, price 10 €/person.
BEAR WATCHING (optional day 7)
The bear watching excursion gives you a unique opportunity to observe and photograph European brown bears (Ursus Arctos) from a specially designed wilderness hide. Hide is equipped with viewing chairs, sleeping places and dry toilet and there are special openings for cameras. During the night you may see other animals like wolverines and birds as well.
Duration: approx. 14 hours, from 4-5 pm until 7 am (time may vary depending on the season).
Equipment recommended: clothes according to weather, binoculars, camera.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
On arrival, you will get route notes, maps and some tourist information including our suggestions on what to see and do on your freetime. Here are some picks about the possibilities during the tour.
Paltaniemen kuvakirkkko (”pictorical church”) was built in 1726 and it is famous for its beautiful paintings on the walls and ceilings. Next to the church there is an old cemetery of the Paltamo parish with old iron crosses and memorial stones.
Kuhmo Winter War museum presents the events of the Winter War in Kuhmo (in 1939–40) via artefacts, photographs, scale-models and sound effects. The museum provides a view into the everyday life of evacuees, and Finnish and Soviet soldiers.
Petola Visitor Centre offers versatile information on Finland’s large carnivores – brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolverine (Gulo gulo). On Petola Nature Trail (0.5 km), you will learn about the senses and habits of large carnivores.
THINGS TO DO
Have sauna! Finland is the land of the sauna and the Finns are a nation of sauna-enthusiasts. Finland has a population of 5.4 million and about 2 million saunas — one for every three inhabitants! On this tour you have the possibility to have sauna every night. Step into the sauna and find your “inner Finn”!
Pick up berries! From late July until September Finnish forests are a real source of well-being! It’s the berry time! Raspberries, cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberries can be found in the forests you’ll cycle through. Have a break and pick up a free, tasty snack straight from the forest. Finnish everyman’s rights guarantee that you are allowed to pick berries freely as long as you don’t go too close to a house. Do avoid picking berries right from the roadside as well!
Take a walk! Pöllyvaara recreation area offers nice possibilities for forest walks just a stone throw from Kajaani centre. Routes go mostly in the old spruce forest in varied terrain. The best options are marked 3,6 km and 6,6 km routes. In Sotkamo, there’s a nice 4,1 km Hiukka nature trail that leads along ridges offering great views to the lake Sapso and Vuokatti hills.
Spend a dancing night in traditional Finnish style! Naapurinvaaran Huvikeskus organises dancing activities every Saturday in summertime.
See a Finnish baseball game. “Pesäpallo”, Finnish baseball is considered as the national sport of Finland. The local club Sotkamon Jymy, is definitely the best team in Finland in 2000’s with 11 Finnish championships. Jymy plays at home stadium approximately once a week in summertime. Additionally there are many other teams – juniors, children women – playing several times a week in different locations in Vuokatti/Sotkamo area.
Get to the lake! Your hotel in Kuhmo, Hotel Kalevala offers rowing boats for rent. On sunny weather, a rowing trip on the Lake Lammasjärvi located next to the hotel is a nice experience.
Try husky trekking! A guided hiking tour takes you out in the nature with lovely sled dogs. All the participants get an own dog and a special huskytrekking gear will also be provided - a shock-absorbing leash between you and the dog and a comfortable belt on your waist. Duration 5-6 hours. Place: Kuhmo. Please ask for furhter details.
The best place to taste the traditional Finnish rye bread in Kajaani is Pekka Heikkinen bakery, founded in 1913. “Puu-uunileipä”, rye bread baked in a wood heated oven, is one of the most popular souvenirs from Kainuu. At bakery shop you can also taste a local speciality tar chocolate. Kainuu region has a rich tar tradition and nowadays tar is used many ways also in food-culture.
Restaurant Kippo in Vuokatti offers the specialties of Finland and Kainuu region. Having their own smoke cabin and using only the natural local ingredients for the dishes, the meal in Kippo will undoubtedly be a pleasure for all your senses with its rich taste and delicious smells.
Kaesan Herkkupuoti -café in Kuhmo offers traditional Kainuu delicacies made by local Kaesan Kotileipomo bakery. Bakery’s best-known traditional delicacy is the sweet and savoury open pie “Rönttönen”. The rye base of this piquant pie is filled with rye-sweetened potato, which has been flavoured with tart lingonberries.
Forests and lakes -cycling tour
Upitrek summer tours run from mid-May until late September.
You can choose from week-long hiking, cycling or canoeing tours or multi-activity weeks with a mixture of activities. Wildlife excursions are also available and amongst the most memorable of experiences.
If you want to explore a larger area, a self-drive program or a circular bus tour is a great alternative – both of which give opportunities to try various activity programmes.
Come and enjoy with us the long warm summer days and experience 24hrs light in the land of the midnight sun!