Silence in the heart of nature
A relaxed 7-days self-drive tour along Finland´s eastern border. Short driving distances on quiet roads and plenty of time for activities and relaxation in the nature.
For those looking for an, ‘away from it all’ relaxing break, the peace and enrapturing beauty of the Wild Taiga in Eastern Finland makes an ideal self-drive destination. With quiet roads and short distances from numerous attractions, ancient forests, lakes and gentle activities, you will feel you have truly escaped to nature.
During your tour you will have the chance to; paddle, hike, cycle, go bear watching and take a husky trek. You can also experience ‘living like a Finn’ when you overnight in a traditional lakeside log cabin, swim in the crystal clear waters and take daily saunas.
price / person
May 1-Sep 30
7 days/6 nights
Kajaani (alternative Kuopio, independent arrival)
Kuusamo (alternative Kajaani)
Included in the price
*Accommodation on twin sharing basis. On days 1–2 in hotel room, on days 3–4 in an apartment (or cabin) and on days 5–6 in a log cabin *Breakfast and dinner daily *Daily sauna *Exclusive travel documentation package including personalised maps, itinerary and driving directions
Not included in the price
*Flights *Car rental
Optional excursions at extra cost
*Bear watching at Arola *Huskytrekking *Husky farm visit *Bicycle trip *Rapid swim in Kuhmo *Village tour in Lentiira (by walking) *Introduction to paddling *Rafting
Day 1: Arrival at Kajaani
Kajaani–Kuhmo, approx. 115 km
Arrival at Kajaani airport (alternative arrival at Kuopio airport) where you will collect your hire car. Drive to the small town of Kuhmo, world-famous for its annual chamber music festival. For your perfect introduction into nature, your stay for the first two nights is in the cosy Hotel Kalevala nestled on the shore of Lake Lammasjärvi.
Day 2: Activities in Kuhmo
There are many activities to choose from in Kuhmo all of which take place in the surrounding wild nature. You can take a self-guided hiking tour in Hiidenportti national park (45 km from the hotel) or the Lentua nature trail (15 km from the hotel), or book a guided hiking tour to the Russian border. You can also visit a husky farm, take a husky trek or perhaps you prefer a guided cycling tour of the countryside.
In Kuhmo you can also visit Petola visitor centre. Petola is an information centre for Finland’s largest carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine – all of which inhabit the nearby forests. You can also tour Juminkeko information centre. Here you can learn about the Finnish national epic, Kalevala, and Karelian culture, much which can still be seen today. The hotels well-being suite offers a whole host of treatments including; aromatherapy, traditional Finnish bone setting and a traditional peat sauna.
Recommended self-guided trails: Hiidenkierros 3-5 km and Kitulankierros 10,5 km at Hiidenportti national park or Lentua nature trail 7 km
Day 3: Villages, battle scenes and bears
Kuhmo–Juntusranta, approx. 170 km
From Kuhmo the route goes northwards through sparsely populated areas following the Russian border. The first stop is at the beautiful village of Lentiira where you can join a local walking tour. The local guide tells you about life in the village in the past and present, as well as about the nature, landscape and the significance of some of the old buildings. En route to Kuusamo, you can spend some time in Raate, which was the stage of some fierce battles during the Second World War. You can learn all about its significant history in the recently renovated Winter War exhibition.
For your third night you will stay in the tiny village of Juntusranta next to the Russian border. Arola, hosted by Helena’s and Eero’s family, is renowned for its delicious local food and bear safaris. During the safari, you will be able to observe and photograph the European brown bear from the safety of a small purpose-built log cabin. For an extra charge, you can join either an overnight bear tour or a 6-hour evening tour – both truly unforgettable experiences.
Day 4: Relax in the forest
This is a day of leisure in Arola. Rent a canoe or bicycle or take a walk in the nearby forest. The late summer is the time for an abundance of berries – pick up a fresh and healthy snack as you walk!
Just 30 minutes drive away is a great day out in Finland’s newest national park Hossa, known for its beautiful ridges and crystal-clear ponds and lakes. In Hossa you can walk in the footsteps of Finland's Stone Age settlers, who made mysterious shamanistic paintings on the cliffs at Värikallio thousands of years ago. Hossa Visitor Centre offers information on trails and rents equipment like canoes and fatbikes.
Recommended self-guided trails in Hossa: Hossa nature trail 3 km, Ölökyn ylitys trail 5 km, Värikallion kaarros trail 8 km
Day 5: Cottage life
Juntusranta–Kuusamo, approx. 135 km
It is time to say good-bye to your hosts at Arola and continue on towards Kuusamo. Your base for the last two nights will be Ollila Holiday cottages, hosted by Tuomo and Marjo. The cottages are located on the shore of Lake Muojärvi, in the heart of Kuusamo’s lake-area and surrounded by beautiful pine woods. They have private saunas, wood-burning stoves and rowing boats. Breakfast and dinner are served in the Juomuskota, restaurant whose menu comprises of dishes of local, fresh produce and meats. You can spend the afternoon relaxing in the cabin, heating up sauna and rowing on the lake, or you can walk a 5 km circle route to Muovaara hill.
Recommended self-guided trails: Muovaara, approx. 5 km
Day 6: Oulanka national park
The last day is dedicated either to hiking or just relaxing in your cabin. An hour’s drive north from Ollila is one of Finland’s most popular national parks, Oulanka, at the heart of which is the crystal-clear River Oulankajoki. Steep sided ravines and river valleys, which traverse the park, ensure that the views are unforgettable. There are many trail options available but a very nice, though demanding one, is the Small Bear’s Trail starting from the village of Juuma. The hanging bridges along the route will take you to the most impressive waterfalls in Finland. If you prefer canoeing, there are rental canoes as well as guided tours on River Oulankajoki.
Recommended self-guided trails: Small Bear’s Trail 12 km, Hiidenlampi nature trail 5 km
Recommended canoeing route: Oulanka canoeing route 7-23 km
Day 7: Departure
Kuusamo airport, approx. 22 km
After a satisfying breakfast, you bid farewell to this pristine nature and return to Kuusamo airport (or Kajaani airport, approx. 275 km) and drop off your hire car.
Good to know
- This is a self-guided tour and no meeting with the tour operator is organized.
- The tour information package will be posted in advance or you will get it on arrival at the first hotel.
- Read about driving in Finland at www.visitfinland.com/article/driving-in-finland/