The North Circular Tour
A self-drive holiday for all the family. Enjoy easy driving on low-traffic roads, pure nature and intersting activities. Tour highlights: Finnish wildlife, visit to a husky farm and reindeer park, Ranua Zoo, Super Park Vuokatti, Santa Claus’ Village & Arctic Circle experience.
This circular self-drive tour takes you from Oulu on the west-coast of Finland, through the sparsely populated Wild Taiga area on eastern border to the Arctic Circle and back to Oulu.The itinerary has been especially designed with kids in mind. It is full of activities to keep them interested and entertained.
There is also a lot for the adults to enjoy too! Highlights of the trip include meeting Santa, time to play in and enjoy Super Park Vuokatti and a ride with “Husky Mercedes”. Depending on your preferred family activities, you can also go hiking, canoeing or fishing. All levels of ability are catered for.
price / person
May 1–Sep 30
9 days/8 nights
Oulu (independent arrival)
2 persons - adults 870 €, children 4-12 yrs 870 €
3 persons - adults 755 €, children 4-12 yrs 595 €
4 persons - adults 730 €, children 4-12 yrs 560 €
5 persons - adults 685 €, children 4-12 yrs 545 €
Included in the price
*Accommodation on days 1, 7 and 8 in hotel room, on days 2–3 in cabin, on days 4–6 in apartment or cabin *Breakfast daily, dinner on days 1-6 *Visit to Vuokatti Husky farm and a ride on Husky Mercedes (day 3) *Sauna daily *Exclusive travel documentation package including personalised maps, itinerary and driving directions
Not included in the price
*Flights *Car rental
Bear watching excursion (day 4), season May 1–Aug 17, prices
Supplements (payment locally)
*Entrance to Super Park Vuokatti / Ranua Wildlife Park / Santa Park *Visit to Hossa Reindeer Park (free entrance, meals at extra cost) *Meeting Santa Claus (free entrance to the area)
Day 1: Arrival at Oulu
Oulu–Rokua, approx. 90 km
On arrival at Oulu airport you collect your hire car. Your first stop is Rokua where you check into the hotel situated close to Rokua National Park which you can walk around and explore. In the Suppa tourist centre you can find information on the national park and Rokua Geopark which is Finland’s only Geopark and the northernmost park of the UNESCO network.
Day 2: Enjoy yourself at Super Park Vuokatti
Rokua–Vuokatti, approx. 120 km
Today is dedicated to the entertainment of the younger members of the family and those kids at heart! You will drive to Vuokatti which is one of the most versatile, all-year-round tourist destinations in Finland. The area provides an endless list of activities but today you can visit the indoor activity park, Super Park, offering a wide range of activities and experiences for everyone. Activity courses, Freestyle hall, climbing walls, Golf arena and game arenas make the time fly! Your ticket allows you to exit and enter as many times as you wish during the day.
Day 3: Drive a husky team
Another action-packed day in Vuokatti starts with a visit to a local husky farm. You will meet the enthusiastic husky teams and have a ride on “Husky Mercedes”. Ten huskies pull a specially adapted cart on wheels around the circuit (1,5 km). Adults can try driving whilst the children sit safely in the cart. After a successful morning you will be rewarded with a personalised husky driving license.
In the afternoon you can enjoy some free time in the Vuokatti-Sotkamo area. On a sunny day you can head to Hiukka beach, if it rains, Katinkulta Spa makes the perfect choice. Don’t forget to climb to the top of Vuokatinvaara hill to admire the vista over the lakes and hills!
Day 4: Meet the Brown Bears
Vuokatti–Juntusranta, approx. 240 km
Time to say good-bye to Vuokatti and travel east to Kuhmo. Here you have an opportunity to visit Petola Visitor Centre which provides information on Finland’s large carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine.
From Kuhmo the route goes north through the sparsely populated areas alongside the Russian border. Your accommodation, Arola, Helena and Eero’s former dairy farm, is situated on the Russian border. The farm is surrounded by remote woodland inhabited by European brown bears. In the evening you can take part in a bear safari (extra charge) providing an opportunity to observe and photograph these majestic animals from the safety of purpose-built cabins. Alternatively you can rent a canoe or bicycle and make an excursion on your own.
Day 5: Hiking and canoeing in Hossa
Juntusranta–Hossa, approx. 42 km
Heading north again you will arrive at Hossa where our accommodation is a cabin or apartment just outside Hossa National Park. Hossa is known for its crystal-clear lakes and handsome pine heathlands and has plenty of hiking trails as well as opportunities for canoeing. A recommended excursion for a day hiking trip is Värikalliot, where you can view the oldest rock paintings in northern Finland dating back some 4000 year. The easy 3 km Muikkupuro trail takes you to one of the most scenic spots in Hossa – a lean-to-shelter on the shores of a narrow meandering river. Hossa Visitor Centre offers information on trails and maps as well as rental canoes. Guided tours are available at extra cost.
Day 6: Visit a Reindeer Park
Staying in Hossa you can visit the Hossa reindeer park and get to know the semi-wild animals inhabiting the northern area of Finland. You can pet and feed reindeer and try your skills at lassoing. In the evening you can relax and experience the traditional Finnish sauna.
Day 7: Ranua Zoo - meet polar bears, lynx and wolves
Hossa–Ranua–Rovaniemi, approx. 310 km
The tour continues toward Ranua where you can visit the Ranua Wildlife Park home for about 50 species of arctic and northern wild animals including the only polar bears in Finland. Also lynxes, wolves, wolverines, moose and many more species inhabit Ranua in environments as close to their natural habitat as possible. In the evening drive to Rovaniemi where you spend the last two nights of your family adventure.
Day 8: Reach the Arctic Circle - Rovaniemi
Santa Claus is waiting for you to visit him in his home in Rovaniemi, situated on the Arctic Circle. Even during the summer you can experience the magic of Christmas. Santa is always there to welcome visitors to his office.
The nearby Arktikum, a science centre and museum, is also worthy of a visit. The exhibitions 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.
Day 9: Return
Rovaniemi–Oulu, approx. 240 km
After breakfast guests return to the airport of Oulu and return their hire car.
Extra nights in Rovaniemi or Oulu can be booked. The city of Oulu also provides plenty of family entertainment. Being the biggest city on the route it offers the best possibilities for shopping and a chance to buy souvenirs from the lively pedestrianised street ‘Rotuaari.’
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.
- Optional wildlife watching excursions must be booked in advance.
- This tour can be tailored according to your wishes.
- Read about driving in Finland at www.visitfinland.com/article/driving-in-finland/
This tour can be booked online here (a regional webshop at www.wildtaiga.fi).