The varied faces of Finland

A circular bus trip through Finland. From lakes and hills to the Arctic Circle and archipelago.


This bus tour acquaints you with Finland’s many faces and contrasts. Travel through Lakeland and along the Russian border to Rovaniemi, on the Arctic Circle, and return to the capital along the west coast. Enjoy the peace of unspoilt wilderness, admire the beauty of varied landscapes, see charming towns, explore the modern capital, relax in sauna…

On this tour you don’t need to see the scenery just through the bus window. You will get in to the wilderness during walking excursions that take you to admire some of Finland’s most beautiful landscapes. Join us and let the land of the thousand lakes and the midnight sun enchant you!

Tour highlights:
• Guided walking excursions
• National parks (Koli, Oulanka)
• Punkaharju ridge area
• Kvarken Archipelago
• Arctic Circle
• Karelian culture

Programme information

Season

May 1-Sep 30


Departures

For groups on request.


Duration

11 days/10 nights


Persons

10-34


Joining point

Helsinki city centre


Price

Depending on the group size, please ask for an offer


Included in the price

*Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis *Breakfast daily *Lunch on day 6 in Hossa reindeer park *3xthree-course dinner *A modern air-conditioned bus with on-board toilet facilities *English-speaking bus driver *English-speaking guide *Sightseeing tour by bus in Helsinki (2 h) *Guided walking tour to the ridge area in Punkaharju (2 h) *Entrance to Kerimäki church *Walking excursion in Koli National Park (1 h) *Visit to Bomba House and Karelian village in Nurmes *Visit to Hossa Reindeer Park *Entrance to Nature Photography Centre in Kuusamo *Walking excursion in Oulanka National Park (2,5 h) *Visit to Santa Claus Village at Arctic Circle *Walking excursion in Vaasa (2,5 h)


Supplements

Airport transfers to / from Helsinki-Vantaa airport


Supplements

Single room


Discounts

3rd person in a triple room


Detailed program

Day 1: Arrival
Independent arrival in Helsinki. Check in the hotel located in the city centre. Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and the briefing by our guide over dinner.

Day 2: The capital and the south coast
Helsinki–Porvoo–Kotka 133 km
Finland’s modern capital Helsinki has earned a reputation as a pocket-sized metropolis with a relaxed atmosphere and many interesting visitor attractions. Helsinki’s identity has been formed by cultural influences from both the East and West and it is highly characterized by the presence of water due to its situation on the Baltic Sea. After breakfast you will start your Finland tour with a guided city sightseeing tour. You see many of the main attractions like Senate Square, the Parliament building and the historical centre. In the afternoon a drive to the coastal city of Kotka through Porvoo where you will have a break to explore the charming Old Porvoo.

Day 3: The thousand lakes
Kotka–Punkaharju–Savonlinna 265 km
From Kotka you will head inland towards Punkaharju, famous for its beautiful ridge area that is known as a national landscape of Finland. You will get to know the ridge area and its cultural and natural history on a guided bus tour. After that it is possible to visit The Finnish Forestry Museum “Lusto” or enjoy some free time in Punkaharju. Today’s final destination is Savonlinna, famous for its annual opera festival held in the medieval Olavinlinna castle.

Day 4: Karelian beauty
Savonlinna–Kerimäki–Koli 210 km
In the morning you have some free time in Savonlinna. Visit the lively market or step on board for a short scenic cruise on Lake Saimaa! The first stop today is Kerimäki where you will visit the impressive Kerimäki church – the largest wooden church in the world. In the afternoon you will reach Koli. The guided walking excursion in Koli National Park takes you to the highest peak of Koli Hills called Ukko-Koli (347 m). The view from there overlooking Lake Pielinen is famous for its beauty and it is considered one of the national sceneries of Finland. The breath-taking views have also enchanted Finnish artists, including the composer Jean Sibelius.

Day 5: Northern Karelia and grounds of Kalevala
Koli–Nurmes–Kuhmo 157 km
After breakfast you will travel through the beautiful hill-country to Nurmes where you visit the Bomba House and the surrounding Karelian village with summer market, souvenir shops and Orthodox church. Don’t forget to taste some Karelian food specialities here! Later you will arrive at Kuhmo to the grounds where the Finnish national epic Kalevala was born. To get deeper into the secrets of the mythical world of Kalevala you can visit Juminkeko – information centre for Kalevala and Karelian culture. If you prefer wildlife, then head to Petola Visitor Centre offering information on Finland’s large carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. Accommodation at the cosy Kalevala Hotel. Possibility to rent canoes, rowing boats and bicycles.

Day 6: Along the Russian border
Kuhmo–Hossa–Kuusamo 272 km
Today you will head further north along the Russian border. Halfway you will visit Hossa reindeer park where your hosts tell you about the reindeer husbandry. Delicious lunch will be enjoyed at the farm. In Kuusamo you will visit a nature photography centre displaying photographs of Hannu Hautala, Finland’s most famous nature photographer.

Day 7: Into the wilderness
Kuusamo–Oulanka np-Rovaniemi 260 km
This morning you will set off for a hiking excursion in Oulanka National Park which is considered the most beautiful and popular park in Finland. The landscape is made up of pine forests, river valleys with sandy banks and rapids, and in the north of vast mires. The area is rich in animal and plant species, even endangered ones. Your route will pass through Kiutaköngäs Rapid which is one of the most famous sights in the park. After the hiking the tour goes on towards Rovaniemi. At the Arctic Circle you will visit Santa Claus’ Village that takes you to the atmosphere of Christmas. You can have a private meeting with Santa, visit an international Christmas Exhibition and purchase souvenirs at the dozens of boutiques in the area.

Day 8: Back to the sea
Rovaniemi–Kemi–Oulu 225 km
In the morning you will have some free time in Rovaniemi. Worth a visit is eg. the Arktikum, a science centre and museum providing a unique insight into the way of life, culture and history of the North. From Rovaniemi you will head to the city of Oulu located on the Gulf of Bothnia. Free afternoon in this lively university city whose heart is the pedestrian street Rotuaari offering good shopping, cosy cafés and atmospheric restaurants.

Day 9: The sunny west coast
Oulu–Björköby-Vaasa 400 km
From Oulu the journey will lead towards south along the coast line until Vaasa where you have a chance to take part in the last guided walking tour along the Bodvattnet nature trail. This time the trail goes on the flat coastal area acquainting us with the Kvarken Archipelago that was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2006. In the Kvarken area, a rare geological process known as land uplift shapes the landscape year after year. Free afternoon to explore Vaasa, known as the sunniest city in Finland.

Day 10: Return to the capital
Vaasa–Tampere–Helsinki 420 km
The longest drive of the tour takes you back to Helsinki. The road winds through rolling hills, wide cultivated areas and mixed forests through Tampere and Hämeenlinna until the capital. Free afternoon in Helsinki.

Day 11: Departure
Breakfast at the hotel. End of services. Airport transfer on own arrangements.

Good to know

REVIEWS 2015:
The whole trip was amazing. It was exactly what I was looking for when I booked the trip. I got to experience everything Finland has to offer in a in depth way. Heidi was the best guide possible for this trip and took her time to explain local history and customs to us in the different regions as well as makin stops when possible for us to take pictures of the beautiful landscape. The size of the group was just perfect for such a road trip and the holiday was made even more special by the great people that were part of the tour. Overall it was a great adventure and I would certainly recommend the tour to others.
Female, UK

A very well planned and executed trip. I covered a good selection of the country. The extras arranged by the guide made it even better. The vehicle was ideal for the size of group. Hotels were mostly good though I'd like thicker blinds to keep the light out at night! Guide/driver was excellent, always helpful, informative and friendly.
Male, New Zealand