East Finland Nature, Self-Drive

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Availability : Daily, May-September

East Finland Nature, Self-Drive

Highlights Include:

  • Trekking in Finnish forests
  • Daily sauna, an important Finnish tradition
  • Optional encounters with reindeer, bears, lynx, wolverines, and eagles
  • Exploring cosmopolitan Helsinki

Photo: Visitfinland.fi

Tour Details

From: $3,833 per person | Single supplement on request

Price includes transatlantic airfare from New York (please inquire for pricing from your US departure city)

10 days

2021 Departures:  Summer, please inquire

This self-drive itinerary takes you through the sparsely populated taiga forests of northeastern Finland. There are five national parks easily accessible from the route where you will find many hiking, canoeing, and fishing opportunities. Close to the Russian border you can participate in bear or wolverine observation tours, which give you a unique chance to watch and photograph these animals safely. Accommodations vary from hotel rooms to apartments to cozy cabins. Each evening you will get to enjoy local delicacies, and a genuine Finnish sauna is also available most nights.

This is a sample self-drive itinerary. Our Destination Specialists can help create an itinerary suited to your interests.

Day 1Departure from US

Day 2Arrive Helsinki, Finland

Upon arrival at Helsinki Airport, independently transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city. Helsinki is uniquely situated on the Baltic Sea where it has for centuries protected Finland from invaders coming from Russia in the east and Sweden in the west. Built upon this foundation, the city offers both historic sites like the sea fortress Suomenlinna, as well as modern art like the Sibelius Monument and the Kiasma Museum. The series of trams that cover the whole city make navigating simple for visitors. Overnight in Helsinki

Day 3Arrival in Kuopio | Meals: B D

Independent transfer to the airport for your flight to Kuopio, where you will pick up your rental car. Visit the lively city of Kuopio, famous for its marketplace where you can taste a fish pie called “kalakukko,” a local specialty. The symbol of the city is Puijo tower from where you can admire beautiful views over Lake Kallavesi. For the first night you will drive about an hour and a half from Kuopio to Metsäkartano mansion situated in a tranquil spot in the heart of nature. Dinner and possibility of a sauna. Overnight in Rautavaara

Day 4Explore a National Park | Meals: B D

Today you can visit one of two national parks that are both within easy reach of Metsäkartano. Both parks offer hiking and walking trails for a full day of being in nature. Tiilikkajärvi National Park has easy walking paths with beautiful lakeside scenery and beaches. By contrast, Hiidenportti National Park offers rugged scenery and hiking trails that include more hills and are a bit more demanding. Another optional excursion available is to spend the night in a wilderness hut, observing wildlife like bear, wolves, lynx, eagles, and more from up close. Overnight in Rautavaara

Day 5Wildlife Watching and Karelian Culture | Meals: B D

Make your way to Kuhmo, and along the way we recommend a visit to the Karelian Bomba House and the Karelian village in Nurmes. When you arrive in Kuhmo, expect to see the Finnish national epic poem Kalevala reflected in the architecture, events, museums and food. You can learn more about Kalevala and Karelian culture at the Kalevala Information Center, Juminkeko. Overnight in Kuhmo

Day 6Meet the Brown Bears | Meals: B D

Stop at the Petola Visitor Center, featuring Finland’s large carnivores such as the bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. Continue north through some very sparsely-populated areas along the Russian border. Along the way you will be near the historical area of Raate, the site of some heavy battles during the World War II. Optional bear safari this evening, where you can observe these majestic animals from the log cabins built for this purpose. Overnight in Juntusranta

Day 7Hiking in Hossa | Meals: B D

Visit Hossa National Hiking Park, the newest national park in Finland. Walk in the footsteps of Finland’s Stone Age settlers, who made mysterious, shamanistic paintings on the cliffs at Värikallio thousands of years ago. Stop at a reindeer park and get to know the semi-wild animals inhabiting the northern area of Finland. Continue to Kuusamo, known for its magnificent nature and the vast range of outdoor activities available throughout the year. Overnight in Kuusamo

Day 8Nature’s Own Amusement Park | Meals: B D

Today you have the choice of visiting either Oulanka National Park or Ruka Ski Resort. Hike the paths of Oulanka National Park through pine forests, river valleys with sandy banks and rapids, and observe a rich variety of animal and plant species. At Ruka Ski Resort, you can climb up to some of the hills and admire the beautiful views over forests and lakes. Or, take the Ruka Lookout Lift up the hill. If you are brave enough, you can descend on a speedy summer sled! Optional pre-booked activities are available such as canoe trips, ATV rides, mountain biking, and Nordic walking. Overnight in Kuusamo

Day 9Reach the Arctic Circle | Meals: B

Today’s drive takes you back west to Rovaniemi, home of Santa Claus. Visit Santa Claus’ Village, which gives you the atmosphere of Christmas even in summer, and Arktikum, a science center and museum to learn about the Arctic areas’ and Finnish Lapland’s history and modern day life. For the last night of your tour you will stay in a well-appointed cabin with a genuine Finnish sauna where you can refresh yourself after a week full of activities. Overnight in Rovaniemi

Day 10Depart Rovaniemi, Finland | Meals: B

Drive to the Rovaniemi airport, drop your rental car and fly to Helsinki. Continue to the US – or extend your stay in Scandinavia!

  • Transatlantic airfare from New York including government taxes & fuel surcharges
    (please inquire for pricing from your US departure city)
  • Flight Helsinki-Kuopio including government taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Flight Rovaniemi-Helsinki including government taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Eight nights’ accommodation
  • Meals as indicated (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
  • Eight day compact car rental, manual transmission including insurance, unlimited mileage & local taxes
  • Personalized maps and driving directions
Not Included
  • Airline fees including meals, seat reservations, luggage costs
  • Travel insurance, recommended
  • Fees for passports
  • Park Fees
  • Transfers, sightseeing, activities, meals, and beverages not specified
  • Luggage handling at airports
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, spa services, internet, phone, etc.
Optional Excursions
At additional cost, subject to availability. Must be pre-booked.
  • Overnight Wolverine Observation – spend the night in a wilderness hut where you have the chance to photograph and witness wolverines, brown bears, wolves, and many other animals
  • Bear Watching – an overnight safari to participate in observing bears
  • Oulanka and Ruka Activities – join an active adventure such as river rafting, canoe trips, ATV rides, mountain biking, and Nordic walking
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