Specialists for Outdoor and Adventure Holidays in the Nordic Countries

Canoeing on the Tar Route in Kainuu

Photo: WP

Canoeing on the Tar Route in Kainuu (Finland)

A remote canoe adventure through the beautiful Lentua lake system on Finland's famous Tar Route

  • Self-guided
  • Medium
  • From £146/person
  • May-Sep, 4-7 days
  • Adults, Families (min age 12), Groups
  • Itinerary
  • Dates & Prices
  • Good to Know
  • Gallery & Comments
  • Description
  • Arrival
  • Following Days
  • Departure

The Tar Route route was used to transport barrels of tar derived from the Taiga forest from the Eastern border to a port for the Baltic Sea. You will explore a section of this remote yet accessible area, paddling south to Kuhmo. This canoe tour passes through the lovely Lentua lake system, a network of lakes dotted with islands large and small and connected by rivers and small lakes with winding passages and short rapids (which are easily bypassed with short land transports).

You spend your days exploring this beautiful area and at night wild camping at a wide choice of designated camping areas with wind shelters and fireplaces where wood is provided. The clear waters offer wonderful opportunities for swimming from gentle, sandy beaches to cool off after enjoying a hard day's paddling!

This canoe tour takes you through thick Taiga forest rich in wildlife, with relatively little sign of civilisation/few settlements along the way, giving a real sense of remoteness during many parts of the tour. Much of the area is protected and the majority of islands are uninhabited, except by the local wildlife of course!

Canoe on the Tar Route in Kainuu is suitable for adults and families with older children (recommended min. age 12, younger children possible by arrangement) - as a flexible tour you can make it as challenging or relaxing as you desire. Explore the protected area of Lake Lentua, enjoy lunch on a deserted island or spend some time fishing. You may wish to stop on Lehtosaari island, where there is an open wilderness hut and even the chance to stop for a smoke sauna!

You paddle a minimum distance of 60km to Kuhmo but you can extend your tour as much as you like to discover the lake system's hidden treasures or even spend a day or two on land to go hiking.

The tour also offers very good possibilties for fishing, especially for perch and pike, and equipment is available to hire as an optional extra.

Canoeing for odd-numbered groups

Canoes used are 2-person Canadian canoes. Odd numbered groups will normally travel as even number in a canoe with the additional person in single kayak. For odd-numbered groups including a child, the child can travel as 3rd person in canoe.


Meet in Kuhmo (start time between 09.00 and 18.00 by arrangement). You will receive your equipment and some guidance on suggested routes to take before transfer to the start point (approx. 45 mins) to begin your tour.

Following Days

Your canoe tour takes you through a series of lakes connected with river sections and some short rapids. Rapids (100m-400m) are easily bypassed by short carries or using the rail/trolley system provided at certain points to assist with land transports.

The area offers many route choices to explore the lakeland landscape and as a protected area you will find few settlements/houses, offering a real taste of remoteness during many parts of the tour. Spend the nights wild camping at one of the many designated camping spots where you can find wind shelters and fireplaces.


You paddle your way to Kuhmo, where you will end your tour and return your equipment.

  • Dates
  • Prices
  • Included
  • Not Included

Dates 2017

Start any day by arrangement between 16th May and 20th September 2017 between 09.00 and 18.00.

NB: No tour start dates between 23rd and 30th July 2017 inclusive. You are welcome to end your tour during this period.

Note that you should be prepared for cooler conditions when paddling at the start/end of the season.

Prices 2017

Price includes camping/kitchen equipment.

Please note that price for transfer to start point must be added to all bookings.

For additional adult in odd-numbered group, extra tent is provided. Additional child in odd-numbered group will share tent.

Standard Prices  
Transfer to start point, per booking up to 8 personsGBP 75EUR 80
4 days/3 nights  
Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)GBP 102EUR 110
Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)GBP 130EUR 140
Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)GBP 51EUR 55
5 days/4 nights  
Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)GBP 123EUR 133
Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)GBP 158EUR 170
Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)GBP 56EUR 60
6 days/5 nights  
Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)GBP 137EUR 148
Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)GBP 181EUR 195
Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)GBP 56EUR 60
7 days/6 nights  
Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)GBP 149EUR 160
Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)GBP 200EUR 215
Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)GBP 56EUR 60
Optional Extras (see description below)  
Extra Trangia (if required for odd-numbered person), up to 7 daysGBP 24EUR 25
Fishing equipment/set/up to 7 daysGBP 19EUR 20
  • Extra Trangia (if required for odd-numbered person): Trangia stoves are included as standard one per two persons. If you require an additional stove (e.g. if travelling as 5 persons and requiring 3 rather than the included 2 stoves), extra stove can be hired as optional extra.
  • Fishing equipment: See image below. Includes casting rod + 10 lures - note that lures must be replaced if lost, price €3-€7/lure). Fishing licence is required (purchased locally) if fishing with lures, price around €15/week. If fishing with line only, no licence is required and line, hook, bobber and worms can be provided. Perch (up to 500g) and pike (up to 2kg with equipment available or up to 8kg with own fishing gear) can be caught the whole summer. In warm weather, pike perch are also possible. Roach are also commonly caught. It is possible to fish for trout in the local rapids for additional licence fee of €20/day.
  • Transfer Kajaani-Kuhmo-Kajaani: In addition to options to travel by bus, taxi or airport taxi, subject to availability transfer from Kajaani or Kajaani airport to Kuhmo can be offered. Price €290/return for up to 4 persons or €370/return for up to 6 persons. Cost for transfer is paid locally on arrival.
  • Transfer to start point for larger groups: If you are a group of more than 8 persons, you will require a second transfer to your start point for each additional group of 8 persons. Standard transfer price applies.
Fishing equipment

Fishing equipment


  • Canoe equipment: 2-person Canadian canoe, paddles, buoyancy aids, waterproof containers. Child travelling as 3rd person in canoe will have extra seat/paddle/buoyancy aid.
  • Kayak equipment (if adult in odd-numbered group): Single kayak, paddle, buoyancy aid and spray skirt.
  • Kitchen equipment: Trangia* cooking stove (one litre fuel/week is included). NB: Note that Trangias are suitable for 2-3 persons and therefore for odd-numbered groups, an additional Trangia is not supplied (e.g. 2 Trangias are supplied for 5-person group).
  • Camping equipment: Tent (Halti tunnel tents suitable for 2-3 persons), 3-season sleeping bag (please bring own liner), pillow and foam sleeping mat.
  • Maps: Two waterproof canoeing maps.
  • Instructor: Introduction/assistance in planning your route before your tour starts.

*Exact contents may differ from example shown

Please be careful with the canoe and the rest of your equipment! If some part of the equipment should break as a result of misuse or carelessness, you may be charged for the damage caused.

Not Included

Please see "Optional Extras" below.

  • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Good to Know > Getting There" for general travel information.
  • There is no food included. You must bring all food needed during the tour with you from the beginning as this tour runs in a remote area with no opportunities to buy food along the way. Provisions can be purchased in Kuhmo or from a small store near the start point.
  • Required
  • Getting There
  • Combine This With
  • Groups
  • Eco Info


Health requirements/experience:

Swimming ability required by adults. Minimum 2 adults. You should be in good health with a good general level of fitness and strength and enjoy the outdoors. Recommended minimum age 12.

The canoe tour runs through a series of lakes connected by sections of river and short rapids. Rapids should be bypassed by foot by carrying the canoe or using the trolley/rail system available at certain points to assist with land transports. Note that paddling on lakes can be challenging in windy conditions and you should consider carefully the best side of the lake to paddle on and be prepared to adjust your itinerary depending on weather conditions.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "Dates and Prices > Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Getting There

Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Helsinki for travel by train (6 hours) or domestic flight (1 hour 15 mins) to Kajaani, before onward travel by bus, taxi or transfer to Kuhmo (1.5-2 hours).

Map of Finland »

Map of Finland

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:


This experience is ideal for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Eco Info

This provider has a written environmental policy.

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