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Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland

Photo: UT

Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland (Finland)

A hiking tour in the Taiga forest between cabins and guest houses with luggage transfers

  • Guided
  • Medium
  • From £852/person
  • Jul-Sep, 8 days/7 nights
  • Adults, Families (min age 15), Groups, Solo
  • Itinerary
  • Dates & Prices
  • Good to Know
  • Gallery & Comments
  • Description
  • Arrival
  • Following Days
  • Departure

The Taiga forest region of Kainuu in north-east Finland is a beautiful, unspoilt region of ancient forests, ridges, moorland and lakes, and a haven for wildlife including the endangered wolverine.

Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland is a guided tour taking you through some of the best of this wonderful region, with accommodation in simple log cabins and guests houses along the route, combining "point-to-point" days moving between accommodation and day tours from fixed location. Luggage transfers are included, so you walk during the day with only your daypack.

Distances vary up to max. 19km daily and the terrain is generally easy-going and level, making this experience accessible for a wide range of adult participants who enjoy walking. In true Finnish style, each of your accommodation locations features the possibility for sauna (followed by a swim in the lake of course!). From the guest houses you will receive a warm welcome and have the opportunity to enjoy local food from the region.

The route takes you through a number of protected areas, beginning at the Martinselkonen nature reserve with its wetlands and abundant wildlife. For those with a particular interest in wildlife, this day gives the option to add a bear-watching excursion. Your tour continues along the border with Russia and into the Hossa National Park with its beautiful pine heathlands and with good chances to see reindeer and moose. Here you take to the water for a day's canoeing to explore a different side of the reserve. As your tour comes to a close, you take a day to visit the dramatic Julma-Ölkky canyon lake by boat, before your last evening together to reflect on your tour.

For those who love the quiet, deep forests, shimmering lakes and traditional hospitality which characterise this area, Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland is the perfect way to explore the region's landscapes, wildlife and local culture.

Arrival

Arrival* and transfer to your accommodation for the night at Martinselkonen. Guests arriving by night train should make own way (normally by taxi) to the airport for pick-up from there in connection with transfers.

Dinner and introduction to the tour before you settle in for your first night in the Taiga forest.

*NB: Transfers are in connection with fixed flight times. Note that the arrival/departure airports vary depending on tour dates due to airport maintenance works during the summer:

  • Tours starting 23.07.17 and 30.07.17: Transfers will meet Finnair flight AY399 from Helsinki to Kuusamo (KAO) arriving 19.55. Transfer time to accommodation approx. 2 hours.
  • Tours starting 06.08.17, 13.08.17, 20.08.17 and 27.08.17: Transfers will meet Finnair flight AY367 from Helsinki to Oulu (OUL) arriving 17.00. Transfer time to accommodation approx. 3.5 hours.

Following Days

Day 2 (16km with optional Bear Watching Excursion):

After breakfast to give you energy for the day, your tour begins through the nature reserve towards your accommodation for the night at Arola. The reserve protects important habitats of lichen-covered ancient spruce and swampland. On arrival at Arola, you can enjoy a dinner of local forest produce and a sauna.

You will return from hiking around 16.00 and those who wish to can join a 6-hour bear watching excursion for the evening, which gives good chances to see brown bears in their natural habitat. Sightings can of course not be guaranteed, but bears are regularly seen during the tours.

Day 3 (19km):

Today you will be hiking north along the Russian border, with several view points over into Russia. You stop for lunch in front of the fire at a wilderness hut before reaching your accommodation for the night, a wilderness cabin at the top of Kovavaara hill. Sauna is available.

Day 4 (18km):

You have a short transfer by car to the starting point of today's hike into the wild Hossa National Park, which supports a thriving population of the endangered wolverine. Wolverines are very shy and rarely seen, but with luck you may spot tracks, as well as cranes and swans on the lake. The wetland areas are easily traversed by walkboards and in August blueberries abound - perfect for a delicious energy-giving snack as you walk! Tonight you stay at a local guest house which is a former border guard station. Sauna is available.

Day 5 (13km):

You continue through the Hossa National Park, locally known for its excellent fishing, stopping for lunch at the visitor centre with its exhibition. Today you reach the cabin at Jatkonsalmi, which will be your base for the rest of the tour. Sauna is available by the lake.

Day 6:

Time for canoeing! A wonderful way to experience the landscape from a different perspective, today you take to the water in 2-person Canadian canoes to explore the lakes and rivers surrounding the cabin. You will be paddling on calm waters with good chances to see moose and reindeer. For guests who do not wish to canoe, there are trails in the area for self-guided hiking. Return to the cabin for overnight accommodation and sauna.

Day 7 (19km):

Today you visit the dramatic canyon lake at Julma-Ölkky, where a 30-minute boat trip allows you to explore the cliffs. You walk 4km to a spot with ancient rock paintings before lunch around an open fire. You hike back to your cabin accommodation for your final night (and sauna of course!).

Departure

Breakfast and transfer* to departure point for onward travel.

*NB: Transfers are in connection with fixed flight times. Note that the arrival/departure airports vary depending on tour dates due to airport maintenance works during the summer:

  • Tours ending 30.07.17 and 03.09.17: Transfers will meet Finnair flight AY564 from Kajaani (KAJ) to Helsinki departing 11.05. Transfer time from accommodation approx. 2.5 hours.
  • Tours ending 06.08.17, 13.08.17, 20.08.17 and 27.08.17: Transfers will meet Finnair flight AY366 from Oulu (OUL) to Helsinki departing 14.10. Transfer time from accommodation approx. 3.5 hours.
  • Dates
  • Prices
  • Included
  • Not Included

Dates 2017

Scheduled tours run Sunday-Sunday during August (groups may book other dates on request between May and September).

23.07-30.07.17*, 30.07-06.08.17**, 06.08-13.08.17**, 13.08-20.08.17**, 20.08-27.08.17**, 27.08-03.09.17***

NB: Please note that arrival/departure point varies depending on tour date as follows: *Arrive Kuusamo depart Oulu, **Arrive Oulu depart Oulu, ***Arrive Oulu depart Kajaani

Prices 2017

Standard Prices  
Per personGBP 852EUR 948

Optional Extras

  • Bear-watching excursion: On evening of Day 2, price €80 Euros (paid locally but must be advised on booking). NB: Not available for tours starting 20.08 and 27.08.17 as this is outside bear-watching season.

Included

Accommodation:

Sleeping accommodation is normally in shared 2-4 person rooms with shared WC/shower facilities. Showers are available on all nights except Day 3. Sauna is included on all nights except Day 1. Bed linen and towels included. Sleeping bag and liner is provided for use in the cabin on Day 3.

  • Day 1: Former border guard station guest house. As all nights, accommodation is normally shared but 1-person rooms may be offered locally if available. Rooms here may have private or shared WC/shower facilities. Sauna.
  • Day 2: Farmhouse with six bedrooms in separate building. Dinner served in traditional log house.
  • Day 3: Simple wilderness cabin heated with wood-burning stove. Shared rooms. No shower is available here but the sauna provides opportunity to wash. Outside wilderness toilet. This is the simplest accommodation used on the tour.
  • Day 4: Former border guard station guest house. Five sleeping rooms, living room, kitchen, shower and toilets.
  • Day 5-8: Simple but well-equiped cabin on Lake Jatkonjärvi in the Hossa National Park. Total 204 square metres with eight sleeping rooms, kitchen and dining area. Central heating. and sauna. Barbecue area and outside fireplace. Shared toilets and showers.
Guest House and Cabin Accommodation

Example accommodation during the tour

Meals:

All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakast on Day 8 (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner). Please let us know any dietary requirements on booking.

Guide:

Experienced and knowledgeable local guide.

Equipment:

Canadian canoe with paddles and buoyancy aids for canoeing Day 6.

Transfers:

  • Return transfer between Oulu airport, train station or bus station to start/end accommodation at fixed times.
  • Luggage transfers between accommodation and local transfers required during the tour.

Not Included

  • 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.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Required
  • Getting There
  • Combine This With
  • Groups
  • Eco Info

Required

Health requirements/experience:

Good level of general health and average fitness. You should enjoy walking and living in close proximity to others and be able to hike for up to 19km in a day over easy terrain with day pack. No previous experience required for canoeing. Recommended minimum age 15 (younger children may be possible by arrangement).

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.

Minimum number:

No minimum - tours are guaranteed to run from the first booking.

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 onward travel to by domestic flight (1 hour) or night train (10 hours). Transfers (approx. 3.5 hours) from/to the airport are included in connection with fixed times.

NB: Arrival and departure location is normally Oulu, but this varies for some tour dates due to flight schedules. Please see under "Itinerary" for details.

Without Flying:

Train from UK to Stockholm (Sweden) for ferry to Helsinki and onward train to Kajaani.

Map of Finland »

Map of Finland

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:

Groups

Max. group size 13 persons.

Eco Info

This provider has a written ecotourism policy.

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