An easy-going week of guided walking in beautiful Eastern Finland
The region of North Karelia in the east of Finland has a very special character and some beautiful natural areas.
This 7-night experience gives you a chance to explore four of the area's most scenic regions. Led by a local guide, which will greatly enhance your experience of the week and understanding of the area, you will take transfers each day to hike in some of the jewels of the North Karelian landscape:
- Raesärkät Nature Reserve: A picturesque landscape of rivers, lakes, old-growth forest and ridges.
- Hiidenportti National Park: Known for its spectacular gorge.
- Tiilikkajärvi: A place of historic importance, with sandy beaches and lush wetlands.
- Koli National Park: Offering stunning views and named as Finland's best-known national landscape.
The tranquil landscapes of Eastern Finland offer a real close-to-nature experience. Photo: AKA.
Daily distances will vary from 4km up to 17km (typically 4-10km), but there is also the flexibility to choose different trails and adapt the distances depending on the nature of the group.
Experience traditional Finnish hospitality with local cuisine and sauna
Your base for the week is a traditional guesthouse. There are three possible guesthouses which may be used depending on the tour, each differing in character, but all with a strong focus on local cuisine and where mealtimes will be as much a feature of your trip as your days of hiking.
No visit to Finland is complete of course without experiencing sauna, which lies at the very heart of Finnish culture, and the nightly sauna is the perfect way to round off the day after your time out on the trails.
Local cuisine and traditional Karelian hospitality will be as memorable as the hiking. Photo: AKA.
Join a public tour or organise a trip with friends
Explore the National Parks of Eastern Finland is offered on fixed dates between May and September. Public tour dates are ideal for solo travellers (single supplement applies) or if travelling with friends.
Private tours are also possible for groups up to 14 persons on dates by request betweeen April and October. While public tours are open to adult guests only, younger participants may be possible for private groups.
Journey to Eastern Finland for an active but relaxed hiking adventure to enjoy iconic Finnish scenery with authentic North Karelian hospitality - this tranquil and welcoming region will find a special place in your heart.
Day 1: Arrival
For guests arriving by flight, there will be a transfer from Kuopio airport at 18.00 (meeting flights arriving 17.50 or earlier), from where it is around 150km (approx. 1.5 hours) to your guest house accommodation for the night.
Guests arriving by train to Nurmes can be collected from Nurmes train station at 14.00 or 20.00 (transfer time approx. 30 mins).
Check-in and dinner at the guesthouse and a chance to get to know the other participants in your group and discuss the hiking tour ahead.
Day 2: Day hike from the guesthouse
Today you will get to know the area with a hiking tour from the guesthouse taking you along village roads and forest trails.
In the afternoon, you have a brief introduction to the wonderful Finnish language (not required for travel in Finland but great fun to learn!) and the possibility to go canoeing on the lake a few hundred metres from the guesthouse.
Hiking distance: 6km; Trail: Easy.
Day 3: Hiking in Raesärkät Nature Reserve
After breakfast at the guesthouse, you have transfer for your first hiking day to Raesärkät Nature Reserve, known for its beautiful landscape of ridges, lakes and marshes.
The trail leads along the old cart road, with regular stopping places. Lunch outdoors (with packed lunch prepared from the breakfast buffet).
In the afternoon, you return to the guesthouse for sauna and dinner.
Hiking distance: 10km; Trail: Easy; Transfer time: 30 mins one-way.
Day 4: Hiking in Hiidenportti National Park
Today brings you to Hiidenportti National Park, most famous for its spectacular gorge. The trail leading up to the gorge passes through atmospheric spruce forests and meadows.
Climbing the forested hill of Kovasinvaara offers good views of the surrounding area and a traditional cabin there reflects the history of the region.
Sauna and dinner at the guesthouse in the evening.
Hiking distance: 5km; Trail: Medium/Demanding; Transfer time: 90 mins one-way.
Day 4: Hiking in Tiilikkajärvi National Park
Tiilikkajärvi has a beautiful sandy beach, known as Venäjänhiekka (Russian sand), commemorating the peace treaty of 1595.
The Park offers a powerful impression of Finnish nature, with wetlands, beaches and forested hills.
Sauna and dinner at the guesthouse in the evening.
Hiking distance: Choice of circular routes 17km, 7km or 3.2km (the most suitable trail will be chosen depending on the group); Trail: Intermediate; Transfer time: 50 mins one-way.
Day 6: Hiking in Koli National Park
One of Finland's best known National Parks, Koli offers magnificent views that typify the scenery of eastern Finland. For centuries it has been a place of artistic inspiration, and Sibelius' Fourth Symphony is said to have been inspired by his visit.
Ukko-Koli, the highest point in the part at 347 metres above sea level, is the spot to enjoy the most iconic views. Many other hilltops also offer commanding vistas of Lake Pielinen and the forest below.
Sauna and dinner at the guesthouse in the evening.
Hiking distance: 7.2km; Trail: Intermediate-Demanding; Transfer time: 45 mins one-way.
Day 6: Hiking to Toivo tower
Hike to the tower with stop for snack over open fire. On return, you will visit the Karelian village of Bomba and tsasouna (traditional village church).
Sauna and dinner at the guesthouse in the evening. This evening features a very special "smoke sauna" experience, reached by canoeing 1km across the lake (alternatively around 6.5km by car).
Hiking distance: 4km; Trail: Easy; Transfer time: 30 mins one-way.
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast and transfer at 11.00 to Kuopio airport for flight departure 14.15.
Guests departing by train can be transferred to Nurmes for train departing 06.35 or 15.40. Depending on arrangements, guests on the afternoon train may be transferred to Nurmes earlier to spend time there before train departure.
Dates & Prices»
Scheduled tour dates are Saturday-Saturday.
- May: 25.05-01.06.24
- June: 01.06-08.06.24
- July: 20.07-27.07.24
- August: 24.08-31.08.24, 31.08-07.09.24
Additional private tours for groups are also possible on other dates by arrangement between April and October. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
|Standard Prices (per person)|
|Per person (based on 2 persons sharing)||GBP|
|Single supplement (required for solo travellers)||GBP|
|Optional extras (see description below)|
|Extra night in guest house (per person, based on 2 persons sharing)||GBP|
|Airport transfer (if staying extra night(s))||GBP|
- Extra night in guest house/Airport transfer: You are welcome to add additional days before and/or after your tour if you wish. Cost for extra night includes accommodation and breakfast only - additional meals are available to purchase locally. However, please note that airport transfer is not included in connection with these extra days (guests arriving/departing by train can be transferred at no additional charge). Airport transfer price applies per group for up to 8 persons.
What's Included »
Double/twin rooms in one guesthouse during the week. The guesthouse used will depend on availability for particular tour dates - all options are traditional, small-scale and locally owned. Single occupancy supplement applies for solo travellers. Guesthouses have shared WC/shower facilities. Wood-fired sauna is available each night. Bedding and towels are provided.
All meals from dinner Day 1 to breakfast Day 8. There is a particular focus on local produce and Karelian cuisine. Please let us know any dietary requirements on booking.
Experienced and knowledgeable local guide.
- Local transfers in connection with each day's hiking as per itinerary.
- Group transfer from Kuopio airport or Nurmes train station at fixed times in connection with the start/end of the tour as per itinerary. Please note that airport transfer for guests adding extra days is not included. Please contact us for details of transfer costs if staying extra night(s).
Accommodation during the tour is at one of a selection of traditional guesthouses. Photos: AKA.
- 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 "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Alcoholic drinks.
Good To Know »
Suitable for adults with general good level of health and fitness and who enjoy walking and nature.
Daily distances are 4-17km and there is also some flexibility to vary the hiking distance depending on the group. Hiking is generally on trails and moderate terrain, though some trails may be more challenging.
What makes this "Easy-Medium"?
Hiking is guided and daily distances are moderate. In dry weather, trails can be hiked in sports shoes or walking shoes, though conditions can be changeable and walking boots are recommended in wet weather.
Accommodation is in comfortable guest house each night and you will only need to walk with a day pack.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's 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.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
This experience requires total minimum 2 persons to be confirmed to run. You are of course welcome to book as a solo traveller.
Max. group size for public tours 14 participants. This experience is also suitable as a private tour for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has a detailed written environmental policy.
Getting There »
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel 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.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Helsinki for onward travel to Kuopio by domestic flight (1 hour) or day train to Nurmes (just under 7 hours). Transfers at fixed times between Kuopio airport (2 hours) and Nurmes train station (30 mins) and the start/end guest houses are included.
Train from UK to Stockholm (Sweden) for ferry to Helsinki and onward train to Nurmes.