Wildlife Watching

7 nights / 8 days

Helsinki / Tampere / Oulu / Rovaniemi / Kuusamo / Kajanni / Kuopio / Lappeenranta

This self-drive itinerary takes you through the sparsely populated taiga forests of north-eastern Finland. There are three national parks and two national hiking areas with their hiking, canoeing and fishing possibilities easily accessible from the route. 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. In an information center you’ll get to know Finland’s large carnivores – bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. Accommodation varies from hotel rooms to apartments and cozy cabins. Each night you will get to enjoy local delicacies and the genuine Finnish sauna is also available most nights.

Day 1: Arrival in Helsinki       

Arrival in Helsinki according to your own itinerary. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, was founded in 1550 by the Swedish king. In 1917, Finland gained its independence and Helsinki became the capital of the new republic. Helsinki is a vibrant, modern city, surrounded by water.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Helsinki city centre

Day 2: Helsinki – Hämeenlinna – Tampere (175 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy sightseeing to discover Helsinki, we recommend the Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral and the Temppeliaukio Church. Start your self-drive vacation in direction of Hämeenlinna, birthplace of the composer Jean Sibelius, to visit its beautiful Medieval castle. Continue north passing by the Aulanko’s park until you reach Tampere, the third largest city in Finland. There are 200 lakes and ponds in Tampere and a total of 450 in the entire region. We recommend visiting the Tammerkoski rapids that run through the city.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Tampere

Day 3: Tampere – Vaasa (240 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Start your journey visiting the village of Stundars in Korsholm, a large open-air museum and a living centre of culture and art. In the afternoon, arrival in Vaasa, located at the narrowest point of the Gulf of Bothnia, only 80 km from Umeå in Sweden. Vaasa is known to be Finland’s sunniest town. The sea with its countless islands makes it a perfect place for boating, fishing and exploring the archipelago. Spend the night overlooking the sea from a comfortable Glass House.
Accommodation at Kalles Inn.

Day 4: Gulf of Bothnia – Oulu (315 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Time to discover the region including Jakobstad with its famous ‘School Gardens’. The park is an architectural masterpiece and an outdoor stage for summer events. Pass by Kalajoki, a well-known tourist attraction due to long sandy beaches, before arriving in Oulu. Visiting the Rotuaari Pedestrian Street and Market Square will immerse you in the city’s atmosphere. Don’t miss the City Park’s Hupisaaret islands and the Tietomaa Science Centre.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Oulu

Day 5: Lapland: Oulu – Rovaniemi (225 km)

Breakfast at the hotel and enjoy your trip through Finnish Lapland until you arrive in its capital, Rovaniemi, situated close to the Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi is the hometown of Santa Claus who can be met on any day of the year at the Santa Claus Office in the Arctic Circle.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Rovaniemi

Day 6: Rovaniemi – Kuusamo (205 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will continue your journey crossing a beautiful landscape of hills, rivers and lakes. Ranua is located 80km south of Rovaniemi; here you can visit the Rauna Wildlife Park where you will have the chance of seeing Nordic and Arctic animals. Arrival in Kuusamo located in the east of Finland in Oulu Province on the border with Russia.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Kuusamo

Day 7: Kuusamo – Kajaani (250 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Leave Kuusamo in southern direction passing by the Kajaani region in the centre of Finland. Summer days in Kajaani are very long, thanks to the Midnight Sun. Here you can enjoy a wildlife watching safari. Visit the Kajaani Castle ruins; the castle played an important role in the early history of the town. Kajaani offers excellent opportunities to those interested in culture, for example theatre and concerts arranged in Kaukametsä’s concert hall.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Kajaani

Day 8: Kajaani – Kuopio (170 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will be back in the Lake’s region; you can pass by Koli located along the banks of the Pielinen Lake where you can enjoy an extraordinary view. On your arrival in Kuopio we recommend a visit to the Orthodox Church Museum of Finland with its beautiful icon collection. Boating, hiking and other forms of outdoor recreation are all found here.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Kuopio

Day 9: Kuopio – Savonlinna – Lappeenranta (270 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. On your way south you can visit the Orthodox Monastery of New Valamo in Heinävesi, established in 1940 that has developed into a significant centre of Orthodox culture in Finland in recent decades. The monks live the communal spiritual life of a monastery which includes the principle that the monastery should earn its own living. Its principal source of livelihood nowadays is tourism. Continue your trip to admire the breath-taking scenery in Savonlinna which is famous for its annual opera festival.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Lappeenranta

Day 10: Lappeenranta – Porvoo – Helsinki (225 km)

Breakfast at the hotel and enjoy your day driving on the King’s Road, an old postal route dating back to the 14th century by which Swedish kings plundered eastward into Russia, and by which Russian tsars plundered back. Continue to Helsinki along the beautiful Gulf of Finland passing by Kotka and Porvoo, cities marked by Russian influence. Enjoy your evening in Helsinki.
Accommodation in 3*hotel in Helsinki city centre

Day 11: Departure from Helsinki

Breakfast at the hotel and day at leisure before your departure according to your own itinerary.