Discover the unspoiled natural beauty and native wildlife of the wild taiga forests that carpet Eastern Finland and the Russian border on this fly-drive holiday. Spend your nights in lodge hides to make the most of the rare opportunity to photograph and get up close to Europe’s last brown bears and learn about Finland’s local carnivores, from wolves and wolverines to lynx.
Arrive to pick up your hire car from Kajaani airport. Check into Hotel Sokos and explore the town.
After breakfast, head north to Erä-Eero in Lieksa. Finland’s Wild Taiga stretches across the north east of the country and is a rural region steeped in rich cultural traditions and history. Set off in the afternoon to a small hide lodge where you’ll spend the night on the watch for prowling wolverines – this part of wilderness offers the best spotting opportunities for these solitary arctic mammals in Finland. (L,D)
Return from the hide in the morning and drive to Kuhmo, close to the Russian border to use Kuikka lodge as your base, nestled deep in boreal forest next to Lake Kuikka. After an early dinner, depart to tonight’s wildlife hide for another night in the wilderness. Packs of the Gray Wolf live and roam through the eastern forests and are a common sight from this hide. Keep eyes open and cameras focussed for lone bears and wild bird species that regularly make an appearance. (B,L,D)
Tuck into breakfast upon returning to Kuikka lodge in the morning and learn about the lives and conservation of the creatures you’re been searching for with wildlife program talks. Take advantage of an available room to relax and recuperate during the day, before venturing back to the wildlife hide to spend another night watching out for Eastern Finland’s large carnivorous residents. (B,L,D)
Head deep into the Kainuu countryside and embark on the drive to Martinselkonen Wilderness Centre in Suomussalmi, operating in the old ‘Pirttivaara’ border guard station and run by a company specialising in bear and wildlife watching tours. Another night in a hide is in order; enjoy the quiet solitude of the protected environment filled with ancient spruces covered in beard moss and home to substantial populations of Finland’s native Eurasian brown bears. (B,L,D)
Return to Martinselkonen in the morning and enjoy the peaceful nature of retreating into untouched rural areas. Rest up after breakfast, ready to depart in the afternoon for your last night in the wild forest hide near the border zone. From your vantage point among the trees, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot rare black kite, white tailed eagles and golden eagles that nest in the area. (B,L,D)
Check out from Martinselkonen after breakfast, before journeying to Kajaani airport to fly back to the UK. (B)
7 day tour, from £1819 per person
- Flights in economy class to Kajaani with Finnair via Helsinki from London Heathrow
- 6 days car hire in a Group A Citroen C1 or similar with CDW
- Accommodation as stated with breakfast
- Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
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