Culture in Nature in Arctic Lakeland 5 days – Wild Taiga

Photo: Bear, Staffan Widstrand
Photo: Bear, Staffan Widstrand

Flying upon arrival Helsinki-Kuopio, upon departure Kuusamo-Helsinki

This tour from Lakeland to Lapland combines the highlights of Finnish summer. The evergreen taiga forests are one of the best areas in the world to watch and photograph rare, wild carnivores safely in their natural environment, accompanied by fully trained wilderness guides.

The local everyday culture and way of life lie at the core of the destination, with the close relationship with nature constituting a strong dimension. The deepest roots of Finnish culture go back to the national epic of Kalevala. The tradition of Kalevala lives and thrives today with a cultural offering consisting of the world-renowned chamber music festival, charming locally arranged events, activities and places to visit, especially in Kuhmo, the UNESCO City of Literature.

The location right beside the eastern border has made areas also places of significant historical interest with its battlefields. The exhibitions of the Gateway to Raate and the Winter War Museum tell of the different phases and equipment of the war in a captivating way. The surrounding area includes many reconstructed battle fields and their monuments from the Finnish Winter War.

Day 1

Arrival to Kuopio airport.

Transfer to Guesthouse Puukarin Pysäkki, accommodation & Karelian dinner with kantele music

Puukarin Pysäkki is a dream destination for those who appreciate locality, nature, unique food, and experiences. Our charming rooms exude warmth and country romantic atmosphere. The surrounding peace of nature and slow rhythm relaxes both body and mind and promotes refreshing sleep. We offer authentic local food made from pure ingredients in the Karelian way. The delicacies are eaten slowly and together while enjoying around a large refectory table and listening to traditional kantele music.

Day 2

Breakfast and transfer to Kuhmo.

Visit to nature centre Petola

The Visitor Centre of Petola in Kuhmo offer information on the Finnish large carnivores: bear, lynx, wolf and wolverine. The Predators on The Prowl –exhibition acquaints the visitor with the size and looks, as well as the sounds and habits of the large predators. In the auditorium of the visitor centre you can see AV –presentations from a series entitled “Nature unlimited” may be viewed:  “ Large carnivores in the border region”, “ The Friendship Park “ or “ Life in old-growth forests “.

Transfer to Bear Centre, early dinner & evening at the Bear House

Bear Centre offers some of the best opportunities anywhere

in the world to view wild brown bears safely at close quarters. Some evenings several bears may be seen at the same time and the nearest bear may be a few meters from the ”Bear House”.

Transfer to Hotel Kalevala

Hotel Kalevala is a unique, small, private lakeside hotel only 3 km from Kuhmo centre. Surrounded by ancient forests and crystal clear lakes, Hotel Kalevala is nestled in a true nature wonderland. Hotel Kalevala is popular with adult clients, far from the hustle and bustle and noises of the cities.

Day 3


Visit to Juminkeko, an information centre for the Kalevala and Karelian culture

The summer exhibition in 2021 features the kalevalian works of the Persian illustrator and translator Mercedeh Mohseni. In her paintings she deals with the Kalevala, the internationality and the world epics.

Nature walking tour (2-3 h) & lunch

Relaxing hiking tour through pine forests, peat bog and depending on the water level, Harakkasaari island. Follow the paths to the island where you can walk when the water is low enough. Your guide will tell you about Taiga forest and you can pick and eat fresh berries on your way (depending on berry season). Tour ends with lunch by open fire in Kota teepee at the Hotel Kalevala beach.

A concert at Kuhmo Arts Centre (In June-July)

The Summer Musicians is a tradition in Kuhmo, where young local music makers are engaged to perform at free concerts and other organised events throughout June and July.

Accommodation in Hotel Kalevala, sauna & dinner

(Optional: Peat sauna. Feelings of relaxation and calm are the goals of peat sauna! Peat saunas relax your body and relieve stress.)

(Alternative programmes in Kuhmo: During Kuhmo Chamber Music 11.-25.7.2021; a concert, visiting one of the exhibitions or a special guided tour. During Sommelo Ethno Music Festival 30.6.-4.7.2021, a concert)

Day 4

Breakfast, check-out and the transfer to Suomussalmi, Soiva Metsä

Soiva Metsä (Musical Forest) is a unique nature trail that also offers a cultural experience. Along the trail you can play large instruments built in a forest close to Suomussalmi.

Transfer to the Silent People, lunch

Come and enjoy lunch in an enchanting cultural landscape and let the Silent People work their magic. Taste the delicious flavours of as many local ingredients as possible in meals served at the Meadow cottage. Adapted from the gastronomic heritage of Kainuu, our meals are already a source of pleasure to those who enjoy their food. The moment of full stomach includes also the story of the Silent People and this unique place as well as lovely singing by the Hostess of Meadow Restaurant.

Transfer to Saija Lodge

Saija Lodge is built directly by the shore of the idyllic Lake Jokijärvi and is surrounded by forest. Our manor is a wooden-built hotel, which offers accommodation, restaurant services and individual or guided activities all year round. Saija’s kitchen is passionate about using only the cleanest, locally and domestically sourced ingredients.

Canoeing tour at the Lake Jokijärvi (3–4 h)

Accommodation & dinner in Saija Lodge

(Alternative programme: after check-out, transfer to Raatteen Portti Winter War Museum – Soiva Metsä – The Silent People (lunch) – Saija Lodge (accommodation, sauna & dinner)

Day 5

Breakfast, check-out, transfer to Kuusamo airport


The tour includes:

  • Pohjolan Matka´s private coach and driver for 5 days as per itinerary
  • accommodation in twin/dbl rooms 4 nights (Puukarin Pysäkki, Hotel Kalevala x 2, Saija Lodge)
  • 4 x dinner (Puukarin Pysäkki, Bear Centre, Hotel Kalevala, Saija Lodge)
  • 2 x lunch (1 lunch by open fire in the forest, 1 lunch soup at Silent People)
  • the bear watching evening at the Bear House
  • Nature walking tour (Hotel Kalevala)
  • Canoeing tour (Saija Lodge)
  • Soiva Metsä tour
  • The Summer Musicians free concert at Kuhmo

For additional charge:

  • Other concert tickets (during Kuhmo Chamber Music 11.-25.7.2021 and Sommelo Ethno Music Festival)
  • visiting the exhibitions
  • at Hotel Kalevalassa Peat Sauna 15€ / person
  • other activities and tours
  • other meals, drinks
  • single room
  • travel insurance


The services are on request and the rates vary depending on dates and the group size.

They will be checked when offers are made.

The programme is preliminary. We reserve the right to make alterations to the programme and/or to the itinerary.