Alain Mayer review 13 Jun 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Beautiful landscapes! Possibility to have a sauna after hiking and to jump in a lake. Wild nature. Possibility to have coffee and sausages at fire places.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Wild and authentic nature. Beautiful landscapes , lakes, rivers, bogs... To enjoy this, better to go outside the period of mosquitos.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The Kainuu region is very sparsely populated....the benefit for them is low....except for the food bought by the guide for the group. It is an opportunity to let others know this beautiful region.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
It is a shame that this region is not better developed especially in the domains of folklore, music, fauna, flora, crafts and local products. E.g. quite impossible to see reindeers, bery liqueurs and other local specialities.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for your comments and it's nice to here you enjoyed the landscapes and nature here. I'd like to clarify a couple of things.
Regards to question 3, it's not just buying food that benefits local people but you also stayed in private, locally owned accommodations throughout the tour. Also transfer companies were local. In this case the guide came from outside the area, but most of our guides are local. Each time that our group has a lunch break at a fire place we pay Metsähallitus ("Finnish Forests and Park Service") a fee, which helps them to maintain the infrastructure in national parks and other recreation areas.
Regards to question - yes, the area is sparsely populated but also rich in culture, traditions and history. Area's touristic programs related to music, food, traditions and wildlife watching are highly appreciated both nationally and internationally and have been awarded several times during the past years. We have world famous music festivals - Kuhmo chamber music festival and Ethno music festival Sommelo, that are organized annually in July.
The area is one of the best in Europe to spot brown bears, wolves and wolverines in their natural habitat. In museums you can learn about winter war history and along the border area you can visit authentic battle sites. This is also the area where the Finnish national epic Kalevala was born, still reflected in the architecture, events, museums and the food in the area.
However, a hiking tour is not the best option the get most out of the culture as you mostly just walk from place to place in the forest. And yes, it's a pity that you couldn't see reindeer, usually that's not a problem and you can see them not just in the park, but also roaming freely on the road-sides and forests.