Cross country skiing in Finland

Cross country skiing is deeply ingrained in Finnish culture, with most Finnish children learning to take to skis soon after taking their first steps. Decades ago, it was the way to get around in the winter, and people would glide across forests and lakes on the way to work or school. In smaller communities, kids still make their way to school on skis when the snow sets in.

If you’re a beginner, Finland is a great country to start your cross country skiing journey as there are no massive peaks to contend with. It’s also perfect for those who like to take it easy and get to know the local people; after all, gliding through peaceful fells, fjords and valleys, and staying in small, locally run accommodation is the very essence of slow travel.

What do cross country skiing
vacations in Finland involve?

Our Finland cross country skiing vacations are a week long, and you’ll spend up to seven hours a day out on your skis, following tracks (known as loipes) through a wintry wonderland of ancient forest and frozen lakes. You’ll have picnic lunches around an open fire or in local wilderness huts to break up the day, and will be unencumbered by baggage, with only a small rucksack with a thermos and some personal items to carry. At the end of the day, you’ll get to soothe body and soul in a traditional Finnish sauna, as well as sample some hearty home cooking. You may get a rest day half way through your trip allowing you to either chill out round the fire back at your lodge, or check out some other winter activities.
Our Finnish cross country ski vacations are small group in style, meaning that you’ll have a band of between four and 16 fellow travelers with whom to share laughs along the trail. If you’re a beginner, there are tours that’ll show you the practical basics and give you briefings about what to expect when skiing in the wilderness.

You can either choose a point to point tour, during which that you’ll make your way further across the wilderness every day, staying in remote huts but with your luggage transferred for you, or a center based tour, where you’ll spend most of your nights in well equipped log cabins, with a couple of nights in a basic hostel near the Russian border thrown in, too.

One of the joys of our cross country vacations in Finland is their remote location; you’re unlikely to come across many other skiers in this pristine part of the world. But you are likely to come across elk. And if you’re lucky, you could spot wolverines or golden eagles.

Our top Cross country skiing Vacation

Cross-country skiing vacation in Finland's eastern wilderness

Cross-country skiing vacation in Finland's eastern wilderness

Guided country skiing vacation through remote eastern Finland

From 1140 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2024: 18 Feb, 25 Feb, 3 Mar, 17 Mar, 26 Mar
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Cross country skiing or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Where to cross country ski in Finland

Our cross country skiing vacations take in the Kainuu Region. Close to the Russian border, it’s an ancient wilderness that feels remote and untouched. Here, highlights include the frozen wetlands and snow covered ancient forests in Hossa National Park, Martinselkonen Nature Reserve and the renowned Oulanka National Park.

Where will I sleep?

You’ll either stay in comfortable, en suite rooms in a log cabin hotel, or in simple wilderness huts with shared facilities, where you could have the chance to experience a Finnish shower or get involved in cutting river ice. In either case, they’ll have fireplaces and saunas to ensure that you stay toasty warm. There’ll also be plenty of time to explore the local food culture, with fresh fish, berries and elk all on the menu.

What else can I do?

As well as visiting a reindeer farm, our tours also allow you the free time to try out some non-ski related activities. These could include snowshoeing, a husky safari or fat biking – where you get stuck into the terrain on special bicycles with super wide tires. You’ll also have the chance to sample local produce and craftwork, supporting practices that have endured here for hundreds of years – things to return home with include Karhunkynsi tableware and traditional smoked elk.

This being the north of Finland there’s a good chance of viewing the Northern Lights as you revel in the snowy landscapes. They can be seen from autumn to Easter but it’s anyone’s guess as to when they’ll appear.

When to go cross country
skiing in Finland

The best time to go cross country skiing in Finland is between mid January and the beginning of March. At this time the snow is soft, the trails are at their best, the landscape still Christmas card pretty and the days are getting a little longer.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Ari Helminen] [Intro: Ninara] [What do they involve?: Jarkko Laine] [Where to cross country ski in Finland: Timo Newton-Syms] [When to go: Dave_S.]