Unusual vacations in Finland

Most people are very lucky if they see a wolverine in Finland. “There are only about 150 in the whole country,” says Christine Cheney, who booked a vacation particularly to see one. Little is known about wolverine life, and these vacations involve a lot of waiting in the quiet of a Finnish forest.
Nature-loving, socially responsible Finns are proud to share their unique wildlife and traditions. The country is a great place for unconventional – and often very progressive – ways of vacationing.
Guests who come wolverine-watching find themselves sharing a ‘pro hide’ – a wildlife watching base in a tiny hidden space equipped with just a bed, heater and toilet.
“Now I know what it is like staring at the forest in front of me for 15 hours,” says Sara Warren, who stayed in a hide on a brown bear watching vacation, “I’m seriously thinking about going back again next year.”

Off the beaten track

Not all vacations in Finland require as much dedication, but peace and quiet is offered in abundance, especially in more remote areas – like the northeast, close to the Russian border.
“This area of Finland is not the forest, there’s not many people, there are no big cities,” says Urpo Heikkinen from our Finland specialist Upitrek. His company, run by just two permanent staff members, offers cross country skiing in the area. “It’s good for activities and it’s definitely off the beaten track. We’re here because this is my home. It’s where we’ve always been; it’s where I grew up.”
It’s a place so unpopulated that they can’t always find local guides, and occasionally bring them in from the south. Your vacation helps keep very small, very local suppliers like this in business.

Out-of-season vacations

“Winter is by far the most popular season,” says Urpo, estimating that around 80 percent of his bookings come in at this time, many for skiing. But visit in summer instead and you’ll be able to explore the newly snow-free roads by car, or take to a bike.

Midsummer in Finland is particularly special. The longest day, when the sun stays up all night, is celebrated throughout the country as a great excuse for a party, it’s also a great opportunity to meet and talk to Finns at the side of a summer bonfire lit at midnight.

Foraging comes into its own during the landscape’s sudden, intense growing season in spring, swapping defrosted reindeer meat for ‘glow-fried’ salmon fish cooked at the fireside by the indirect heat of the flames. A cycling and cooking trip will introduce you to Finland’s freshest organic produce.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Finland or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Husky hiking

No out-of-season treat gives you quite as much reward as hiking with huskies. Finland’s dogs are put to work in winter months, when hordes descend on Lapland to go sledding. The dogs get a deserved rest in summer, but in autumn, when the weather isn’t too hot, they can be put back into training again. Going hiking with a husky is an excellent way to keep the dogs fit and healthy, whilst you get a real boost as they assist you up the hills on their walking harness. And don’t underestimate the joy that canine companionship will bring to your hike.
Traveler Willhemina Hagenauw went hiking with huskies and recommends that you make sure you’re fit. “The dogs are strong and you walk at a good pace,” she says.

Unusual Lapland

Despite the slew of trips on offer in Finland, the majority of people still see Finland vacations as synonymous with Lapland. It’s totally understandable to want to visit this magical place in winter – but be prepared for crowds in Rovaniemi.

“It’s the biggest place in Lapland and gets thousands of visitors in winter,” says one of our Finnish vacation specialists. “Some people don’t like it – they think it is too touristy.”

If you’re prepared for something a little more unusual, head to Oulanka National Park. Here you can hole up in a log cabin, see the Northern Lights, and try all the winter activities you want. Santa Claus might not come knocking – but you could try sending him a message via one of the reindeer at the local farm.
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: Juho Holmi] [Topbox: Hans Veth] [Cross country skiing: Timo Newton-Syms] [Husky hiking: Gary Bembridge]