How To Have A Finnish Lapland Summer Adventure

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Scandinavia is easily one of my favourite parts of the world and I’ve been on numerous trips to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, but until recently, I hadn’t visited Finland. It’s a pretty massive country and so we decided to visit two areas, Helsinki and Lapland, or more specifically Ruka-Kuusamo. This is an area often visited in winter to go sledging, skiing and see the Northern Lights. A Lapland summer trip would be a totally different experience, with long hours of daylight and beautiful scenery that is hidden by snow in the winter. 

 

Red berries growing in the forest

 

 

How To Have A Finnish Lapland Summer Adventure

Finnish Lapland in the summer is all about the outdoors; lakes, forest, hikes, white water and wildlife. My first impression as we landed, was that it reminded me a lot of Canada – stunning scenery, tall trees and miles of untouched terrain to explore.

 

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and purchase something I’ve recommended I’ll earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay and I only use affiliate links for products/brands I have experienced and recommend. White water rapids in Finnish Lapland

 

Midnight Sun

One of the best things about Lapland in the summer is the long days. If you come during midsummer you’ll have 24 hours of daylight! We visited in August and there were a couple of hours of darkness each day, meaning you can really maximise your time and activities.

 

How To Get To Ruka Kuusamo

If you’re coming from the UK, you’ll need to fly into Helsinki and then take a connecting flight to Ruka Kuusamo. I recommend spending a few days in Helsinki as we did, it’s an awesome city.

Read about the best saunas in Helsinki.

Hayley in front of a Helsinki mural

 

How Long To Spend in Finnish Lapland in Summer

We spent four days in Ruka Kuusamo and I would definitely aim for at least 3 days, ideally longer. There is a lot to do in Finnish Lapland, and you can easily fill a week here.

 

Enrico sitting on a log outside our wood cabin

 

What To Do In Ruka Kuusamo

Now to the Lapland summer activities! There are so many great outdoor experiences in Ruka Kuusamo, but it’s also a great place to relax. Allow some time in your itinerary to enjoy the scenery and enjoy a sauna or two.

 

Hayley relaxing with a hot drink inside the wood cabin

 

See Wild Bears

There are an estimated 1500 brown bears in Finland, and it’s an incredible experience to witness them in the wild. This is definitely a great reason to visit Ruka and Kuusamo in the summer, as the bears hibernate in the winter.

 

A brown bear in Kuusamo

 

We headed into the forest with Yuri from Lammintupa and made our way to a small cabin. Bears are generally frightened of humans and tend to avoid human interaction, so the aim was to not let them know we were there. The cabin had one-way glass with sections cut out to place our cameras, so the bears wouldn’t sense our presence.

 

A brown bear in Finnish Lapland

 

We waited a while, enjoying tea and cake and soon the bears arrived. They were so beautiful, and it was incredible to see them so close up in their natural habitat, I could even hear one of the breathing as he passed the hut.

 

A brown bear exploring finnish lapland in summer

 

We spent an hour or so observing, while Yuri told us more about the bears, including the fact that they can run 60km per hour and also climb trees! Sadly we didn’t witness either of these things, but it was an unforgettable experience.

 

Go Hiking

Finnish Lapland is a hikers paradise, with endless trails and paths to explore. Head to the Oulanka National Park Visitors Centre for maps and info on the routes. In late summer the woods are full of delicious wild berries, perfect for snacking during your hike!

 

Enrico hiking across the rocks by a riverWild blueberrys with drops of rainwater

 

White Water Rafting

I’d never tried white water rafting before visiting Finland but soon discovered that it’s an excellent place to do it. There are category 3,4 and 5 rapids, with category 5 being the highest level that guides are legally allowed to take guests.

After getting kitted out in our waterproof gear, helmets and lifejackets, and following a safety briefing we got into our raft.  It all started off very relaxed as we gently paddled across a lake, then we reached the rapids and the adrenalin kicked in!

We progressed from category 3 rapids, ending at category 5, with us all managing to stay in the boat and actually row in unison. It was such a great experience and one I highly recommend in Finnish Lapland.

 

white water rafting down the river

Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism – Rafting Kitka River

 

Finnish Sauna

Sauna is as important a part of Finnish culture and no trip to Finland is complete without at least one sauna. Our awesome chalet had a sauna (find out more at the end of the article), and we also visited the most incredible sauna during our summer Finland adventure, which I highly recommend. Pyhäpiilo Sauna is located on the shore of Lake Pyhäjärvi, a gorgeous setting surrounded by forest. The sauna is available for private hire, so you can sauna in the traditional away – naked – whilst keeping your modesty! For the full Finnish sauna experience, heat up in the sauna, then head outside and jump into the lake!

 

Sunset over the lake in Finnish Lapland

Hayley and Enrico swimming in the lake

 

Horse Riding

Horse riding is a great way to explore the beautiful wilderness. We went on a 2-hour hack with Wanha Raatesalmi farm, on Icelandic horses. I’d never ridden Icelandic horses before, and what’s special about them is that they have their own special gait,  in addition to the usual trot, canter and gallop of other horses. It’s called a told and it is a little bit like power walking! I loved powering through the forest on horseback!

 

Hayley and Enrico high fiving on horse back in Finland Lapland

 

Take A Husky Hike

Just because you’re visiting in the summer, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the husky action! Though you can’t go sledging (as there is no snow), you can take a husky hike instead. Strap on a harness (the dogs are very strong!) and enjoy a walk in the woods with a furry pal. A 1-hour husky hike is £36 (40€) per person.

 

Hayley taking a husky for a walk

 

Visit A Reindeer Farm

You’ll more than likely see reindeer wandering along the roads and in the forest while in Lapland, but if you want a closer look, it’s worth visiting Kujalan Reindeer Farm. On an hour-long visit you can help feed the reindeer and find out more about these special animals. A visit to see the reindeer costs £18 (20€) per person for a 1-hour visit.

 

Two reindeer enjoying their lunch

 

Where To Stay in Finnish Lapland

We stayed in a beautiful wood cabin, complete with its own sauna. It was so cosy, and even though it was summer and not particularly cold, we still lit the fire each night.

Staying in a cosy cabin at Ruka Salonki costs from £267 (300€) per night in the summer season and sleeps up to six people.

 

Enrico outside a log cabin in the Finnish countryside

 

Thanks to Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism for hosting A Lovely Planet on our adventure in Finnish Lapland in summer.

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