Our staff will respond to your query promptly and provide detailed information to your questions.

    6 days - Bear Safari, Wildlife and Hiking in Finland

    This self-drive itinerary takes you from North Karelia in Finnish Lakeland through the sparsely populated taiga forests of Finland. There are several national parks with their hiking, canoeing and fishing possibilities easily accessible from the route. Close to the Russian border you can participate in bear or wolverine observation tours overnight which give you a unique chance to watch and photograph these animals safely from the comfort of your cosy cabin with panorama windows.

    Accommodation varies from hotel rooms to apartments and stylish cabins. Each night you will get to enjoy local delicacies, and the genuine Finnish sauna is also available on most nights.

    Highlights include

    • Genuine Finnish sauna on most nights
    • Experience Karelian hospitality
    • Visit the sparsely populated taiga forests of Finland
    • National Parks and wildlife around every corner
    Day 1
    Arrival at Joensuu
    Day 2
    Koli National Park and Bomba Karelian Village
    Day 3
    Karelian Culture and Brown Bears
    Day 4
    Arctic Giants
    Day 5
    Nature-based activities and relaxing
    Day 6
    Depart from Kainuu or Oulu
    Start Place
    End Place
    Kajaani, Finland
    Country Visited
    6 Days
    Start Date
    Travel Style

    Please note that all our itineraries, inclusions, dates and prices displayed on this website may change at any time. If you book an itinerary today and have this confirmed it will be the itinerary that is delivered to you. However, the online itinerary on our website may change in the meantime.

    As a Certified B Corporation, 50 Degrees North has designed this tour using handpicked local hoteliers and suppliers who share our ethos of delivering services and activities of high social and environmental standards.

    The CO2-e per person per day of all tours is carefully measured following each season. We fully offset all emissions of our tours on your behalf, and we constantly look at ways to reduce emissions where possible.



    Self-drive itinerary with hire car. Pick up is at Joensuu Airport and drop off is at Kajaani or Oulu airport.

    • All accommodation in hotels and log cabins with daily breakfast
    • Hire car: VW Golf or similar - manual, including free mileage,CDW & GPS with one-way fee
    • Guided half-day hike in Koli
    • Entry to the SPA at the Break Sokos Hotel Bomba
    • Overnight Bear watching tour
    • 24-hour emergency service
    • Taxes and service fees
    Not Included
    • Meals not noted above
    • If you wish to hire an automatic car, these are 'on request' and can be difficult to obtain. Please seek further advice with us
    • International Flights
    • Flights within Finland


    Day 1 - Arrival at Joensuu

    Arrive in Joensuu either with train or flight from Helsinki and pick-up your rental car.

    Karelians are known for their hospitality, joy of life and music. Even unexpected guests are warmly welcomed with serving the best possible food and drink. Poem-singing used to be a way to retain and forward information for new generations. And the story goes on.

    While in town, visit the Taitokortteli handicrafts quartier, Joensuu: workshops, cafe, arts, exhibitions, hand made local souvenirs.

    Direct flights from Helsinki fly into Joensuu. Alternatively you can also take the train from Helsinki.
    Boutique Aparthotel Lietsu

    Day 2 - Koli National Park and Bomba Karelian Village

    After breakfast, head to the Koli mountain and National Park, for a guided half-day hike to explore the most photographed scenes in North Karelia. From the top of the fell, Finnish national scenery opens up in front of you over the lake Pielinen. These views have inspired artists and painters for decades. The viewing point is easy to reach from the parking place on the top and the hike can be adjusted to suit different skill levels.

    Continue to Bomba Karelian Village in Nurmes and the Spa hotel where you will stay for the night. During the summer months, it may be possible to join a Karelian pasty workshop at the hotel, a Finnish delicacy enjoyed around the country.

    1 Breakfast
    Joensuu - Bomba ca. 150km
    Sokos Break Hotel Bomba

    Day 3 - Karelian Culture and Brown Bears

    Continue your journey via Kuhmo to the village of Lentiira for overnight Bear Watching Experience.

    Kuhmo is a small village where you can see the Finnish national epic Kalevala reflected in the architecture, events, research, museums and the food. You can learn more about Kalevala and Karelian culture at the Kalevala Information Centre Juminkeko. For two July weeks Kuhmo is full of guests enjoying the annual Chamber Music Festival which is famous and appreciated throughout the world. Here you can also visit the Visitor Centre Petola, and get to know the Finnish large carnivores: brown bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. Here you can learn how they look and sound like, what their tracks look like and how they move.

    The beautiful village of Lentiira is your next stop, and tonight you will stay at the Bear Centre viewing cabins. The probability to see a bear is high, 90-99 % depending on the month. Some evenings numerous bears come at once, and often some can be seen in close proximity to the Cabin, only a few meters away. The Bear season starts at the beginning of April with a white blanket of snow, continuing through the green summer, ending with the vibrant colours of autumn in October.

    1 Breakfast
    1 Dinner
    Bomba - Bear Centre ca. 150km
    Bear Centre

    Day 4 - Arctic Giants

    For the final leg of your journey, continue to the Arctic Giant Birdhouse hotel, where you can relax in style while enjoying all that the Finnish nature has on offer.

    For a long time, there have been folk tales about giants and mythic formidable men in the Paltamo and Oulujärvi region. These stories are partly based in truth, and now this beautiful hotel stylish cabins, serves as a great base for a wide range of activities in the surrounding area.

    1 Breakfast
    Bear Centre - Arctic Giant ca. 130km
    Arctic Giant Birdhouse Hotel

    Day 5 - Nature-based activities and relaxing

    The Kivesvaara surroundings feature a wide variety of nature trails of different lengths and challenges to suit everyone's taste. The trails vary between 2 to 15 kilometres in length. One of the nature trails leads to a place called Pahalouhos, where it is said that the giants once built their castle. You can also hop-on a fatbike to explore the trails of the giants, or try your luck at fishing. The area surrounding the Kivesvaara hill is home to several great fishing spots. You can choose between the rapids right next to a ridge, River Kongasjoki or Lake Kivesjärvi.

    1 Breakfast
    Potential local driving
    Arctic Giant Birdhouse Hotel

    Day 6 - Depart from Kainuu or Oulu

    After breakfast, drop-off your rental car either at the Kajaani airport (60km) or Oulu airport or train station (130km), and continue onwards with your homebound journey.

    1 Breakfast
    Arctic Giant - Kajaani airport (60km) or Oulu airport or train station (130km), and continue onwards with your homebound journey
    Dates & Prices

    All prices listed are per person, based on two people sharing a room. Prices are indicative due to the current uncertainty across Europe with increasing energy and volatile fuel costs.

    Valid From
    Valid To
    From Price
    1 May 2024
    30 Sep 2024
    1 May 2024
    30 Sep 2024
    AUD 3,814
    On request
    1 May 2025
    30 Sep 2025
    1 May 2025
    30 Sep 2025
    AUD 4,118
    On request

    Important Information

    For a greener option, please ask us about changing your vehicle to a 'green' car; either a diesel or a hybrid.

    Interactive Tour Map

    Finland Snow Forests

    Visiting The Green Planet's Taiga Forests

    Sir David Attenborough's latest BBC series 'The Green Planet" re-visits the taiga forests of Finland. This subarctic forest lies just south of the Arctic Circle and is a playground for hikers, bikers, and boaters, in summer and winter.

    Read Article
    Jussi Hellsten, Visit Finland

    Magical Midsummer in Finland

    Midnight sun and sauna, the perfect ingredients to celebrate Midsummer in Finland.

    Read Article
    credit: Jørn Tomter

    Experiential travel: Meeting indigenous Sámi people in the Nordics

    Meeting indigenous Sàmi people in Norway, Sweden and Finland is at the heart of meaningful, authentic and experience-rich travel. Take a look at some of our suggestions for how and where to meet and learn more about the only indigenous people of the European Union.

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    View all Inspiration


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