“A week of cross country skiing in Oulanka NP in the far north of Finland, staying in a gorgeously refurbished log cabin. A truly wild break. ”
Oulanka National Park | 6 days of guided cross country skiing | Staying in wilderness lodges | Northern Lights | Lake Paanajärvi | Sauna
Description of Cross country skiing in Finland
This week long cross country skiing holiday in Finland takes us to the far north of the country, near the Russian border to the white wilderness of Oulanka National Park. This is made easy by the fact that you can fly to Kuusamo, just under two hours from the park. You will meet few other people during your time in this remote spot, where we spend five nights in a beautifully restored log cabin, with a sauna, in a former Finnish loggers’ camp. In the middle of the trip, we also go a little more hardcore and stay at a more basic and rustic hostel, close to the border, to really connect with the wilds and, hopefully a chance to see the Northern Lights.
You can choose the level of cross country skiing that you want on this holiday, from beginners to more advanced. Whichever you choose, you will get instructions from a local expert skier and guide, then after that we spend each day following tracks, or loipes, that we create with our own snowmobile, travelling through ancient forest, spotting little other life except for elk or reindeer, and enjoying the frozen fragility Finland, at its finest.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Cross country skiing in Finland
Activity: Cross-country skiing has a minimal impact on the environment, leaving a much smaller carbon footprint than those activities which require engines. Existing snowmobile and ski tracks are given preference as to be more energy efficient. Other optional activities are equally green and include relaxing in a sauna and, if conditions prevail, searching for the Northern Lights. The tours and trips arranged by our local operators comply with the environmental regulations on ecological hiking given by the Forest and Park Service within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland. Guides are keen to ensure that the group operates with a ‘leave no trace policy’ wherever we go. This involves being extremely vigilant with the disposal of litter and mindful of flora and fauna that we encounter.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: We spend all seven nights in rustic wilderness cabins in the Kainuu region of Finland. The accommodation is owned and run by local people, so we can ensure that income generated stays in the area. Where meals are provided, locally sourced produce is used wherever possible. Some lodgings on this trip only use ingredients which they have caught, grown organically or sourced nearby. This might be fresh salmon, elk, seasonal vegetables or wild berries. Clients are also given the chance to eat at a local Reindeer Farm which, due to its remote location, relies on tourists to remain in business.
Community: Locally run accommodation is used and guides are as local as possible considering the remoteness of the area. This provides alternative employment opportunities, which is a valuable service in such an isolated location. With passenger transport, public means of transportation are given priority if this can be arranged conveniently. The use of public transport supports local infrastructure, employment and is more environmentally sound. Group Size and UK Office
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 12 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.