Imagine a wilderness of rich evergreen forests, dotted with pure water lakes and bathed in an endless sun. Hillside habitats teeming with wildlife and villages rich in Nordic cultural heritage.
These are lands where rune singers dwelled and reindeer herders live in harmony with the taiga around them. This is Finland's Wild Taiga in summer, offering a huge variety of exhilarating activities and opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.
The Wild Taiga of Finland's north eastern territories, stretching along the Russian border, is home to species of animals that can rarely be spotted elsewhere in Europe. Brown bears, wild forest reindeer, moose, wolves and wolverine inhabit the woodlands and the midnight sun means they can be observed all through the night. Myriad birds of prey, flying squirrels and beavers can also be found - through hiking trails or photographic tours, animal tracking programs or simply by following your own adventure.
The Kalevala - the national epic poem of Finland - originated in these parts, and imbues the spirit of the locals. This cultural legacy of Finland is maintained today through craft and song, celebrations and storytelling, delivered with an authenticity and warmth that makes this Finnish destination an ideal place for families to escape the stresses and chaos of daily life and discover a mythical and beautiful land.
The maintenance of tradition and conservation of Finland's unique ecosystems is key to ensuring the richness and diversity of wildlife and folklore continues here. Travelling here responsibly, couples, families and solo adventurers can not only explore a little known area of the world, but contribute to its upkeep and invest in its future. Visitors to Wild Taiga can enjoy a sensation of pure freedom, a sense of serenity and wellness, breathtaking scenery and revitalising pursuits with programs that allow for as much or as little structure as they desire.
The master of the Finnish forests is without the doubt the majestic brown bear. On a week-long bear watching holiday you'll live like a real tracker, learning to read trails with local experts, identifying plant and animal species in Martinselkonen Wildlife Reserve and camping out in a bear hide. Aside from bear and animal spotting, you'll have a chance to unwind in a sauna and enjoy a night in the silence of the taiga woods with the option of boating in the reserve.
If time is short, you can still enjoy a four-day break away from the bustle and enter the peaceful, cool pine-forested eastern Finnish plains to bear watch. You might even enjoy the company of a local award-winning photographer Antti Leinonen, documenting bears and taking a canoe ride across Lake Jamasjarvi.
Encourage the whole family to indulge in a nature escape. Put down the tablet, switch off your phones and get the kids outdoors. A family summer adventure holiday in Finland makes the most of what the long daylight hours can offer with outdoor activities galore, a chance to pick up new skills and be spoilt with delicious homemade food, pampering saunas and restful surroundings. Even the youngest children are catered for with trained guides and a safe environment. You'll go berry and mushroom picking, canoe and kayak on the lake in which you can also swim, learn to fish or pick up some orienteering tips. You can also visit the Juminkeko Kalevala Centre, an interactive celebration of the Finnish epic history and take part in nearby Kuhmo town's "Jolly July" festivities with concerts, music, dance and crafts as well as outdoor sports and games all created with children in mind. Stay in a stunning luxury log cabin structure of Hotel Kalevala on the sandy banks of Lake Lammasjärvi.
If hiking, biking and fishing float your boat, a short wildlife holiday including a night of bear watching will be ideal. Visit the "Predators on the Prowl" exhibition at Petola Nature Centre to prepare for your wildlife spotting evening then spend a day at leisure enjoying the countryside as you wish before an evening walk through the fresh and calming Taiga forests. You'll enjoy fresh food baked using wild, local ingredients and sip tea round a roaring open fire.
To enjoy eastern Finland independently on two wheels, our cycling holidays cover a variety of stunning terrain, both lakeside, through winding Kainuu hills and along the coastal territory of Ostrobothnia. In Rokua, the northernmost Geopark of the UNESCO network, you can study the landforms shaped by the Ice Age: glacial ridges, pine and lichen-glad heaths, kettle holes and small ponds filled with crystal clear water. This holiday combines the best of eastern Finland's cultural offerings, with many stops to visit churches, small traditional villages and dine in typical taverns and restaurants as well as more rugged terrain riding with breaks for hiking and lake-swimming. A hike along the Finnish-Russian border not only affords some breath-taking panoramas but also a generous dose of history.
A Wild Taiga hiking holiday is about far more than just stretching your legs; it can take in old Russian border control towers, farmlands where you will be hosted by local farmers, thick pine woodlands where wolves and wolverines reside, swamps which harbour hundreds of birds and lakelands which you will be able to canoe across to visit ancient cliffs and 4,000-year-old rock art. Berry picking, campfire cooking and tent sleeping alternate with comfortable hotels and authentic Finnish cuisine.
A self drive holiday can allow you to cover more ground, journeying from the national parks of northeastern Finland right up to Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. You will explore forests thousands of years old, visit the sites of many fraught battles of the second world war, spot wildlife and try your hand at summer sledging down some hair-raising slopes. Enjoy the quirky experience of visiting Father Christmas at Rovaniemi, even in summer, as you enter this legendary land or learn about the history and particularities of the Arctic wilderness at Arktikum Museum.
How about a summer activity holiday in Wild Taiga? The sparsely populated region of Kainuu is an ideal place to relax and enjoy untouched nature. A week-long holiday here can include hiking, cycling and canoeing in the Taiga forests and on the beautiful waterways. In evenings you get to enjoy a traditional Finnish sauna and local culinary delicacies.
With such a diverse range of wildlife and activities Wild Taiga is the perfect place for an escape into the wilderness where you can explore or relax as much as you want.