Adventure in Wild Taiga
Famous for its beautiful, virgin nature, the border between Finland and Russia is home to a movie-set area made up of forests, lakes and crystal-clear rivers, perfect for both seekers of peace and adrenaline-junkies alike. The Taiga is also one of the few areas where the European version of the ‘five largest’ wild animals may be observed in their natural environment.
A unique experience in a safe environment
Recommending a safe trip in times of a world-wide pandemic is not easy, and more so when the destination is home to five of the most extravagant mammals in Europe. Known as Wild Taiga, this borderland between Finland and Russia is one of the regions with the lowest contagion rate on the continent. Covid-19 has barely touched a territory dominated by brown bears, elk, lynx, wolverines and wolves, the large wild animals that roam free through the forests of Kainuu.
Far from being put off by this, increasingly more travellers opt for experiencing adventures in an idyllic landscape that offers both peace and relaxation, along with adventure and adrenaline. The Taiga region is located in north-eastern Finland, an hour’s flight from the capital city, Helsinki, and it ranges along the Russian border on the land occupied by the Kuhmo and Suomussalmi peoples. Endless forests of evergreen trees, marshes, crystal clear waters and a rich wild life. Amongst the varied offer of guided tours, the wild animals of the forest can be observed and photographed, particularly the large beasts (bears, wolves and wolverines), which are rare or extinct in other parts of Europe. The Bear Centre has 29 glazed hides around the forest that help when observing and photographing the animals. Travellers can sleep several nights in this safe setting and they will also be able to see reindeer, flying squirrels, beavers and large birds of prey. The season starts at the beginning of April with a white blanket of snow; it continues during the green summer months and ends with the autumn colours in October.
Summertime relaxation following the rhythm of the midnight sun
The summer days never end in Wild Taiga, with 24 hours of sun during the solstice and endless relaxing activities. From fishing and canoe trips on the great lakes in the region to hiking or biking under the trees. The unique landscape encourages travellers to commune with nature and enjoy the wildlife, while collecting all kinds of berries and wild food. The open air activities are impregnated with local culture, with the rhythm of the famous Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and the Sommelo Music Festival. With a culture marked by the national Kalevala saga, there are many trips to revisit the stories about the deities from Finish mythology. It would be unthinkable to miss enjoying an authentic Finish sauna alongside the locals, as well as savouring the natural food offered by its lands and where fish, game and fungi play leading roles. For the youngest members of the family, Father Christmas’ house is always ready to leave them speechless.
Adrenaline in a movie-set winter
Powder snow, fresh air and frozen lakes. The winter landscape offers unique experiences, ranging from cross-country skiing on frozen lakes or sled rides pulled by teams of huskies through the snowy countryside, to more adrenaline-pumping activities such as white water rafting offered by Wild’s Piira. After putting on a floating suit, the adventurer moves over a frozen lake and is led to the rapids, where they slide down at great speed. Bathing in freezing water, after the compulsory sauna, building an igloo under extreme conditions and following routes using snowshoes or bicycles along the paths of Kylmäluoma are other activities to test travellers. The lack of light during the winter does not encourage the appearance of the aurora boreal, one of the greatest spectacles of nature. In Vuokatti safaris are carried out with snowmobiles at dusk to seek out these magical northern lights.