Wild Taiga, located on Finland’s eastern border, is a perfect example of rich tradition and strong culture. The creation and significance for Finns of Finland’s national epoch, Kalevala, is presented to visitors in the form of fascinating events, festivities, exhibitions and interesting places to visit.
Evergreen forests, aapa bogs, clean water and rich wildlife form the second important part of Kuhmo and Suomussalmi. On guided excursions you can watch and photograph the wild animals of the forest, in particular large beasts – bears, wolves and wolverines – that are either rare or extinct in other parts of Europe.
For lovers of the great outdoors there are a number of hiking routes available throughout the year, as well as husky trekking, fishing, berry and mushroom picking, hunting, canoeing, and a variety of safaris. Lovers of nature will appreciate the upcoming Hossa National Park (in 2017) with the popular Värikallio cave paintings dating back to the Stone Age.
The location in North Finland means there is always plenty of snow in the winter for snowmobiling, reindeer sleigh rides and husky safaris. Skiing and snowshoe hiking are excellent ways of exploring the winter nature. Those seeking the thrill of speed will enjoy driving on the ice track or swimming in floating suits along rushing rapids.
Activities are available from the weekly programme or as part of week-long safaris with guaranteed international group departures or private safaris.
July is full of events. The beginning of the month sees the Ethno Music Festival Sommelo that strengthens the connection to Viena Karelia in Russia, as some of the festivities are held on the other side of the border. Following this are the Kuhmo Chamber Music concerts arranged over two weeks which attract thousands of music fans. The younger members of the family can enjoy the “Jolly July”, happy and fun summertime events with friends, parents and grandparents.
The region has a number of interesting places to visit and experience that are related to nature and culture; offering plenty of choice to suit your taste. Some of the most noteworthy places to visit include the Raatteen Portti in Suomussalmi which displays the Winter War between Finland and Russia, the large outdoor work of art The Silent People in Suomussalmi, and the Peltola Visitor Centre in Kuhmo with information about Finland’s large beasts. Those interested in the national epoch, Kalevala, should visit Juminkeko Information Centre in Kuhmo.
Wild Taiga is the bastion of relaxation, and an enchanting entity comprising of coniferous forests, sparkling waterways, rich culture, a wide variety of things to do, and friendly local people. Accommodation options vary from private lakeside hotels to wilderness cabins.
Wild Taiga is a travel trade association with 60 privately owned companies (hotels, safari companies, festivals, country side accommodations). Local inhabitants live in close contact with their natural surroundings and this familiarity and competence is made evident in the wide variety of tourism products available. These native skills are then passed to the next generation and preserved, giving travellers to the region the opportunity to observe local tradition in a family-run business during their stay. You are most welcome to meet the locals!
Top things to do
in Wild Taiga
Wellbeing in the nature
Life at a slower pace
Well-being is a much sought after achievement, it is gained through peace of mind and body. It’s where you can take a break from the hectic everyday life. In the midst of the nature of Wild Taiga it is easy to concentrate on taking care of yourself and your well-being. Fresh air and outdoor activities and even ice-swimming at the Kiannon Kuohut Spa or visiting the Hotel.
Kalevala peat sauna can deepen that experience. Another essential part of well-being is healthy food. The Fresh produce and natural ingredients such as mushrooms, berries, fish and game meat guarantees the best dining.
Wildlife watching and photography
Wild Taiga is one of the few areas in Europe where it is possible to watch and photograph rare carnivores in their natural environment, accompanied by fully trained guides. In addition to the carnivores such as bears, wolves and wolverines you can see moose, wild forest reindeer, flying squirrels, beavers and some of our biggest birds of prey.
The season for seeing these exotic animals begins at the end of April as the bears wake up from their winter hibernation and continues until the end of the autumn.
World-class chamber music
Since 1970 the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival has been an essential part of the Finnish summer. Today it is one of the biggest festivals in Finland and an internationally significant music event. The festival introduces a new theme every summer with its composers and concerts. There are regular performers but every year the festival introduces new artists.
Sommelo, International Ethno Music Festival, is an enthusiastic gathering of contemporary ethno musicians and traditional rune singers. Part of the programme takes place in ancient Viena Karelian folklore villages in Russia. During Jolly July there is something to experience every day: fun, dreams, sounds, silence, excitement, company and surprises. Concerts, music and dance courses, guided nature trips, boat trips, athletics… all especially designed for children.
Outdoor activities under the Midnight Sun
The Finnish summer is warm and light. The choices of activities of Wild Taiga in the warm season are limitless. Hiking routes and cycling paths, as well as the numerous nature activities make this area an excellent summer holiday destination. The surrounding wilderness offers possibilities for canoeing, cycling, husky trekking, fishing, etc.
There is a lot to experience in the forests and lakes during the winter. The most eastern parts of Finland are the areas which enjoy the most snow during during this time. The pristine powder snow and the crisp winter air lure you into the nature where you can ski, take snowmobile rides, fish, walk with snow shoes or just enjoy the experiences of watching a wide variety of animal in their natural habitats. You can sit back and watch the nature go by on horse back or on reindeer or husky sleighs. You can find programs for every taste and special family activities for even the youngest family members.