If you think about Finland, you probably think of Winter and lots and lots of snow. I know I did! But did you know that there is plenty to see and do in the North of Finland and Finnish Lapland in Summer and Spring as well?
I visited the towns of Ruka and Kuusamo in Northern Finland in May and discovered 5 unique activities that I’m sure you will love as well. They are all sustainable travel options that will leave the area with a low footprint, so it’s perfect for those of you that are looking into more green travel possibilities in Europe.
Let’s have a look at my favourite North Finland Spring & Summer activities:
5X THINGS TO DO IN NORTHERN FINLAND & FINNISH LAPLAND
1. Go Hiking in Oulanka National Park
The weather in Finland in May is perfect for hiking, because temperatures get warmer and the snow starts to melt. The average Lapland Finland temperature in May is 9°C (48.2°F) with highs reaching 13°C (55.4°F) on some days.
When we were hiking in Oulanka National Park, which lies party in Finnish Lapland, we had incredibly good weather and while I still had my outdoor coat on, I had the zipper open and removed the inner fleece, because the outer shell was warm enough. Finland in spring is gorgeous too with the melted snow on top of all that green!
Oulanka National Park is really Finland’s best outdoor playground. You can walk over hanging bridges, get close to impressive waterfalls and hit trails with lengths of 3 to 82 kilometers! There are tracks suitable for children and also tracks that feature demanding rock walls for experienced climbers. There is even a river route for both beginners and experienced canoeists, if you’re up for that!
Learn more about the landscape and wildlife of Oulanka at the Visitor Center and have some food before hitting the trails. Here, you can also hire snowshoe and ski equipment if you need.
2. Stay in a Typical Finnish Cottage in North Finland
The cottage in Finland is really an institution. This is the place that Finns all flock to during the holiday seasons to relax with the family.
Cottages really provide a physical and mental getaway from the daily grind as they are in the middle of nature and are often basic (although there are plenty of luxurious cottages all over the country these days).
Summer in Finland is the perfect time to spend in the cottage, and common activities include boating, canoeing, yard games, fishing and of course taking a sauna!
Visit the bottom of this article to see where you can book a cottage / cabin Finland yourself.
3. Visit a Traditional Reindeer Farm
You might think that reindeer farms are only fun to visit in Winter, when you can go sledding, but even when you get to North Finland or Finnish Lapland in Summer or Spring, there is plenty to see and do here!
We made a quick lunch stop at the Reindeer and Fishing Farm “Palosaaren Poro-Ja Kalastustila” in Kuusamo and got to meet Satu Palosaari, the sixth generation in her family to keep reindeer. She lives on this farm with her husband and children and keeps the family tradition alive. The farm was founded by her grandfather in 1920 when he built a log cabin which is still in use!
After a lovely lunch of typical Finnish salmon soup and bread, we got to feed the reindeer and learned more about them and Satu’s life while sitting around the campfire in a Finnish TeePee. Definitely a highlight of my time in Northern Finland.
4. Get Adventurous and Try Abseiling!
When the Finland ski season is over, the town of Ruka gets a bit sleepy, but the people that hosted us from the tourism board found the right activity to shake us up a bit: we went abseiling from the ski jump tower! Ahhh!!
Together with a fantastic guide from ‘Outdoor Passion Finland’, we learned some rope skills and make the step over the god knows how many meters high ski jump to lower ourselves safely to the group. But there is much more you can do here. Outdoor Passion also offers stand-up paddling, rock climbing and rope adventures such as abseiling, trapeze jumps and adventurous hikes.
5. Relax at a Finnish Sauna
We’ve said it before in our articles about Finland, but taking a Saune is about the most Finnish thing you can experience in the country. We got to visit the “Pyhäpiilon Sauna & Spa”, a large wooden cottage located on a magical looking lake. What I liked here, is that a hostess will stay with you all night and really guides you through the different processes of the sauna experience, explaining everything. They also provide you with everything from towels, toiletries, robe, slippers to even a spread of local food and drinks, so your whole stay (usually around 3 hours) is taken care of. I can highly recommend it!
While taking a sauna in Finland is something you can really do all year round, Spring in Finland gives you one extra thing you can try when you’re a bit brave: swim in the lake! In Winter, of course the lake is frozen and while they did a hole, the water will still be incredibly cold, but in late-Spring and in Summer, it can actually be nice to swim if you’re not used to the cold.
When we visited in the beginning of May, the water was still around 4°C (39.2°F), so I only managed to do a quick dip, but some people in our group went for an actual swim, if you can believe it! Proof of that can be found on the picture below:
Here are links to all the experiences and resource websites that I mentioned in the article:
- Ruka Kuusamo Tourism Board – www.ruka.fi
- Oulanka National Park Visitor Centre – ruka.fi/en/oulanka-national-park-visitor-centre
- Oulanka National Park – nationalparks.fi/en/oulankanp
- Palosaaren Poro-Ja Kalastustila (Reindeer Farm) – palosaarenporotila.fi
- Pyhäpiilon Sauna & Spa – saunatour.fi/en/saunas/pyhapiilo-sauna-spa
- Lomarengas Holiday Cottages – lomarengas.fi/en/cottages
- Rock and Lake Cottages & Outdoors – rockandlake.com
- Outdoor Passion Finland – outdoorpassion.fi
Resorts & Hotels in Ruka:
Villa’s & Cottages in Ruka:
- Matkailumaja Heikkala Cottages
- Villa Vuosselinranta
- Villa Kuusirinne B
- Villa Vuossel
- Rukan Salonkilomat
- RukaNeliö Cottage
Resorts & Hotels in Kuusamo:
- Original Sokos Hotel Kuusamo
- Holiday Club Kuusamon Tropiikki (I Stayed Here!)
- Holiday Club Kuusamon Tropiikki Apartments
- Hotel Kuusanka
Villa’s & Cottages in Kuusamo:
- Villa Porkka
- Villa Raatteenranta
- Ollilan Lomamajat
- Holiday Home Villa Kuusanka
- Holiday Home Villa Lakka
- Holiday Home Saraste
- Holiday Home Villa Kuukkeli
- Saapungin Lomat
- Holiday Home Villa Kuukso
- Holiday Home Villa Hilla
- Holiday Home Petäjälinna
Here are some tips on fun things to see and do in the rest of Finland:
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Disclaimer: I was kindly hosted in Ruka-Kuusamo, Northern Finland, by PING Festival & the Ruka! Kuusamo Tourist Association. As always, the photos and opinions in this article are 100% my own.