Kuusamo – an active holiday destination in the north with all the sweet treats
Kuusamo is a true nature lover’s and active holidaymaker’s fairytale. Kuusamo’s charming nature is rich in species and delights the traveller with its almost untouched lakes, rapids and forests. The fells, hills and gorges surrounding the forest offer unforgettable experiences to all those who appreciate nature.
Whether you're hoping for various astonishing adventures from your holiday or a more peaceful way to recharge your batteries in the heart of nature, Kuusamo is your destination.
Three national parks in the same package
Nightless nights, a long and snowy winter, and the captivating shades of autumn from glowing red to yellow. What is a better way to experience these fascinating nature adventures than a trip to a national park? And what is best, in Kuusamo, you can experience three national parks on the same holiday.
Oulanka National Park introduces visitors to the most beautiful rapids in Finland and the opportunity to spot plentiful plant and animal species, from the rare calypso orchid to the white-throated dipper, which thrives in flowing waters. The most honoured attraction of the park is the Karhunkierros trail, Finland's most famous hiking trail. This 82-kilometre route takes the hiker through the wilderness, following the waterways of the ancient forests.
The 12-kilometer Pieni Karhunkierros trail bites a piece of the Karhunkierros trail and introduces the nature adventurer to the most iconic sights of the route. The tour crosses Myllykoski rapid via the suspension bridge to the old mill, which currently serves as a wilderness hut. The route also guides the traveller to the magnificent Jyrävä waterfall, which is one of the largest in Finland. The waterfall is worthy of its name, as the echo of the rumble can be heard from far away.
Riisitunturi National Park is located in Posio, about half an hour's drive from the centre of Kuusamo. Riisitunturi is known for its magical snowscapes and its unique swamp slopes, which shine in autumn with the entire colour palette. Did you know that Riisitunturi is also home to Europe's largest spring, Lake Kitkajärvi?
In addition to hiking, the slopes of the fell and the open landscapes invite both snowshoers and skiers to experience the exclusive beauty of the park. If you want to get to know the park easily but still experience the most beautiful scenery, choose the 4.3-kilometre-long circular route of Riisin räapäsy. Admire the beautiful Ikkunalampi pond between the peaks of Riisitunturi and Pikku Riisitunturi and climb to the top of Riisitunturi to see imposing views of the picturesque Lake Kitkajärvi.
Don't forget to spend a memorable moment in the romantic Korpihilla manor cafe, which is full of old-time aesthetics.
The third nearby national park is Hossa National Park, which is mainly located in Suomussalmi, about 80 kilometres from the centre of Kuusamo. However, the park's most famous attraction, the Julma-Ölkky canyon lake, is located in Etelä Kuusamo. Ölkky is an impressive sight with a length of three kilometres and rock walls rising to a height of 50 meters. One of the walls is even decorated with an ancient rock painting.
Experience the park either by crossing the five-kilometre Ölkyn ähkäisy trail or the ten-kilometre Ölkyn ylitys trail, which both are circular routes. The routes are demanding with many ups and downs, but they reward the walker with stunning scenery from the top of the gorge.
Ruka – resort with versatile activities
About 25 kilometres north of the centre of Kuusamo is located one of Finland's most popular ski resorts – Ruka. Rukatunturi's impressive snowscapes with trees crowned by snow and the wide-spreading lush landscapes are sure to charm even the most demanding visitor. The slopes are spread over the entire area of the fell and vary from long gentle routes to challenging steep slopes – the centre also has the popular Ruka Park with jumps and rails and two children's lands for the youngest skiers in the family.
Cross-country skiing lovers can enjoy the amazing 240-kilometer ski trail network. The skiing season in Ruka is long, as the season lasts from October to April.
The services of the resort are centralised in Ruka village, which resembles a charming alpine village. The village offers everything you could dream of on holiday: versatile accommodation options from hotels to cabins and holiday apartments, and services from restaurants to shops and cafes.
Experience a unique accommodation experience right at the top of Rukatunturi, as the Ruka Peak Boutique hotel stands at an impressive height of 430 meters! Enjoy authentic game delicacies in the atmospheric Riipinen game restaurant below the Kelo slope and try the best after-ski at the Monomesta slope restaurant at the lower station of the Pessari slopes. Pizza enthusiast will fall in love with Pizzeria Ruka's northern flavors.
Although Ruka is best known for its winter activities, you can find plenty of activities in the resort’s selection in summer and autumn as well. In the snow-free period, Ruka turns into a real mountain biking paradise. The Ruka-Kuusamo area offers a total of 180 kilometres of suitable routes in fantastic fell landscapes. Rent a bike from a diverse selection of bikes, from electric bikes to fat bikes and traditional mountain bikes and hop on for a ride.
Ruka has also invested in downhill biking facilities. For those who enjoy downhill riding, Ruka Bike Park offers a real joy of speed to counterbalance the relaxing lift ride. Other must-experience attractions are the summer sled track and a year-round open Ruka Zipline, which takes visitors on the 364-meter-long cable slide, which is the longest one in Finland.
Unforgettable experiences all year round
Kuusamo's wonderful waterways, from lakes to rivers and bubbling rapids, offer an excellent setting for versatile water sports. Feel the tickle in the bottom of your stomach and unleash your adrenaline while rafting. Real daredevils can try the Wild route in a rubber boat.
A more peaceful option is, for example, stand-up paddle boarding in the enchanting scenery of Rukajärvi. Glide through the silence enjoying the peace of nature or try balance exercises or yoga while paddling! A unique option for yogis is reindeer yoga at the Kujala reindeer farm, where asanas are practiced in the middle of the reindeer, reindeer hide serving as a yoga mat.
An exceptional water experience is also river floating, during which you can relax while watching the starry sky rippling of the water as a soundtrack. Floating in the clear waters of Kitkajärvi is possible all year round.
Another unforgettable relaxation experience is a sauna bath in the Seven Star Smoke Sauna at Isokenkäinen Klubi, a half-hour drive from Ruka. The enchanting aroma of the smoke sauna together with the gentle baths wipe away the sorrows of everyday life. Peat treatments and skinny dips in the lake crown the experience.
Meanwhile, the number one destination for those looking for a delight of speed is ice-karting in the winter village of Lammintupa, about 10 kilometres from the Ruka ski resort. The warm-up lap, qualification and the final run on a slippery ice track create an exhilarating competition atmosphere. On the same trip, you can also enjoy husky and reindeer rides or take part in a snowmobile safari.
However, perhaps the most distinctive experience in Kuusamo is bear safaris. Several companies organise bear watching tours to meet the king of the forest in the summer months. During the watching, the life of the brown bears is observed from a log cabin with windows and openings for both camera lenses and binoculars. In addition to bears, you also have the opportunity to see other wild inhabitants of the wilderness, such as wolves, wolverines or golden and white-tailed eagles.
Finnair flies to Kuusamo all year round.