Brown Bears of Finnish Lakeland
- Duration:3 nights
- Suitable for: Ages 18+ with a reasonable level of physical fitness. See our terms for further information
- Transfers: Return airport transfers
- Accommodation: 2 nights' accommodation at the Hotel Kalevala; 1 night in remote wilderness hide
- Meals: 3 breakfasts, 2 dinners, 1 picnic dinner
- The following activities are included: Visit to Petola Nature Centre, overnight bear watching safari in wilderness hide
- Free use of bicycles and rowing boat during your stay
This wildlife adventure will take you close to the Russian border to the small town of Kuhmo, which is surrounded by the stunning wilderness of the Finnish Wild Taiga. This is brown bear country and during this short break you will spend the night in a remote hide in the 'no man's land' between Russia and Finland keeping watch for these exceptional animals.Read more
The hide is surrounded by spruce pine, birch trees and literally nothing else. All you have to do is just relax and lean back in your comfortable viewing chairs, waiting for the wildlife to appear - hopefully you will catch sight of the brown bears that call this part of Finland home. If you are lucky you might even see wolves, wolverines, lynx and eagles in addition. Your expert guide will keep you fully informed throughout.
Either side of your time in the wilderness your base is the delightful Hotel Kalevala where you'll have the chance to visit the informative Petola Nature Centre next door.
Build in some extra time at the end of this trip if you cannot get enough of the amazing wildlife that this area has to offer. We will help you to make the most out of your stay in Lapland and send you home full of unforgettable memories and impressions to share.
Day 1 Arrival and welcome
You will be met at Kajaani Airport for a 90 minute transfer to your hotel in Kuhmo, the very comfortable Hotel Kalevala.
This small town is situated close to the Russian border and is known for being the heart of Karelian culture.
The region is home to fantastic wildlife, as well as more than 600 lakes and a beautiful area of untouched wilderness, the Wild Taiga, one of the best places in Europe to see brown bear.
Today you will enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant. Feel free to relax and take advantage of the free sauna and jacuzzi facilities this evening.
Day 2 Petola Nature Centre and Overnight in the Hide
After breakfast in the morning you will join the welcome briefing where you can hear about the exciting activities that lie ahead.
Following this, you will visit the Petola Nature Centre, which is next door to the hotel and has several exhibitions which provide a great insight into the local wildlife and habitat. Learn about the Kainuu region and the carnivores of Finland, such as bear, lynx and wolf.
You will travel even closer to the Russian border where the real adventure begins as your base is situated in 'no man's land' between Russia and Finland.
Your guide will lead you deep into the forest to the hide where you will be spending the night. The hide offers guests an excellent base from which to wait for bears to appear, with all guests getting a window seat and the chance to capture the wilderness on camera.
There will be a small picnic dinner of sandwiches and snacks available as you patiently wait for the animals to go about their business in the company of your expert guide.
The chance to spend the night in such a remote hide is something that few people will ever experience and offers a real taste of adventure. Bunk beds and sleeping bags are provided.
Day 3 Free day and optional activities
After your night of observation there will be an early start this morning to get you back to Hotel Kalevala for between 6 and 8am. Here you can enjoy a well-deserved breakfast in the hotel and a hot shower.
The rest of the day is then free for you to spend as you wish. You can catch up on any missed sleep (bear watching can mean that you sacrifice some hours of rest) but if possible we recommend that you continue to enjoy the beautiful scenery and explore further.
There is a lot to discover in the area and the hotel offers you the chance to explore independently by bike or rowing boat. There are also guided hikes available and the chance for you to continue your wildlife exploits with an evening elk safari. Please see the 'personalise' section of the holiday page for details of the available options.
Dinner is included in the hotel tonight.
Day 4 Depart or extend your stay
Enjoy a final breakfast in your hotel this morning before getting ready for your transfer to the airport.
If you don't want to leave just yet, why not extend your stay at the Hotel Kalevala, take part in a some extra tours, or just relax for a couple of days. There is still plenty to discover!
We can also help you arrange extensions in Helsinki, which offers a bounty of experiences for visitors.
Included in price
Located in Kuhmo, close to the Russian border in Eastern Finland, the Hotel Kalevala is surrounded by stunning scenery and beautiful wilderness.
It is just steps away from the shores of the beautiful Lake Lammasjärvi and the hotel building is in a unique setting which mirrors the nature that surrounds it, offering breathtaking views out over the lake. With 47 rooms, the hotel provides a quiet, relatively intimate atmosphere that compliments its surroundings.
- A restaurant that offers traditional and international specialities, with stunning views out to the lake
- Lounge area with fireplace
- A summer terrace
- Two traditional saunas: Peat sauna & Infra-red sauna (supplement payable locally)
- Jacuzzi for up to 7 people
- A variety of massage treatments are available from the on-site spa area
- Free Wi-Fi
The Classic room has either a double or twin beds and the size is approximately 21m². The facilities include shower and WC, hairdryer, flat TV, radio, minibar and Wi-Fi.
These are two standard rooms with interconnecting doors and each room has a size of 19m². The facilities in each room include a shower and WC, hairdryer, flat TV, radio, minibar and Wi-Fi.
The superior room offers an amazing lake view and is 21m² in size. The facilities include shower and WC, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, flat TV, radio, minibar, coffee/tea making facilities and Wi-Fi.
The hide is located in no-man's land, close to the Russian border. Fitted with bunk beds, there is room for 12 people, with mattresses and sleeping bags provided.
Equipped with comfortable viewing chairs, each with their own window and photography hole, the hide offers panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness. A dry toilet is located within the hide.
Personalise this tour
European Elk SafariFrom £79pp
Join the famous Elk Safari in the evening on day 3, or if you've booked an additional night, you might even want to do the safari at dawn.Read more
Look out into the beautiful surroundings of the evergreen forest and keep your eyes peeled for the largest member of the deer family, the European Elk. On this guided tour you might even see the rare Wild Forest Reindeer, as well as eagles and wolverines. Transfers and coffee are included and the tour lasts between three and four hours.
A minimum of two people are required for this tour to operate.
Hiking tour - brown bear's tracksFrom: £68pp
If you can't get enough of learning about bears, then this is the perfect tour for you.Read more about this activity
On your free afternoon on day 3, or if you have booked some extra nights, you can join this two to three hour nature walk in the Finnish Taiga. Listen to stories about the Finnish bear, whilst discovering the secrets and tracks of this fascinating predator. Your guide will share all of his knowledge and will teach you how to read their tracks and traces, such as marks on the trees.
Coffee will be served during your hike.
A minimum of two people are required for this tour to operate.
Bicycling & hiking tourFrom: £35pp
If you would like to do something active and exciting, why not join this tour during your free time on day 3.Read more about this activity
During this three hour guided tour, you will enjoy a mix of 7km of biking and 2.5km of hiking through beautiful woodland scenery. You will hike along the Kämärä forest path, which winds along the wooded hill of Pönkävaara. A coffee break is included.
A minimum of two people are required for this tour to operate.
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
|Departure dates between|
Mon 01 May 2017Enquire
Sat 30 Sep 2017
|Adults£ 540||Single Adult£ 600|
Next year's provisional dates and prices
You can make a pre-reservation to secure your holiday at this stage by paying a deposit but, the provisional departure dates, prices and itineraries remain subject to change. We will contact you when the final dates, prices and itineraries are confirmed and you will have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. If you decide not to travel we will refund your deposit. Our Travel Experts will happily provide you with full terms and a complete quotation.
|Departure dates between|
Mon 30 Apr 2018Enquire
Sat 29 Sep 2018
|Adults£ 570||Single Adult£ 635|
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Minimum of 1 and maximum of 32 people
Most of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate. Minimum numbers are detailed on each holiday page and are always approximate. Group sizes for tailor made holidays will vary for each of the activities. For private departures you may also be joined by other guests during the activities unless you have discussed specific private activities with us.
If your selected date has not yet reached minimum numbers you will be informed at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date has not reached the required minimum numbers nine weeks before your scheduled departure date we will contact you and discuss the various options available to you. We will always do all we can to operate a holiday and in some cases we may be able to operate the holiday by combining your itinerary with that of other guests for some activities (this may mean that the maximum group size is increased but this will be discussed in full with you).
If we are unable to operate the holiday then you will be offered the chance to transfer to an alternative holiday or date (subject to availability). If the alternative is more expensive you will be asked to pay the difference, if it is cheaper then you will be reimbursed. You will also be offered the option to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid.
Whilst Artisan Travel only sells holidays to those aged 18 years and over on a small selection of holidays there may be those under the age of 18 who have booked with other companies and where our local supplier also allow those under 18 to participate (additional activities during tailor made holidays for example). Our travel experts will answer any concerns you may have in this regard.
Medical History and advice
You must inform us at the time of booking if any of your party has a disability, medical or behavioural conditions which could affect their own participation in the holiday or indeed that of the other people on the holiday.
We cannot be held responsible for any incident or event arising from your failure to do so.
Experience and fitness
Any activities included in your itinerary are all designed for beginners. Full instruction and tuition is provided for all activities and you do not need to have any previous experience. For example you need never have set foot on a pair of skis of any kind before a cross-country ski tour. We have adults of all ages and fitness levels taking part in our holidays.
We do highlight certain itineraries where an increased level of fitness is required.If you have any questions at all with regards to fitness levels please get in touch and talk to one of our experts. You can find further details in our trip preparation section online. You must inform us at the time of booking if any of your party has a disability, medical or behavioural conditions which could affect their own participation in the holiday or indeed that of the other people on the holiday.
Guides and safety
It is absolutely essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided. Nobody knows the environment better than our activity providers who work here almost everyday.
Consequently, their knowledge and experience is unsurpassed. If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.
There may be rare occasions when our guides consider local conditions unsuitable for a certain activity. Hence, your itinerary may be subject to change at short notice but we will always endeavour to firstly find a replacement on the day and secondly, to provide the cancelled activity later in your stay whenever possible. Very occasionally it proves impossible to provide the activity in which case you will be refunded when you return home.
Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.
You must inform us of any medical conditions that may affect your participation in an activity at the time of booking.
Booking activities locally
In almost all of our destinations you can book and pay for additional activities locally. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss that occurs through any activities that are booked in your destination (see our terms and conditions for further details).
Please always ensure that your safety is your primary concern when arranging any such activity.
If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card. Please see your trip dossier for full details.
The Kuhmo area and the people are amazing 04 July 2017 by Yukiko Kuwata
Everyone at Artisan Travel was so helpful and kind. My booking, transport etc was all sorted out without any issues. Hotel Kalevala was beautiful, the staff were all so kind and helpful, the food was great, sauna was great, Kuhmo was a charming town...basically I would love to return to Kuhmo and try everything all over again. Going into the wilderness and seeing a little bit of the wildlife was truly wonderful. It is an amazing area. I also enjoyed borrowing Nordic walking sticks and walking a few miles to explore the village of Kuhmo and its surroundings. You could enjoy the scenery of the lakes, flowers and small wild animals easily. It did rain but still amazing. The village had a lovely cafe/bakery and a cultural centre (Juminkeko) that turned out to be much better than I had expected. The curator gave me a personal tour and explained so much about the Karelian culture.