Spotted with lakes in the south and characterised by a vast, remote north, Finland is an exciting destination for wilderness and wildlife tourism. While it’s best known for its brown bear population, there are also plenty of chances to get up close to some of the country’s most endearing creatures, like huskies and reindeer, on a Finnish holiday.
Travelling into deep Finnish forests
Tucked away among central Finland’s cloaking forests, the town of Kuhmo mixes the outdoors with serious luxury, with spas and traditional saunas readily available to warm up chilly limbs and restore a traveller's tired legs. Visit the excellent Petola Nature Centre for an introduction to the local carnivores – native wolves, wolverines, lynx and of course bears (the region is home to approximately 1,000 of them).
If you're travelling on a romantic getaway, get close by perching together in a wildlife "hide" in the middle of a wild boreal forest near the Russian border. From your viewing chair at a safe distance you’ll be able to spot brown bears and an array of other predators without them spotting you. There’s also excellent hiking nearby that, thankfully, avoids the bears but offers stays in boutique log cabins. Forests walks will also reward with elks, beavers and red squirrels.
Bringing Finland's wilderness to you
Finland has a long tradition of domesticating animals to help cope with its inhospitable climate, and a holiday with our experts will give you the opportunity to get to know this way of life. Reindeer have been used for centuries for everything from clothes and milk to meat and transport. Perhaps stay at Muotkan Maja Wilderness Lodge to visit a reindeer farm where you can meet the herders and learn to throw a lasso.
You’ll also be able to visit a husky kennels, where you’ll meet these lovable and fiercely intelligent dogs before learning how to handle them and take them out sledding. The Nellim Wilderness Hotel in Finnish Lapland is a fantastic spot for a winter husky safari that takes you far out into the snowy landscape. If it's aquatic life you're after, head to the national parks at Linnansaari and Kolovesi, where you can spot the endangered Saimaa ringed seal.