- Ferry to a UNESCO-listed fortress near Helsinki and explore the sites on foot
- Hike and e-bike on the largest archipelago in the world with a local guide
- Paddle a rubber boat past pastures of horses or sheep (and go for a dip!)
- Photograph bears in their natural habitat on an exciting overnight excursion
|Day 1||Arrive in Helsinki, Explore||Helsinki|
|Day 2||Tour of Suomenlinna, Afternoon in Porvoo||Helsinki|
|Day 3||Hike in the Archipelago Sea, Helsinki Sauna Tour||Helsinki|
|Day 4||Transfer to Turku, Walking Tour||Turku|
|Day 5||St. Olav's Bike Tour||Turku|
|Day 6||Picnic Cruise on the Aura River, Transfer to Rovaniemi||Rovaniemi|
|Day 7||Canoe Tour, Midnight Sun Photography Tour||Rovaniemi|
|Day 8||Arctic Wilderness Hike||Rovaniemi|
|Day 9||River Cruise on an Electric Rubber Boat||Rovaniemi|
|Day 10||Transfer to Kuusamo, Overnight Bear Watching Experience||Kuusamo|
|Day 11||Transfer to Pyhä, Explore||Pyhä|
|Day 12||Bird & Wildlife Watching Tour||Pyhä|
|Day 13||Fishing Experience||Pyhä|
|Day 14||Transfer to Rovaniemi, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Helsinki, Explore
Welcome to Helsinki, the capital of Finland! Upon arrival, a private driver will pick you up and transfer you to your accommodation. Once settled, you can explore at your own pace.
This colorful city features some of the most distinctive architecture in Europe with an interesting mix of neoclassicism, Finnish Art Nouveau style, called Jugend, and modernist works from a local architect named Alvar Aalto. Helsinki is recognized by UNESCO as a City of Design and offers an impressive number of boutiques, workshops, and galleries in the Design District. Visitors will also have plenty of ways to experience nature in this pristine area of Scandinavia since Helsinki has many green spaces and is surrounded by hundreds of tiny islands and trails.Before the day ends, try one of the many traditional Finnish saunas—a great way to combat jet lag and encourage a good night's sleep.
Day 2: Tour of Suomenlinna, Afternoon in Porvoo
This morning you'll meet a guide for a half-day tour in Helsinki. Start in the Old Market Hall, an indoor market that has been operating since 1889. Here, you can browse the stalls selling cheese, fish, meat, and produce and grab a coffee. Among more adventurous stalls, you'll be sure to find vendors selling classic Finnish cuisine, like salmon soup and fish sandwiches, as well as drinks, like the famous Finnish long drink.
Next is a nearby ferry for the 20-minute ride over the Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just off the shore of Helsinki. Originally built as a Swedish sea fortress in the 18th century, Suomenlinna is now a Finnish tourist hub featuring multiple museums, trails, and scenic picnic spots. Explore the islands to your heart's content before heading back on the ferry.
Take advantage of the long daylight hours in the afternoon with a trip to Porvoo, located 31 miles (50 km) outside of Helsinki. Dating to the 14th century, Finland's second oldest city is a historical treasure, reflected in its medieval streets with charming shops and restaurants. You can also head to the Porvoo History Museum, which includes an entrance to Holmes House, a recreation of a wealthy Finnish merchant's home from the 18th century.
Day 3: Hike in the Archipelago Sea, Helsinki Sauna Tour
This morning, it's time to get on the trail with a half-day tour outside of Helsinki in what is considered the world's largest archipelago: the Archipelago Sea. To get there, you'll make your way 19 miles (36 km) southwest of Helsinki to Porkkalanniemi—a peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Finland surrounded by countless tiny islands. Here a private guide will take you on a hike through a forest and teach you about the archipelago's ties to Finland's natural and military history before stopping for lunch with a stunning view of the gulf.You'll head back to Helsinki in the afternoon and relax your muscles. In a sauna-obsessed nation like Finland, visitors can find a range of saunas to choose from at almost any hour of the day. Either pick one on your own or take a three-hour sauna tour for a peak inside several options in and around the capital with the possibility of dipping into the pools for a swim.
Day 4: Transfer to Turku, Walking Tour
In the morning, a driver will pick you up from your accommodation and take you to the railway station for your departing train to Finland's oldest city, Turku. Upon arrival, another driver will be waiting for you at the station and will take you directly to your hotel. Once settled, it's time for a two-hour walking tour with a guide who will show you 800 years of Finnish history.The tour begins along the banks of the Aura River that flow through town into the Archipelago Sea, where you'll spot cute restaurants and fascinating museums as you stroll. Learn about the city's legacy as a trading hub when you visit the Old Great Square, rebuilt after the Great Fire of Turku in 1827. Enjoy the contemporary canteen and café culture that has earned the city the nickname the "Paris of Finland." You'll also visit the medieval Turku Castle before the tour ends.
Day 5: St. Olav's Bike Tour
Today is your chance to explore the immense and beautiful Turku area on an e-bike tour with a guide, providing easy access to various spots in the surrounding Archipelago Sea.
An e-bike gives you access to many islands connected by road, following the St. Olav Waterway. This was the pilgrim's first trail connecting Finland and Sweden over the sea. Hop around islands and enjoy the power of both nature and local hospitality while meeting locals and having lunch by the sea. The route will last about 40 miles (65 km), after which you'll head back to Turku by boat so you can sit back and enjoy the view.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Picnic Cruise along the Aura River, Transfer to Rovaniemi
It's your last day in Turku today, and it begins with a riverboat trip down the Aura River. All you have to do is sit back, and snack on treats from a local bakery as the boat winds its way through Turku, gliding past bridges, churches, trees, and other river boats on its way toward the sea. A guide will point out important sites while regaling you with stories from the river's long history—after all, the area's first inhabitants settled here at least 6,000 years ago.In the evening, you'll catch a ride on an overnight sleeper train for the comfortable 14-hour trip to Rovaniemi, the largest city and capital of Lapland, Finland's northernmost region. Rovaniemi is also the official home of Santa Claus, so you know you're in good company.
Day 7: Canoe Tour, Midnight Sun Photography Tour
After you arrive in Rovaniemi, a driver will meet you at the train station and take you to your accommodation. As you arrive early in the morning, check-in won't be possible yet, but you can leave your bags at the hotel while you head out on a relaxing canoe trip.
The half-day route covers two rivers as they converge north of Rovaniemi's city center, giving you a unique perspective of the area. Your guide will point out a range of attractions viewable from the water as you paddle past the Arktikum Arboretum near the Arkitukum Science Museum before continuing beneath the cable of the Lumberjack's Candle Bridge. Once back on shore, you'll have the opportunity to visit the local heritage museum housed inside a 19th-century farmhouse to learn how locals lived here over a century ago.Take some time to rest in the afternoon and then head out on a photography tour of the midnight sun. This exciting evening tour explores the Lapland scenery during key summer months. Since the city lies so far north, Rovaniemi experiences a phenomenon during June and July when the sun stays above the horizon all day long.
Day 8: Arctic Wilderness Hike
Take advantage of Rovaniemi's proximity to the Arctic Circle on a half-day hiking tour through Lapland today. Your local guide will lead you through this unique subarctic climate and teach you survival skills, demonstrating how to identify animal footprints, edible berries, and useful plants and mushrooms. You'll even learn how to build a campfire and then enjoy a hot beverage and a grilled snack before hiking back to the city.If you prefer a full-day trip, you can arrange a longer guided hike for an additional fee.
Day 9: River Cruise on an Electric Rubber Boat
Visiting Rovaniemi during the summer months means you can hop aboard a boat or even swim in its rivers, and today you'll have the opportunity to do both. With your local guide, paddle an electric rubber boat and float past pastures full of horses or sheep and forests full of wild birds like ospreys and eagles.There will be time to enjoy a picnic snack either on the boat or while sitting on a hidden beach along the shores of one of the rivers. If the weather is nice and you're feeling brave, consider taking a refreshing dip!
Day 10: Transfer to Kuusamo, Overnight Bear Watching Experience
This morning a driver will pick you up from your accommodation and take you directly to Kuusamo, a stunning wilderness area adorned by forests, lakes, and rivers.
Pick up some drinks and snacks in the late afternoon and then meet your local guide for an exciting bear-watching and photography experience close to the Russian border. This large protected area called Kuntilampi allows you to see wild brown bears in their natural environment, along with white-tailed eagles, ruffs, and other waders that are common this time of year, especially in the early summer.
As for the overnight part, you'll set up base in a comfortable log cabin with big windows and openings for camera lenses. There are also bunk beds with sleeping bags, as well as a gas cooker and dry toilet. This is a safe experience led by a local professional who knows the property well.
Day 11: Transfer to Pyhä, Explore
Today, a driver will pick you up from your accommodation and take you to Pyhä, part of the oldest national park in Finland: Pyhä-Luosto National Park.
Once settled, you'll have the rest of the day to explore the area at your own pace. This eastern area of Lapland is known for its pure nature and old-growth forests, and there are dozens of marked, self-guided hiking trails to choose from for all abilities.
Day 12: Bird & Wildlife Watching Tour
Today, get ready for a beautiful and educational tour where you'll learn more about the distinct nature, birds, and animals in the Pyhä area.
You and a local guide will drive to the best possible places to catch glimpses of wildlife, and you can offer your preferences for which species are a priority. Of course, nothing is guaranteed since nature has its own agenda, so it's best to go with the flow and see what surprises are in store for you.
Day 13: Fishing Experience
Today is your chance to enjoy quality time in Lapland's peaceful and beautiful waters during a guided fishing trip suitable for all levels. Beginners can learn how to fish starting with the basics, while those with some previous experience can head to the more challenging fishing spots straight away. Possible catches in this part of the world include trout, pike, and grayling, as well as other species that live in Lapland's waters.
At the end of the tour, you'll have time to enjoy the atmosphere around a campfire where snacks and a traditional black pot coffee will be served.
Day 14: Transfer to Rovaniemi, Depart
It's time to depart Finland! Your driver will pick you up from your accommodation at the appointed time today and take you to the Rovaniemi airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!