Wild Finland

6 days
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Short Breaks, Private Group Adventures
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:

A week in the magical Finnish wilderness searching for Brown bears  

As if impatient from the tortuously cold winter months, far Eastern Finland emerges from hibernation in full bloom, its fauna keen to redress the balance. Delve into the wilderness to unravel and illuminate its remarkable wildlife, watching eagerly from a hide for the arrival of Brown bears. Bears aren't the only highlight as we get to experience the Finnish wilderness of Oulanka National Park, with its whitewater rivers, spruce forest and scotch pine. Nature rafting and a husky walk are also part of the adventure.


  • Two evenings spent in a hide observing Brown bears
  • Nature rafting, husky walk and follow the 'Little Bear' trail  
  • Soak up the tranqulity and stillness of Oulanka National Park in summer 
  • Bright nights with up to 22 hours of daylight 

Key information

  • 5 nights at Basecamp Oulanka 
  • Travel by private minibus, on foot and by raft 
  • Group normally 4 to 14 with local leader. Min age 18 yrs 
  • No experience necessary 
  • Countries visited: Finland

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Local tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Outdoor clothing and equipment for rafting

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus, we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

For every guest, travelling with Exodus Travels, who stays at Basecamp Oulanka, Exodus donates money to the WildOulanka Foundation towards the preservation of the local Taiga (forest). In 2018 this protected some 87 hectares of forest, contributing to the creation of a wildlife corridor across the Russian-Finnish border between two national parks. Careful management of the protected area has led to the reappearance of a number of species, including bears, which had not been seen here for some years. This amount of forest also equates to a carbon sink of 23,480 tons. 


Expand all
Basecamp Oulanka
Basecamp Oulanka
  • Day 1

    Start Basecamp Oulanka

    Land only clients should make their own way to Basecamp Oulanka this afternoon/evening. Set on the edge of the spectacular Oulanka National Park, Basecamp Oulanka is a complex of wooden buildings providing cosy accommodation in a stunning wilderness setting overlooking Juuma Lake - surround yourself completely in nature for the next five nights! After a warming dinner you'll have the chance to settle into your wilderness home in the forest. Take a late evening walk down to the lake and marvel at the stillness. During the summer months there can be between 18 - 22 hours of daylight which ensures a colourful sky with drawn out sunsets and sunrises merging together.

    Basecamp Oulanka 

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Wilderness skills walk in Oulanka N.P.; visit Brown bear hide.

    After a hearty breakfast in the main building, we leave for a short walk in Oulanka National Park. We'll likely visit the Old Mill which overlooks the Myllykoski rapids, where White throated dippers are often seen. Our guide will introduce us to some simple wilderness skills, such as how to make a fire, orienteer and basic first aid.

    Around 4pm, after we've had lunch at Basecamp, we set off towards the Russian border zone for a short walk to a comfortable bear hide, where we will spend the evening anticipating the arrival of Brown bears and hopefully watching lots of bear interaction! Brown bears are very active in this area and there are thought to be some 1,500 Brown bears in Finland's vast forests. After a long period of hibernation over winter, the bears emerge from their dens in spring, sometimes with cubs in tow. During the months of July and August the bears are very hungry and so typically become nightly visitors to the area where the hide is located as they are fed with carrion. As well as Brown bears (and hopefully cubs) there is a good possibility to see White-tailed eagle in this area.

    The hide is warm and comfortable, with large windows for excellent views and plenty of openings for camera lenses (ideal if you are a keen photographer). There is a kettle, compost toilet and around 10 beds with sleeping bags which you're welcome to use if you feel tired at any point. Depending on our sightings and the amount of daylight left we will leave the hide around 11pm or 12am, walking the short distance back to our vehicle. It is important when in the hide and walking to/from the hide to keep voices to a minimum and follow instructions from the guide - we always walk in a group to minimise the likelihood of encountering a bear.

    Basecamp Oulanka 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Husky walk through Riisitunturi National Park

    Today we visit Riisitunturi National Park, home to those iconic snow covered trees in winter. In summer the fells provide the groundwater to feed Lake Kitka and offer the perfect home for a variety of wildlife. On today's walk, we are joined by husky dogs. For this activity, you'll be harnessed in pairs to one husky who will 'lead' the walk at a reasonable pace (huskies are powerful dogs, hence why one dog is harnessed to two people). This wonderful dog breed makes an excellent companion for a hike through the wilderness! Huskies accompany us for the easiest part of the canyon trail, and after this, we complete some steeper sections of the walk by ourselves.

    Basecamp Oulanka 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Nature rafting on River Kitka near the Russian Border zone; guided walk through taiga forest to learn about the habitat of Brown bears; evening visit Brown bear hide.

    After getting fitted out with rafting gear at Basecamp Oulanka (available free of charge) we have a short walk to Jyrävä waterfall to begin our nature rafting excursion on River Kitka. Running through Oulanka National Park to the Russian Border zone, the river winds its way through taiga forest, with dramatic cliffs and wonderful views of scotch pine and spruce forest. Traveling by raft is the perfect way to soak up the tranquillity of nature and experience the best of Finland's wilderness. We pass over some gentle class I to II rapids as we float down the river, enjoying the sound of silence in the vast forest. At the Russian End we take a short walk to Vihvilänlamminkangas, the biggest elk destruction area in Europe which looks like a huge bonsai garden! Here we will learn about the importance of nature conservation, the old forest and its ecosystem, before a short transfer by road back to Basecamp Oulanka. This evening we have an early dinner and a second visit to the bear hide. Before entering the hide we meet a Brown bear expert who will guide a short walk through the habitat of Brown bear. On this walk we'll be looking for and interpreting signs of activity such as marks and scratchings on the trees, as well as any visible tracks on the ground. Following this we spend the evening in the hide to watch the forests come alive once more. 

    Basecamp Oulanka

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk the famous Pieni Karhunkierros (Little Bear) Trail in Oulanka N.P.; optional evening visit to Brown bear hide

    Oulanka National Park is a vast boreal forest and one of its most scenic walking trails is the Pieni Kahrunkierros - the Little Bear Trail - a 12km loop through some of the most picturesque areas of the park. Setting off on foot from Basecamp we hike on good trails, crossing suspension bridges and passing some of the larger rapids and waterfalls, including the class VI Jyrävä waterfall. Between Oulanka in Finland and neighbouring Paanajärvi in Russia, some 136,000 hectares of taiga forest, lakes and rushing whitewater rivers are protected - one of the world's largest biomes. The flora in this area is very interesting with lichens, heather, wild cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberry bushes. This is a moderate grade walk and there are some steep sections in order to experience the best views.

    Back at Basecamp, it's possible to rest and enjoy a traditional sauna this evening or you may decide to join an optional excursion to return to the bear hide once more (at an additional cost of 150 EUR). For this excursion it is possible to use an alternative hide in the same area (perhaps if you are a photographer interested in getting a different angle for your photos). 

    Basecamp Oulanka

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    End Basecamp Oulanka

    This morning our adventure in the Finnish wilderness comes to an end and land only clients are free to make onward arrangements. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners included 

The food at Basecamp is a delicious range of local produce (Finnish food) that is all prepared on site by the in house chef. Starters consist of a salad buffet with 3-4 different choices. The main courses consist of wild game such as elk, chicken and salmon. Vegetarian options are also available. Dessert consists of lingonberries, blueberries and cloudberries that have often been picked by the chef herself. These berries are served with a selection of quark kurd, cream, ice cream, cakes and pancakes. Lunch normally consists of a hot soup with elk, salmon or vegetarian option.


Lapland is characterised by an arctic/continental climate that varies greatly throughout the year. Many people expect Lapland to be cold all year round, but in fact, temperatures can soar in summer as a result of influences from the North Atlantic Current which bring warm air to the region. While winters are icy and cold, summers are much warmer and milder. The average temperature is a pleasant 15°C while highs can hit 21°C on the hottest days. With very low levels of wind, conditions can feel very balmy in Lapland at this time. Unlike the chilly winter months, temperatures hardly ever drop below 13°C. Midnight Sun: from the end of May to the beginning of August you will find daylight for much of the day as the sun barely sets below the horizon.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a safari rating of 3. 

It has been designed for those who want to be completely surrounded by the Finnish wilderness, whilst having the comfort of cosy Basecamp Oulanka to return to each evening. Due to our location not far from the Arctic circle, in the summer months there are long daylight hours, which can mean between 18-22 hours of daylight with just a short twilight period. This is ideal for bear viewing.

Please note that caution must be taken when walking to/from the bear hide and in the surrounding area. We will be accompanied by a bear guide and always walk in a group. It is important to follow the advice of your guide at all times. The age limit has been set to 18 because of this activity. Facilities in the hide are comfortable but relatively simple - for instance, there are only compost toilets in the bear hides. 

Basecamp provides all equipment needed for rafting such as over jackets/trousers, rubber boots and dry bags. No experience is necessary - all activities are suitable for beginners.  

The included walks all follow well marked trails but there are some steep sections in order to get the best views. Mosquito protection is recommended in Finland during the summer months. 

Baiting wildlife - an important issue in wildlife tourism

Baiting is a useful practice in attracting wildlife to aid sightings of certain animals in many areas around the world. It is also an approach that leads to much debate about the ethics in feeding wild animals. In some circumstances we are strongly against baiting, for example camps in Africa placing carrion to attract leopards purely for tourist sightings. However in Finland, and this particular area, we believe it is a practice that can lead to conservation benefits. Our belief is that this will help in protecting the wildlife from hunting which is wide spread in parts of Finland. Tourism is helping create enclaves where hunting is prohibited, and that growing income will hopefully lead to more protection in the future.

Tourism is more sustainable long term than hunting, and growing support locally to protect the wildlife is important in Exodus taking this stance. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Basecamp Oulanka

Basecamp Oulanka is wilderness camp in a stunning location overlooking Juuma lake, on the edge of Oulanka National Park. It is a complex of wooden buildings providing comfortable and cosy accommodation. There are two wooden lodges providing sleeping accommodation and all rooms are fitted out with double or twin beds and en suite bathrooms. The main building provides a cosy lodge with huge windows framing the view of the lake. There is a large fire and a comfortable lounge seating area to relax in. All of our meals will be taken in this building. Also at Basecamp Oulanka there is a sauna. 

Please note that there are Exodus family groups at Basecamp during school holidays.


Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sandra Davies

    Do it!

    This was my first solo trip ..... ever! I needn’t have worried, despite a very tight connection flight, 1 passenger and some luggage (including mine) didn’t make it, everything else was spot on. I understand that this was due to the usual airport being temporarily closed, not a lot Exodus could do about that. Finland is beautiful, the activities on offer were varied, Basecamp comfortable, the food was good and everyone we met was very friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears, we were so lucky with the amount of activity. Mums with cubs, cubs up trees, big bears, little bears .... so many bears. It’s a close run thing between that and the day on the river Kitka.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Elina was an absolute delight, she wasted no time reuniting myself and a fellow passenger with our luggage. She also located our missing passenger. I was in a small group of 5, Elina joined in with our silly conversations, got our British ‘humour’, took us out on some amazing walks and felt more like one of the group, than the ‘formal guide’.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t be afraid to do the optional whitewater experience. I had never done any rafting before and absolutely loved it. We were well looked after and the hike up to the viewpoint half way along the river was well worth the puff. I took far too much with me, all you need is some decent walking shoes, the usual walking trousers and tops etc. Dinner is very informal, don’t waste luggage space on smarter stuff for the evening, instead of packing the ‘just in case skirt’ put some Deet in instead, you will need it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go along and throw yourself into everything, bears, dogs and rafting, what could possibly go wrong!!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Samantha Cook

    Wilderness Escape

    If you want to be immersed in the beautiful Finnish wilderness and escape the frenetic pace of modern life, this is the trip for you. 5 days filled with easy hiking, rafting, husky walks and bear watching. There is also plenty of down time just to soak up the tranquility, take a sauna or take a dip in the lake. Basecamp Oulanka is the prefect place to recharge your batteries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bear watching was undoubtedly the highlight for me. I visited the bear hide on 3 evenings (including the optional visit on the last night) and each time the beat activity/behaviour was different. The hide is very comfortable and the photographic opportunities are amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Elina was an absolute delight - just a genuinely lovely person & so full of energy and enthusiasm. She worked hard to make sure the group was happy throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring some light, quick drying trousers to go under the ‘fisherman trousers’ provided for the rafting trip. Book the wild rafting option - it’s not as wild as it sounds, grade 3 max although one section is officially classed as grade 4. Mosquito repellent and a hat are a must!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Beth Neill

    Great mix of outdoor activities

    Although the bear hide was the lure for us on this trip, the other activities of walking with huskies, rideing the river and walking the forests all made this a brilliant short break. Long days meant we had good evenings watching the bears and time to do things during the day as well. Oulanka base camp was a great venue.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the mother bear with 4 cubs emerge from the woods.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Elina was a wonderful leader - she always made sure we were all happy and knew what was going on each day, spending time telling us about local culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of mosquito repellant!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Chris Adams

    Amazing trip in Beautiful Finland

    Brilliant and well organised trip - seeing bears & cubs was a real highlight, and the accommodation was great. you can do as much (or little) as you like during the free time - go for a swim in the lake, go trekking, canoeing, or just relax and enjoy the scenery. Food was nice and all locally sourced.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Bears and their cubs playing and eating in the late evening sun was brilliant and something I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Anna and all the staff at the Basecamp Oulanka were brilliant. Very knowledgeable about wildlife, birds, flowers and anything else that was thrown at them. Always smiling and always happy to help.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you take extra batteries for your camera. When you're in the bear hide, you can end up using a lot of battery power while you wait for the bears, as they can come out at any moment. I would also recommend taking an eye-mask as the sun will be up for something like 22 hours per day, so it never really gets dark. Mosquito repellent also a must.

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 0203 993 4668, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]