Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 11:39

Finnish Wilderness Week

Finnish Wilderness Week Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Finland
  • Programmes: Winter
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: CFA
  • Carbon Footprint: 8kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Relax in unspoiled wilderness

In the heart of Oulanka National Park sits Basecamp Oulanka, a self-sustained complex of wooden buildings overlooking Juuma Lake. From here, you can enjoy a variety of winter activities, exploring one of the most sparsely populated areas in Europe by snowshoe, ski and dogsled. Carving your own path through the snow-caked forests of Finland, you couldn’t feel more removed from the hustle of city life. So get back to nature this winter and head to Basecamp.

Finnish Wilderness Week

This trip includes a few of our Citizen Science Departures. These special departures offer you the opportunity to be involved in the collection of freshwater samples during the trip. The environmental DNA information derived from this sample will contribute directly to the eBioAtlas; the world’s largest repository of flora and fauna species data, contributing to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity both locally and globally. To book onto one of these special departures, see the Dates & Prices tab. For more information on these departures and the eBioAtlas, click here.

At a Glance

  • Seven nights at Basecamp Oulanka: twin/double rooms across two separate buildings
  • Five days of mixed activities
  • Group normally starting from 4, plus leader. Minimum age: 16
  • All Arctic winter equipment and clothing provided
  • Citizen Science departures available on this trip

Highlights

  • Enjoy a host of winter activities in magical surroundings
  • Stay in fantastic lodge accommodation
  • Experience an evening snowshoeing under the Northern Lights

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 3 (Moderate). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

This is a mixed activity week for adults with a good selection of guided activities and free time for independent activities or relaxation. None of the activities require previous experience; however, a good level of fitness is needed to make the most of this holiday. Basecamp provides an excellent kit for the conditions, with a layered system allowing you to keep warm and dry.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 20

Itinerary

Map CFA

Land Only

  • Start City: Basecamp Oulanka
  • End City: Basecamp Oulanka

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Basecamp Oulanka

Our trip starts at Basecamp Oulanka, a complex of cosy wooden buildings in a remote, unspoiled location overlooking Juuma Lake and backing into Oulanka National Park. There will be a welcome briefing this evening, in which you can meet the group and ask any questions you might have.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2
Snowshoe hike in Oulanka National park walking through snow-caked trees and by the Kitka River
Finnish Wilderness Week

In the morning, we are provided with all the equipment needed for a week of activities in Arctic conditions. Strapping on a pair of snowshoes, we head straight into Oulanka National Park where we are taught the necessary skills for this activity. Our route (approximately 2hr 30min) takes us through forests and along the Kitka River, passing an old flour mill adjacent to the dramatic Myllykoski rapids.

After lunch, we can do some further exploration on snowshoes (self-guided) of the surrounding area or relax in the sauna or hot tub.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3
Cross-country skiing in the morning heading down to Juuma Lake; free afternoon

Today we experience the Scandinavian-born sport of cross-country skiing. By the lake, our instructor will literally walk us through the basics. There may be a few tumbles to begin, but this is half the fun in the soft snow. After becoming more confident, we head onto the lake, gliding through the untouched snow. During your stay at Basecamp, there is the option of further unguided skiing in the area during your free time. Alternatively, you might wish to try kick sledging; a metal-frame sled you can use on your own and venture out around Basecamp.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4
Dogsledding instruction and tour in Riisitunturi National Park; evening Northern Lights snowshoe excursion
Finnish Wilderness Week

After breakfast, we take a bus transfer to a husky farm on the edge of Riisitunturi National Park, where we meet our dogsledding guide. The day begins with learning how to ride the sled and the importance of caring for the huskies correctly. We then head into the woods where our dog teams are ready to take us on our 6mi (10km) mushing adventure. Our route follows a gently undulating forest trail into the wilderness. Travelling two per sled, you can really appreciate the serenity of this snow-laden landscape. We have lunch at the husky farm and the afternoon is free to experience some of the optional activities Basecamp has to offer. This evening, we head out for nighttime snowshoeing, in search of the Northern Lights.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5
Free day in Ruka for optional activities

We spend the day at the popular ski resort of Ruka. Your guide will take care of transfers and can book activities for you. Group transfers are included only to the designated areas and are scheduled at specific times, it is advisable to check at reception before making your activities booking.  Downhill skiing and snowmobile safaris are available. See the ‘Optional excursions’ for more. Due to operational reasons, the bookings for activities in Ruka need to be made by Tuesday.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6
Wilderness skills including quinzee building and fire-making; optional night in the quinzee
Finnish Wilderness Week

Today we are taught the ancient art of quinzee building. Provided shovels and spades, we create a mound of snow, which is later hollowed out to make sleeping quarters (two to three per quinzee). You have the option of sleeping in your construction, but the lodge is just a short walk away if you prefer the warmth of your room.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7
Optional activities including cross-country skiing and dogsledding; farewell dinner

Today we have a free day with several options to make the most of the magical wilderness of Finland. Available activities include unguided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, dogsledding or snowmobile safaris. As a farewell celebration, we have a wonderful four-course dinner back at Basecamp.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8
End Basecamp Oulanka

The trip ends after breakfast and we begin our return journey home.

Meals included: Breakfast

Please note: It is possible the order of the itinerary listed above will be changed to ensure the best possible conditions for each activity during the trip. All listed activities and services will be included. Your leader will inform you of any changes locally after assessing conditions.

Accommodation

Basecamp Oulanka

Finnish Wilderness Week

Overlooking Lake Juuma and the national park after which it was named, Basecamp Oulanka is our welcoming home in the remote Finnish wilderness. The magical complex comprises a series of wooden structures: the twin rooms are split across two separate buildings, while a third building houses a restaurant and bar with a log fire, plus a sauna and outdoor hot tub.

Built in 1998 with sustainability in mind, the complex is heated using special wood pellets for fuel. It is also a member of The Long Run Foundation, which comes with a commitment to building a ‘sustainable future through a balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce’.

Worth knowing

  • Multiple Exodus trips run at Basecamp Oulanka concurrently and you might share the room with a member of a different group.
  • There are Exodus family groups at Basecamp during school holidays

Single supplement from £ 400

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, five lunches and seven evening meals are included.

The food at Basecamp is a delicious range of locally sourced (Finnish food) prepared by the in-house chef.

Starters consist of a salad buffet with three to four 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, which have often been picked by the chefs. These berries are served with a selection of quark kurd, cream, ice cream, cakes and pancakes.

Lunch is normally a hot soup with elk, salmon or a vegetarian option.

If you have any dietary requirements (including the ones mentioned below), please inform your customer operations executive at the time of booking, so Basecamp can prepare for this. Vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diets are easily catered for on this trip.

Transport

A minibus is used for transfers.

Weather & Seasonality

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle, temperatures during the season range from -30C to 5C (-22F to 41F). Christmas will normally be the coldest (usually below -20C/-4), but the temperatures rise as the days lengthen, and early April can see temperatures around -10C to 5C (14F to 41F). Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40C (-40F) and highs of 7C (47F) just a few days apart. If the thought of such temperatures scares you, then think again. When dressed in the Arctic clothing provided, with insulated boots, woolly hat and large mittens, -20C (-4F) can feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind, and we will keep you active.

Daylight hours

At extreme latitudes, the days shorten and lengthen much faster. So while in mid-winter (December/January) the sun remains just below the horizon, by April there are more daylight hours than in the UK, and the midnight sun is only weeks away. Even in midwinter, it is not dark, as the sun is just above the horizon and there is plenty of light reflected off the snow.

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are visible from September to late April on most clear nights at latitudes close to and above the Arctic Circle. They can be seen further south but will be less spectacular and less frequent. Solar activity is greater around the equinoxes (September and March), and at lower latitudes, this can be the best time to see them. At Basecamp, you need to have a clear window of weather with no clouds, and then your chances of seeing them are quite good as there is hardly any light pollution. With most Northern Lights tours starting from Arctic cities such as Tromso and Reykjavik, you have to drive a bit of a distance to go and see the lights. The benefit of Basecamp is that if the conditions are good, all you need to do is go outside and look up.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Basecamp Oulanka, Myllykoskentie 30, 93900 Kuusamo, Finland
Phone: +358 40 0509741
Recommended arrival time: Check-in is from 4pm. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Kuusamo Airport (KAO) or Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) – please check with your sales representative which airport is best for your departure

Getting to the start hotel

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Basecamp Oulanka
Location end: Basecamp Oulanka

What To Take

Essential Equipment

The following clothing is issued on arrival and are yours to use throughout the week:

  • Full winter outfit including jacket and trousers (pants)
  • Two sets of fleece jacket and trousers (pants) (one thin, one thick)
  • Winter hat and mittens
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Thermos flask
  • Backpack and headtorch (head lamp)
  • You do not need to bring any winter clothing with you as it is all supplied locally but we recommend you bring enough clothes for evening wear
  • More insulated snowmobiling overall and helmet for the optional snowmobile excursion

You will need the following:

  • Tight-fitting base layer
  • Normal daily clothes
  • Several pairs of thick socks
  • Tube scarf/buff
  • Swimwear and sandals (for sauna)
  • Sunglasses (from the beginning of February or year-round if you’re sensitive to bright light)
  • Sunscreen

Practical Information

Visa

Finland

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Finland. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Vaccinations and Health

Finland

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies (bat lyssavirus) and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Finland's time zone: Europe/Helsinki (UTC +03:00)

Electricity

Finland's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins) and F (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Finnish Wilderness Week

Money

Finland's currency: Euro (EUR)

ATM Availability

There are no ATMs available, however, credit cards are accepted at our accommodation.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

There are several extra excursions available: exact prices and details will be confirmed locally, but the following provides a guide to what is normally available. As some of the excursions can be very popular, we strongly suggest you pre-book them with the Basecamp staff at your earliest convenience. Please note, these excursions require a minimum number of four participants and in some of these excursions there will also be non-Exodus clients booked on.

  • Downhill skiing: From €80 (equipment and ski pass)
  • Make your own Lappish drum:€75 per drum
  • Ice karting: €60 per person (minimum height: 4ft 11in/1.5m)
  • Abseiling by Jurava waterfall: €75 per person
  • Sauna Joga: €40 per person
  • Sauna Joga -private session: €200 group (maximum five people)
  • Riisitunturi snowshoeing: €120 per person (minimum age: 12)
  • Ice fishing: €75 per adult and €40 per child (ages four to 12)
  • Reindeer farm visit: €95 per person
  • Full-day husky safari: Six to nine-hour trip (the duration depends upon the weather conditions), includes a hot snack by an open fire. Allow €315 per person for a single or €280 per person if sharing a sledge. A return taxi for a group (maximum four people) is €320 per group; return taxi for five to eight people is €400 per group
  • Snowmobile safari: Allow €90 per person (two per machine) or €130 (solo use) for approximately a 90-minute scenic safari around Ruka using ecofriendly four-stroke snowmobiles. €50 per child when sitting in sled. The child price is valid only when sitting in sledge pulled by the guide.

Important note on snowmobiling: All drivers must be over 17 years old, at least 4ft 7in (1.4m) tall and have a valid (car) driving licence and carry this with you while driving. You will be liable to pay for any damage to snowmobiles up to the excess on the insurance policy, which is approximately €1,000 per machine. You will be asked to sign a form agreeing to the above. This means, that in the unlikely event you damage a snowmobile in a major way, you will only be charged the excess and not the full cost of repair. Snowmobiles are not for everyone and can be difficult to master, however, damage is very rare if the drivers are alert and considerate.

On Saturdays, if you wish to snowmobile or downhill ski, a return transfer to Ruka is €120.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus, however, most of our clients wish to give a tip to their guides in appreciation of their help and friendliness. This, of course, is in no way compulsory and depends on the service received. If you feel you would like to leave a tip, as a guide we would suggest a total of approximately €15 for the leader and €10 for the staff at Basecamp.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income which is used for upkeep and development of these important sites. On this trip, we visit Oulanka National Park.
  • Our local partner owns land outside the national park borders and these are left untouched. Purchasing any Basecamp products/services contributes to the protection of these areas and allows for purchase of more lands.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Some departures of this trip provide the opportunity for you to collect water samples for the International eBioAtlas initiative which collects vital DNA information to assist in essential conservation initiatives.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration hereincluding our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us and the eBioAtlas.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • This trip stays at Basecamp Oulanka, a lovely complex of wooden buildings. It is renowned for its environmental and sustainability practices and has won several awards including the VESTAS award as an Outstanding Example of Accommodation and TripAdvisor Green Leaders Gold Award. All energy used is renewable and all waste and water is recycled. The heating system used throughout the complex relies totally on nature, using special wood pellets for fuel.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.