Dogsledding through snow-capped trees, Riisitunturi National Park, Finland (photo by Erkki Ollila)

Finnish Wilderness Week Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Finland
Programmes:
Winter
Trip Code:
CFA
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

In the heart of Oulanka National Park sits Basecamp Oulanka, a self-sustained complex of wooden buildings in a truly stunning location. As the only accommodation for miles around, you are able to enjoy a variety of winter activities in this beautiful landscape and hardly ever see another soul. Dogsledding through the silent snow-caked forests of the nearby Riisitunturi National Park, you couldn’t feel more removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. Get back to nature this winter and head to Basecamp. 

At a Glance

  • 7 nights Basecamp Oulanka: twin rooms with en suite bathrooms in two separate buildings
  • 5 days mixed activities
  • Group normally starting from 6, plus leaders. Min age 16 years
  • All Arctic winter equipment and clothing provided
  • Countries visited: Finland

Trip Highlights

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

Is This Trip for You?

Level 3 - Moderate

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 excellent kit for the conditions, with a layered system allowing you to keep warm and dry.

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.

Group

There is no tour leader for this trip, but you will be well looked after by the staff at Basecamp Oulanka.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Basecamp Oulanka
End City:
Basecamp Oulanka

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Basecamp Oulanka.

    Our trip starts at Basecamp Oulanka, a complex of cozy wooden buildings located in a remote, unspoiled location overlooking the Juuma lake and backing into Oulanka National Park.

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Snowshoe hike in Oulanka National park walking through snow-caked trees and the Kitka River

    In the morning we are provided with all of the equipment needed for a week of activities in arctic conditions. Strapping on a pair of snowshoes we head straight out into Oulanka National Park where we are taught the necessary skills for this activity. Our route today will take us through forests and along the Kitka River, passing an old flour mill that sits adjacent to the dramatic Myllykoski rapids (approx 2½ hours). At the end of the walk, depending on timing, there will be the chance to do some further exploration 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 the Juuma lake; free afternoon.

    Today we experience the Scandinavian-born sport of cross-country skiing. Heading down to the nearby JuumaLake, our instructor will literally walk us through the basics of how to cross-country ski. There may be a few tumbles to start with, but in the softsnow this is half the fun! After becoming more confident on the skis we then head out onto the lake, gliding through the virgin powder. In the afternoon, keep hold of your skis as there is the option of further unguided skiing in the area. 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

    Half day dogsledding instruction and tour (about 10km) in Riisitunturi National Park; optional ice climbing.

    After breakfast, we take a bus transfer to Jaksamo on the edge of the Riisintunturi National Park where we meet up with our dogsledding guide. The day begins with tuition on how to ride on the sled and the importance of caring for the huskies correctly. We then head off into the woods where our teams of dogs eagerly await our arrival, ready to take us on our 10km mushing adventure. Our route follows a gently undulating forested trail into the wilderness. Travelling on your own sled, you are able to really appreciate the serenity of this beautiful snow-laden landscape. The afternoon is free to experience some of the optional activities that Basecamp has to offer such as ice climbing (min 4 persons). This evening we head out for nighttime snowshoeing, in search for the Northern Lights. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day in Ruka; morning optional visit to reindeer farm; afternoon option of snowmobiling or downhill skiing/snowboarding.

    We spend the day at the popular ski resort of Ruka. Your guide will take care of transfers and can book activities for you. 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' section below. Please note that due to operational reasons, the bookings for activities in Ruka need to be made by Tuesday. Otherwise, there's the option to stay at Basecamp, having the equipment, snowshoes, cross-country skis etc. at your disposal, with accessible routes to explore.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Wilderness skills including quinzee building and fire-making; optional night in the quinzee.

    Today we are taught the ancient art of quinzee building. Issued with shovels and spades and in groups of four, we create a mound of snow, which is later hollowed out to make sleeping quarters (2-3 persons 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 ice climbing and dogsledding; dinner around a campfire.

    Today we have a free day with several options on offer to make the most of the magical Finland Wilderness. Some of the activities available include unguided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, dogsledding or snowmobile safaris. As a farewell celebration, we have the option of eating dinner around a campfire on the edge of the National Park.

  • Day 8

    End Basecamp Oulanka.

    End Basecamp Oulanka. 

    Lunch is included for clients booked on the group flights for departures from Dec. 24th to Feb. 17th (inclusive) due to a later flight time.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Basecamp Oulanka

Basecamp Oulanka is a superb self-sustaining wooden complex that takes immediate inspiration from its wilderness location. Twin rooms with en suite bathrooms are in two separate buildings. The third building is a cosy restaurant and bar, with a log fire, sauna and outdoor hot tub. The heating system used throughout the complex relies totally on nature using special wood pellets for fuel. Winners for outstanding accommodation in the VESTAS 2011 awards is proof of Basecamp's dedication towards quality.

Please be aware that multiple Exodus trips are running at Basecamp at the same time and you might share the room with a member of a different group.

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

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £290.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 7 evening meals are 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.

Transportation

A minibus is used for transfers.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle temperatures during the season range from -30ºC to +5ºC. Christmas will normally be the coldest (usually below -20ºC), but the temperatures rise as the days lengthen, and early April can see temperatures around -10ºC to +5ºC. Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40ºC and highs of +7ºC 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, -20ºC can actually feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind, and remember, we will keep you active.

Remember that 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 a matter of 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.

The breathtaking 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 like 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!

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Thomson Airways or Finnair (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.
Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Kuusamo or Rovaniemi

Your trip normally starts at Kuusamo Airport on Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

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.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights.
Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Kuusamo
Location end:
Kuusamo

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Equipment Provided: The following clothing is issued on arrival and are yours throughout the week:

Full winter outfit including jacket and trousers

Fleece jacket and trousers

Thermal underwear (top and bottom)

Woollen hat and mittens

Gloves

Boots

Thermos flask

A backpack and head torch are provided for your use during the week at Basecamp. 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.

For the optional snowmobile excursion, a more insulated snowmobiling overall and helmet will be provided.

You will need the following:

Tight fitting base layer

Normal daily clothes

Several pairs of thick socks

Tube scarf/Buff

Swimming costume and Flip flops (for sauna)

From the last week of February onwards: sunglasses and sun-cream.

Reading List

www.outdoors.fi - official website for national parks in Finland.
www.basecampoulanka.fi

Practical Information

Passport

Finland

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Finland

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Finland's Timezone:
Europe/Helsinki EEST (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Finland's Electricity:

220-240V. European adapter required. 

Money

Finland's Currency

The national currency of Finland is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

ATM Availability

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

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Optional Excursions

There are a number of extra excursions available in the area: 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 staff at Basecamp at your earliest convenience.

Ice climbing tower at Basecamp: allow €59 per person for 2½ hours basic course. (This may not be available early or late in the season)

Life at a reindeer farm: to learn the ways of the Lappish reindeer herder. Everyone will have the chance to ride on a reindeer sleigh. Allow €75 per person.

Full day husky safari: for 6-9 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 € 270 per person if sharing a sledge.

Downhill skiing: starting from €80 (equipment and ski pass).

Snowmobile safari: allow €89 per person (2 per machine) or €129 (solo use) for a 2 hour scenic safari around Ruka using eco-friendly 4-stroke snowmobiles. Includes lunch. Important note on snowmobiling: all drivers must be over 17 and have a valid (car) driving licence and carry this with you whilst driving. You will be liable to pay for any damage to snowmobiles up to the excess on the insurance policy, which is approx. €1000 per machine. You will be asked to sign a form agreeing to the above. This means, that in the unlikely event that 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.

Snowshoeing through a frozen landscape. Riisitunturi National Park, Finland (photo by Erkki Ollila).

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we spend the nights at Basecamp Oulanka, a lovely complex of wooden buildings on the edge of Oulanka National Park which is renowned for its environmental and sustainability practices. 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. Even the hot tub is run from an ingenious system that uses the excess heat generated from the sauna.

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 several 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 which is enough to cover the emissions of all our customers travelling from London to Kuusamo and much more.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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 www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, 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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.