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

Five Highlights from the Finnish Wilderness Week

Our Finnish Wilderness Week is one of our most popular trips, transporting travellers into a true snow-covered wonderland. Exodus Social Media Executive Milly Youngman took a trip to Basecamp Oulanka to experience Finland’s finest winter activities…

Dog Sledding With Huskies

As a big-time dog lover, there was little doubt that spending the day with seventy-eight of them would be a real highlight of my week in Finland…

Finnish Wilderness Week

Arriving at a husky farm in the depths of winter snow, owner Laurie took us on a tour to meet some of his beloved Huskies - from retired running dogs that are still very much part of the family, to this year’s litter of puppies. It was comforting to see how well taken care of each animal was, and how much they relished pulling the sleds. As we prepared for our husky rides, every dog could be seen bouncing off the ground, yapping excitably, unable to wait to start their much-awaited run.

Finnish Wilderness Week

The second I removed my foot from the break, my husky team took off with a thrilling jolt, slowing to a more relaxed pace once they’d got into the swing of the run. My eyes were drawn to the landscape, the snow-dusted trees that punctuated dazzling and unspoilt pure white fields. The ride took us across 10km of Finnish countryside, allowing plenty of time to appreciate this winter wonderland – alongside our adventurous Husky companions, of course!

Cross-Country Skiing

One of the elements of the Finnish Wilderness Week I’d felt a little apprehensive over was the cross-country skiing. As someone who’d never even put their foot into a ski boot before, I wasn’t sure how I’d manage without falling flat on my face.

Finnish Wilderness Week

Thankfully, our leader Elena took us through the basics on the lake before exploring further – from how to balance and move through to falling over (yep, there’s a technique to it!). And surprisingly, I took to the cross-country skis much better than I’d anticipated! I even managed a small downhill run without a fall, which I think is a BIG achievement for a first timer…

Basecamp Oulanka

Home for the week was Basecamp Oulanka, a warm and welcoming cluster of wooden buildings. The dining room served just as much as a living room, where we played games and drank wine. Mealtimes at Basecamp Oulanka were exciting and varied, with plenty of regional and fresh ingredients used to create delicious dishes. Vegetarian and vegan options were always available, and staff took great care in ensuring any dietary requirements were well cared for. A couple of my favourite meals were the rich and peppery elk stew and experiencing reindeer sausage for the first time.

Finnish Wilderness Week

The bedrooms were comfortable and spacious, with much-appreciated underfloor heating which made coming in from the -15 degree temperatures a real pleasure.

Finnish Wilderness Week

Reindeer Farm Visit

On the Thursday, we were given a free day with some optional activities to choose from, including snowmobiling, downhill skiing in Ruka and a river flotation experience. Many of the group decided to take the morning visit to a reindeer farm.

Finnish Wilderness Week

Our first activity came straight out of the ‘festive fun’ playbook – a sleigh ride with some of the farm’s strongest reindeer! Some of the smaller reindeer were also getting hungry, and we were able to feed them their favourite grassy treat…

Finnish Wilderness Week

After feeding the reindeer, it was our turn to tuck in! We tried sausages around the fire in a cosy hut, washed down with some delicious glögi – a berry drink we’d all grown fond of during the trip. It was a great chance to learn more about the work of the farm, along with the family’s history and how reindeer farming in Finland works.

Snowshoeing in Riisitunturi National Park

On our final day in Finland, we were offered a range of optional activities to choose from. The entire group opted for a day’s snowshoeing in Riisitunturi, after seeing some incredible imagery from the National Park.

Finnish Wilderness Week

As is often the case, the pictures didn’t even do Riisitunturi justice – and I was blown away by just how otherworldy and magical the park is in the depths of winter. Honestly, I felt like I’d stepped into Narnia, and that Mr Tumnus would come bounding by any second.

Finnish Wilderness Week

The walk itself was relatively easy, because this one’s all about the scenery. Waiting for us towards the end of the adventure was a campfire and packs of reindeer sausages, where we tucked into packed lunches before making our way back to the coach, saying goodbye to our final hours of Finnish winter.

Discover a Winter Wonderland!

Travel in Milly's footsteps to the edges of the Arctic Circle in beautiful Finland. 

Finnish Wilderness Week

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