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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 huskies would be a real highlight of my week in Finland…
Husky sledding in the Finnish wilderness
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.
Meeting the huskies
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 wilderness, allowing plenty of time to appreciate this winter wonderland – alongside our adventurous Husky companions, of course!
One of the elements of the Finnish Wilderness Week I had 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.
Cross-country skiing in Finland
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…
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. The bedrooms were comfortable and spacious, with much-appreciated underfloor heating which made coming in from the -15 degree temperatures a real pleasure.
Wooden Lodge at Basecamp Oulanka
Reindeer Farm Visit
On 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.
Meeting the reindeer
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…
Reindeer ride in Finland
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.
Winter landscape at Riisitunturi
As is often the case, the pictures didn’t even do Riisitunturi justice – and I was blown away by just how otherworldly 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.
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 and see what else the Finnish Wilderness Week holds in store.
Discover more winter Finland trips below.