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Hiking in remote national parks on the border of Finland and Russia (Karelia)

Hiking Tour Kuusamo-Russian Karelia: Remote wilderness, bear watching and midnight sun
Hiking Tour Kuusamo-Russian Karelia: Remote wilderness, bear watching and midnight sun
Hiking Tour Kuusamo-Russian Karelia: Remote wilderness, bear watching and midnight sun
Hiking Tour Kuusamo-Russian Karelia: Remote wilderness, bear watching and midnight sun

Go on a wonderful 8-day hiking trip, visiting pristine remote locations in Paanajärvi National Park (Russian Karelia) and Oulanka National Park (Finland). Certified GeoGuide Markus takes you on this amazing journey through untouched wilderness.


8 Days





* Discover the remote and untouched Russian Karelia region

* Watch the bear from a safe distance in its homeland in Kuusamo!

* Enjoy 8 days of pure nature in the midnight sun light!


Join me on this unique 8-day hiking trip and discover two national parks in Russia and Finland. In the wild, untouched but still gentle Russian Karelia region, we will visit the Paanajärvi National Park, and the Oulanka National Park on Finland, near the Russian border.

I will take you on an incredible bear watching experience, to discover the the bear in his homeland in Kuusamo, Russia. It will be 8 days of pure nature experience, far away from villages and towns, at the time of midnight sun in the country.

The number of visitors in the Paanajärvi National Park is strictly regulated, so we will enjoy a vast, untouched wilderness, that you can hardly find anywhere else. We will stay in a simple wilderness hut, right by the water.

Before we drive more than 1000 km to the Paanajärvi National Park in ​​Russian Karelia, we experience versatile activities in the Oulanka National Park, on the adjacent Finnish side. We will enjoy great hikes, through gorges, on idyllic lakes and rushing rivers and over promising hills with a view over Russia, where we will experience the second part of this hiking trip.

We will hardly see any bears during the day hikes. However, we will likely see them when we go out in the wild, for a an evening bear watching guided tour. Just right on the border with Russia, from a safe hideaway and at a safe distance, we can observe and photograph the adult animals and young bears as they roam under the setting sun.

Finland proudly boasts an incredible number of lakes: the country is home to 187,888 lakes! So, just in front of our accommodation there is a lake, where you can enjoy your first canoeing experience. Would you prefer to travel longer and experience different landscapes? Then you can take a guided canoeing day trip close to the Russian border. On the way, there is a great chance that you can watch reindeer from the canoe, which are located on the shore.

On the Finnish side we spend the night directly at the Oulanka National Park in Kuusamo, directly on the lake shore and far away from the city in simple wooden apartments. The property has been repeatedly honored with several international sustainability awards. Here we enjoy local, organic food.

The apartments have double rooms and single rooms. If you prefer something more spacious, you can stay in a larger chalet (see pictures above). The chalet offers 3 separate bedrooms, a spacious lounge, a fireplace and even a kitchen and 2 saunas overlooking the lake only a few meters away. The chalet is for 3 to  6 people maximum.

In Russian Karelia we spend the night in a wilderness cabin with a bedroom. Depending on the group size we will stay in two wild huts. There are no double or single rooms. In Russian Karelia, an experienced, English speaking guide will guide us. He will also be our driver and will cook for us in the hut and prepare local specialties. He will therefore look after us all round. I will support him and ensure the translation for the group.

For the journey we fly comfortably from Zurich to Kuusamo with one change. Afterwards, we will have a short ride with the shuttle bus (about 30 minutes) to the accommodation directly on the lake. The journey by train and bus would unfortunately take almost half of the week.

I am a multi-lingual hiking guide, and I also speak fluent Finnish. I have organized this trip and will personally lead it. I have been to Finland and especially Lapland for 20 years. With this trip to Russian Karelia I extend my offer further eastward.

Are you in for this incredible journey? Just send me a request, book your trip and get ready for an great hiking trip in Russia and Finland!

Click here if you want to check out many other summer hiking and snowshoeing tours I also guide in Finnish Lapland and Switzerland.

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Flight to the start


Day 1: Kuusamo

Arrival by plane to Kuusamo and continue with shuttle bus to the accommodation.

Day 2 to 4: Oulanka National Park

We will enjoy two hiking days in the Oulanka National Park, in the footsteps of the Bear Trail and near the town of Ruka, which is internationally known for skiing. We will also drive one evening near the Russian border for a guided bear watching tour.  You will also have the possibility of canoeing on the lake one day, in front of the property or in a river near the Russian border (either guided or on your own) or just to enjoy time for yourself. Activities not included in the package price.

Day 5: Russian Karelia

Overland drive to Russian Karelia (about 3 hours, without crossing the border) on very simple roads. Visit to a shop, lunch, hike, wilderness dinner.

Day 6: Hike and boat ride on the Paanajärvi

Day 7: Fjäll-hike, return to Kuusamo

After the hikes there will be some time left, if possible, be it for a sauna or a swim in the adjacent lake.  At the dinner we can end the day with local specialties and reminiscences of our journey.

Day 8: Kuusamo airport - Return flight via Helsinki to Zurich

Shuttle bus to Kuusamo airport and return flight via Helsinki to Zurich.



More info

*Meals. Full board from the 2nd day (breakfast, picnic on the way, dinner) is included in the price. Since we are outside the towns and villages, there are no actual shops in the area, but you have the option of buying snacks at the Finnish accommodation and in a small shop in Russian Karelia.

*Mosquitoes. The winter has just come to an end, so that the mosquitoes develop only slowly.

*Weather. The weather is comparable to ours at the same time in the Alps. It can change quickly. You can definitely experience 3 seasons in one day. Midnight Sun! During our trip we enjoy 24 hours of light. So there are only long days, no nights!

*Pure hiking time: about 3 - 5 hours / day. Ascent: approx. 200m-700m, Descent: approx. 200-700m, each day. *Terrain: easy, mostly good trails in hilly forest and open countryside, partly rocky, occasionally weglos.

*The equipment is similar as to mountain hikes in the Alps. Hiking boots with good thread. You will also receive a detailed packing list once you book the trip.

Meeting point


About the guide

Guide profile image


Hiking Guide

Markus Glättli, Hiking Leader with Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, Ranger BZW and GeoGuide Sardona.

Let you whisk away in unique landscapes in Switzerland, the Cinque Terre, the Chamonix region or even Finnish Lapland. Learn stories, legends and interesting information and enjoy local delicious products of the region.

Enjoy full service for individual customers, small groups or companies. Take the time and enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of unspoilt nature. Experience nature.

I offer tours in English, German and French.


German | French | English

What people are saying about Explore-Share



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