Face-to-Face with Finland
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Destination for this trip:
Finland; Helsinki, Finland; Imatra, Finland; Kuusamo, Finland; Rovaniemi, Finland
Length of trip:
Approximate price of this trip per person:
from $ 3000 to $ 4000
Best travel dates to go:
June, July, August
Detailed Description of this trip:
Fascinating vignettes of community lifestyle, folklore and deeply rooted traditions are revealed in this picturesque journey from the Land of Lakes to the Arctic Circle. Take a step into history – touch the ancient walls of graceful Olavinlinna Castle, Valamo Monastery and the fire-red timbers of 18th-century dwellings. Porvoo’s historic quarter has charmed generations since 1346 with painted warehouses, cobblestoned lanes, handicraft shops and medieval cathedrals. Taste a cup of Russian tradition- tea brewed in a silver samovar, sweetened with jams while nibbling Russian delicacies made from time-honored recipes. Listen as a village speaks of the gathering of Finland’s epic poem, the Kalevala. Travel to the land of the tzars, from the spectacular viewpoint of the Koli Hills, to the rapids cascading by the Imperial Fishing Lodge. Shoot the rapids on a long wooden riverboat. Tame the wilds by the fireside and soak up the hospitality of centuries old Karelian culture. Be intrigued by a full day’s excursion exploring the unusual style of Karelian architecture and intricate craftsmanship. You are welcome to enjoy the farmhouse, savor Karelian specialties and catch the melody of Finnish folk music played on a Kantele. As you head north to the Sami Laplands, the Karelian landscape of hills, lakes and green meadows changes to steep cliffs, streams and forests marked by the beauty of Julma Ölkky Canyon Lake. The sights of Rovaniemi are both whimsical and captivating, with the streets laid out like a pair of reindeer antlers! Take part in a Sami ceremony, feel the softness of a reindeer’s nose, shake Santa’s hand at his workshop and enjoy the unspoiled homeland of the Sami people. This diversity of rural culture and style strikes an engaging contrast to the sophistication of Helsinki. Return and enjoy her treasures!
This Trip is Recommended for:
Day 1 - On the Plane
Overnight flight from U.S. gateway city.
Day 2 - Helsinki
Arrive in Helsinki.
After a private transfer, refresh and get acquainted with this exciting capital. Take advantage of some of our optional activities and dinner suggestions.
Accommodations: Hotel Seurohoune, B
Day 3 - Helsinki
Helsinki – Imatra – “Traces of the Past”.
Meet your guide at 8:30 a.m. to begin sightseeing in Porvoo, the second oldest town in Finland. The old town is famous for its charming old warehouses, cobblestoned streets, handicraft shops and the medieval cathedral. Lunch will be enjoyed in the old Ruotsinpyhtää iron works village, dotted with red 18th-century workers’ dwellings. Next stop will be at Langinkoski rapids, where you will see the imperial fishing lodge that Tzar Alexander III built on the shore of the roaring rapids.
Dinner and overnight in Imatra. Accommodations: Rantasipi Hotel Valtionhotelli, B, L, D
Day 4 - Imatra
Imatra – Koli– Lieksa – “Stunning Finnish Countryside”.
After a lovely breakfast, you drive thorough the beautiful Punkaharju esker ridge, an isthmus between two large lakes, and continue to the Retretti Art Exhibition, featuring classical and contemporary collections partly housed in an underground cave. After lunch in Punkaharju, you head to Savonlinna and Olavinlinna Castle, the venue of the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. In the afternoon, you will visit the Eastern Orthodox monastery of Valamo in Heinãvesi.
Food and Dining
Enjoy a cup of tea brewed in traditional style- a silver samovar sweetened with raspberry jam and accompanied by old-Russian delicacies.
Continue to Koli Hill and marvel at Finland’s best-known spot of natural beauty before checking into the hotel in Lieksa. Accommodations: Sokos Hotel Koli, B, L, D
Day 5 - Finland
Lieksa – “Karelian Heritage”.
The day’s excursion acquaints you with Karelian culture and traditions. Tour a local farmhouse to experience fine examples of wooden architecture, savor a Karelian specialty lunch, an arts-and-crafts exhibit and folk music played on a Kantele, the Finnish folk-music instrument.
Relax over a lovely dinner at your hotel in Lieksa. Accommodations: Sokos Hotel Koli, B, L, D
Day 6 - Finland
Koli – Kuhmo – “Art and Adventures”.
Today on the way to Kuhmo, you stop in Vuonislahti to view the studio and log chapel of wood carver and sculptress Eva Ryynänen.
In the Ruunaa wilderness close to the Finnish–Russian border, try your hand at riverboat rafting with local fishermen.
Arts, Crafts and Antiques
After a fireside lunch, you proceed to Kalevala village for a cultural tour describing the old traditions of the 19th-centurey Karelian people.
Enjoy a festive dinner at your hotel in Kuhmo. Accommodations: Hotel Kalevala, B, L, D
Day 7 - Kuusamo
Kuhmo – Kuusamo – “Impresssive Landscapes”.
Rise and travel through the North Karelian landscape of hills, lakes and lush green meadows and observe the change to steep cliffs, streams and wild forests of Kuusamo. Take time to have lunch in Ämmänsaari before heading to Julma Ölkky Canyon Lake, an area of astounding beauty.
Relax and enjoy dinner and the amenities at your hotel in Kuusamo. Accommodations: Spa Hotel Kuusamon Tropiikki, B, L, D
Day 8 - Rovaniemi
Kuusamo – Rovaniemi – “Where Santa Claus Lives!”.
After breakfast, set off for an excursion to Lake Kitka, where you can watch the local fishermen seine-fishing. If the catch is good, it will be prepared for lunch. On the way to Rovaniemi, tour the Coffee Cup Museum, see key sights and meet the jolly old man himself at Santa’s Workshop in the Arctic Circle. A highlight to remember is taking part in a traditional Lapp ceremony.
Dinner will be enjoyed in Rovaniemi. Accommodations: Hotel Rantasipi Pohjanhovi, B, L, D
Day 9 - Helsinki
Return to Helsinki.
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you transfer to Rovaniemi Airport for a morning flight back to Helsinki.
Accommodations: Hotel Seurahoune, B
The remainder of the day is your own to explore and enjoy!
Day 10 - Helsinki
U.S. departure or continue your trip with one of The Nordic Company’s many extension options.
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