An ideal short-haul break to a wonderful location for sighting brown bears in the Finnish wilderness.
Finland’s wilderness has long been recognised as one of Europe’s best brown bear spotting destinations. Staying in comfortable accommodation and accompanied by excellent guides, our four-day break allows ample time for bear watching; the shorter duration being good value, allowing you to fit in that little extra holiday!
Day1: Fly to Kajaani & transfer to Pirttivaara
On arrival at Kajaani Airport you will be met and transferred by road to your accommodation - a distance of 170 kilometres i.e. around two hours drive. Once you reach Martinselkonen you'll have a quick introduction to the area before dinner.
This morning after breakfast you can go for a walk in the nearby forest by way of an introduction to this ecosystem, returning to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, after an early dinner, at around 16:00 you will be driven to the drop-off point in Martinselkonen Nature Reserve, then walk nearly two kilometres along a forest track to the hide to settle in for your first overnight bear watch.
Normal outdoor clothing and waterproof walking boots are essential. The weather can be quite changeable, so bring a waterproof jacket and a warm fleece. The hides are unheated and may get quite chilly in the early hours of the morning, so prepare accordingly and dress in layers.
Day3: Return to the lodge for breakfast & free day, then return to the hide for second night of bear watching
On return from the hide early this morning, you have an ample breakfast back at the lodge. You are then free to relax and review your photos from the previous night's bear watching. There may be an opportunity to do an optional activity in the vicinity. Once again, after an early dinner, at around 16:00 you are driven to the drop-off point in Martinselkonen Nature Reserve, then walk to the hide for your second night of bear watching.
Day4: Transfer to Kajaani & fly back to the UK
On return from the hide, you have breakfast back at the lodge. Soon after it is time to check out and depart for the transfer back to Kajaani for the afternoon flight back to London via Helsinki.
You should note: Depending on domestic flight schedules (which are subject to change), instead of transferring to Kajaani you may transfer to another airport in Eastern Finland - such as Kuusamo (140 kilometres) or Oulu (270 kilometres) - and fly from there direct to Helsinki.
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 4 daysfrom £1,195 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 4 daysfrom £875 pp
This reserve is one of the best places in Europe to photograph brown bears. Hides are located in sparse coniferous forest beside a small bog and, lured by carrion, bears can be seen at night from as close as five metres away. During the day there are nature walks, with good opportunities for birdwatching.
Where: Pirttivaara, Suomussalmi
Ideal for viewing: brown bear, moose, wolverine, black grouse, capercaillie
Suggested accommodation is shown below.
for further recommendations.
These hides are occupy a fantastic position two kilometres inside the forest, from where you can listen to and photograph bears at close range. Two purpose-built wooden buildings accommodate nine people each and offer comfortable seating, with basic bunk beds. Smaller professional hides are also available.