Have you experienced the incredible Hossa National Park?
Have you hiked the freshly groomed paths of the woods? Have you foraged for berries and mushrooms in the meadows? Or camped out under the stars?
If you’re looking for that ultimate Finland experience, you’re absolutely going to find it in the Suomussalmi municipality in Northern Finland. In less than an hours flight from Helsinki to Kajaani, you’ll be well on route to your perfect Finland experience.
From Kajaani Airport, you’ll have the opportunity to rent a car and drive 300 kilometers north passing by countless picture perfect lakes and families of deer crossing the road.
The best part about it… the journey has just begun.
Before we dig into our guide highlighting 7 incredible days in and around the Hossa National Park, you might be keen to get a little bit of a background information first.
History of Hossa National Park
While Hossa National Park was founded this year, in June of 2017, the hiking trails have actually been around since 1979. The opening of the newest national park in Finland also marked the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence.
There are approximately 130 lakes around Hossa National Park and a total of 100 kilometers of marked hiking trails. Hossa National Park offers 60 kilometers of water routes and 60 kilometers of maintained ski trails across 90 square kilometers of protected land. The history of the Hossa area dates back over 8,000 years. Travelers have found a 7,000-year-old clay pot and 4,000-year-old rock paintings (along with many other small artifacts) to prove that life did exist thousands of years ago in the Hossa area.
More recently, Hossa was voted the outdoor destination of the year in 2011 for aquatic tourism, and again in 2014 as the best nature destination of the summer. Regardless of what you’re looking for in your visit, whether that be relaxation, luxury or wild adventure, you’ll find it at Hossa National Park.
I had the pleasure of spending a full week in and around Hossa National Park, relaxing in the saunas, indulging in the luxurious cabin amenities and adventuring overnight deep into the woods of Hossa National Park. It’s now my turn to share with you an essential guide to exploring in and around Hossa National Park in 7 days.
Don’t forget, depending on when you’re hoping to visit Hossa National Park, the summer months in Northern Finland will be sunny and the winter months will be quite dark. Make sure you’re creating your itinerary around the hours of daylight/moonlight and the changing weather.
Day 1: Fly into Kajaani Airport
12:00 PM: Arrive at Kajaani Airport and grab a rental car
While you might be able to hop on a tourist bus and travel to your resort in many cities and towns around the world, Hossa is unique. You can try to catch a bus, but you’re only going to get as far as the border of the town before you’ll need to grab a car to start exploring the wild. To make it easy, grab a rental car from the Kajaani Airport and start your road trip with some good tunes and great friends.
1:30 PM: Make a stop for lunch in Suomussalmi and meet the Silent People
Don’t worry, you will certainly won’t miss the 1,000 Silent People scattered through a field along the main road in Suomussalmi. No one really knows what the Silent People are supposed to represent, the artist has left that up to the visitors to interpret. If you’re making the stop in the summertime, you will have to try out the incredible pancake lunch cooked over a wood burning stove at The Field Café.
3:00 PM: Meet up with Hossa Travel at Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge
Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful rustic lodge, but it’s not available to everyone. It can be booked through Hossa Travel, you’ll just need to give the owner Tarmo a shout and he’ll be the first one to help plan your perfect itinerary out in the wilderness. Once you’ve arrived at Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge, the team at Hossa Travel will give you a tour around the property, introduce you to some Finnish favorites and get you set up for an evening of relaxation.
4:00 PM: Enjoy an afternoon sauna experience
Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge is an escape from the world of fast pace life and electronics. Take an evening to wind down and experience the Finnish sauna before dinner. While many saunas nowadays are powered by diesel or electricity, Kovavaara has a traditional wood burning sauna which makes it a truly unique experience.
If you’re following this itinerary for the duration of your trip, grab some early shut eye today, you’re in for a week of incredible adventures.
Day 2: Learning About the Nature of Finland
11:00 AM - Go foraging in the woods for mushrooms and berries
Learn how to forage in the woods picking herbs, mushrooms or berries (whatever is in season during your trip). If you would like to prepare a little bit before hand, check out our guide to Eating Your Way Through Hossa National Park. During our visit, we picked herbs such as dandelions, nettle, spruce tips and lady’s mantel, all which were delicious additions to our daily meals.
3:00 PM - Spend an afternoon fishing for dinner
Hossa National Park is an incredible place for fishermen with more than 130 lakes and ponds around the area. If you enjoy a little bit of fishing, why not head out with Hossa Travel on a fishing adventure? If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a fish big enough to fry up for dinner.
If you want to find some other spots to fish around the area, check out www.finlandfishing.fi.
5:00 PM - Fish Fry Dinner
Hyvää Ruokahalua / Bon Appetit!
11:30 PM - Enjoy the midnight sunset
If you still have a bit of energy, why not stay up and enjoy an incredible midnight sunset along the water's edge?
Day 3: Explore Julma-Ölkky Canyon Lake
Julma-Ölkky (also known as Canyon Lake) runs 50 meters deep into the dark waters and 50 meters high above the canyon. Julma-Ölkky is also one of Finland’s largest canyon lakes which is why it is such a gem to visit in the Hossa National Park. So instead of just checking out Julma-Ölkky from a distance, why not dive in and explore it from up high and down low?
10:00 AM: Boat ride or SUP around Canyon Lake
Teija, owner at Lazy Dog SUP Tours will give you a lesson on getting started and take you out onto the Canyon Lake with the stand-up paddle boards. Alternatively, you can hop on a boat and take a short tour around the lake (tickets can be purchased on location).
1:00 PM: Hike 5 kilometer around Canyon Lake
Hop off the board or boat and experience the Canyon Lake from above. You can hike 5 kilometers and then cross the suspension bridge to make your trip back, or you can hike the entire 10-kilometer trail around the lake.
3:00 PM: Visit the Reindeer Farm
The Hossa Reindeer Farm is a home for abandoned reindeer. While they are cared and provided for, they have plenty of space to run around and frolic through the forest. Here you’ll be able to snap a few images, feed them and interact with them.
5:00 PM: Try the Reindeer Soup
The Hossa Reindeer Farm also offers a delicious menu for lunch and dinner including reindeer soup, wild mushroom soup and a number of other local dishes.
7:00 PM: Call it a Night
Not far from the Reindeer Farm is the beautiful Camping Hossan Lumo, offering a variety of accommodation options including luxury cabins, caravan and tent lots. You can also enjoy a relaxing sauna experience before calling it a night.
Day 4: Hike the Hossa National Park
It’s time to get those hiking shoes on to explore Hossa National Park for what it’s really worth.
10:00 AM: Let the hiking begin!
There are a number of trails to choose from, check out our Photo Guide to Hiking Hossa National Park for some inspiration on where to begin.
12:00 PM: Visit the prehistoric rock paintings along the way (Värikallio/Color Rock)
Värikallio is an ancient rock wall with the paintings of what can only be identified as human figures and mythical animals. The paintings were made of blood and red ochre and are estimated to be about 4,000 years old. There are more than 60 different figures that are believed to be linked to shamanism and/or hunting.
1:00 PM & 6:00 PM: Spend lunch and dinner cooking over the campfire
You can join in on a hiking expedition with a tour operator like Hossa Travel, and you’ll have all you need for the perfect trek through the woods. Alternatively, you could plan a hiking trip of your own, just make sure to pack enough food for your journey. If you want to try a few local snacks, check out this photo guide to Eating Your Way Through Hossa National Park.
8:00 PM: Set up hammocks in the woods
You can jump in a sleeping bag, set up a hammock or pitch a tent in Hossa National Park. It’s legal and it’s free!
Day 5: Spend a day relaxing the Finnish way
10:00 AM: Enjoy a morning yoga exercise
It’s up to you. You can try out a few moves on your own, join an instructor and/or try out something unique to Finland, like saunayoga. Saunayoga is a new Finnish favorite, similar to hot yoga, but with a unique Finland twist. JoogaTaival is an excellent activity operator in Hossa and yoga sessions are run by the talented Ms. Saija Taivalmäki.
1:00 PM: Enjoy the afternoon by the water
Today is all about rest and relaxation, so why not go for a swim and relax at one of the clearest lakes in Hossa National Park? You will find a ton of options on the Hossa National Park Excursionmap.
7:00 PM: Spend a night at Camping Hossan Lumo’s
It’s time to grab a hot shower and relax in one of Camping Hossan Lumo’s luxury cabins. There is even a built in sauna, so you don’t have to leave your cabin in your bathrobe.
Day 6: Active & Wild Adventures
Now that you’re well rested, it’s time to get back out and adventure through the National Park.
10:00 AM: Fat bike through the National Park
Have you ever heard of Fat Biking before? It’s an awesome bike designed to tread through snow, grind over rocky rubble and weave around muddy corners. Camping Hossan Lumo offers Fat Bike rentals so you can get out and explore the park in style.
1:00 PM: Husky trekking with Norwide
This might sound relaxing, but it’s definitely quite a wild experience when you first get started. Husky Trekking takes stamina and balance. Norwide organizes Husky Treks around Hossa National Park along with a number of different activities throughout the seasons.
5:00 PM: Spend the night at the Norwide Cottages
Norwide offers more than just adventure tours, they also rent out a number of beautiful and newly renovated cabins in the summer months. Their Hossan Lomakeskus accommodations are the perfect place to wind down. They have a delicious and cozy restaurant and a sauna where you can wind down before departure day.
Day 7: Departure from Hossa
10:00 AM: Canoe Along the Lake
If you’re up for a little more adventure before departing back to the airport, Norwide rents canoes and bikes so you can explore on your own. Why not take a short canoe ride around the lake? The Norwide accommodations overlook a beautiful lake, perfect for a short exploration.
12:00 PM: Say Goodbye and grab some souvenirs
Don’t forget to make a trip to the Hossa National Park Visitor Centre at some point during your trip. Not only will you learn a great deal about the story and the history of the park, but they have some incredible souvenirs you can take home with you to share with your friends and family.
2:00 PM: Start your trip home
Watch for reindeer on the roads as you reminisce on an amazing week spent exploring through Hossa National Park!
If you want a little more inspiration, you can find the coolest places to stay, the most beautiful hiking trails and tips and tricks to eating your way through the wilderness on our other blog posts about Wild Taiga.
Travel tip shared by Jenna for Travel Dudes.