Finland offers vast areas of unspoilt wilderness, with two-thirds of the country covered in verdant forest and glistening lakes.
The Kainuu wilderness in the north-eastern region of Finland is a wonderful European short break destination where you can view brown bears in their natural habitat. It is here that our Finland bear-viewing tours take place.
Kainuu is close to the Russian border and offers nature in the raw with fabulous opportunities for wildlife photography. The national animal is the brown bear and the total population is thought to be around 1,000. Most of these live in the large wilderness areas on the Russian side of the Finnish border and move to and fro across the border with the changing seasons, usually returning to Finland in spring after hibernation.
The best time to photograph bears in Finland is from the middle of April to the beginning of June, when the bears have just awoken from their long winter sleep and are foraging for food. Then the rut begins, when eating is no longer the bear’s main concern!
The bear watching hides we use are situated close to a small swamp in a thin pine forest. This is a natural habitat for bears, with the forest providing safety and hiding for bear cubs. The forest is also home to a myriad of birds, including the black kite, white tailed eagle and sometimes even the golden eagle.
Brown bear photos used with the kind permission of Mark Williams, who travelled with us to Finland in 2016.
Finland Travel Advice
• The brown bear viewing season begins in May and lasts through to the middle of August.
• The Finnish summer is brief with temperatures of 20°C - 30°C, July being the warmest month.
• Don't overlook the winter. Though fiendishly cold, the wildlife in Wild Taiga is stunning.
• The birdlife is great all-year round.
Example itineraries in Finland
This four day short break is an ideal wildlife getaway to one of Europe’s premier bear locations. You will be based at Martinselkosen Wildlife Centre, which is family-owned and began its operation in 1991. The centre is located in peaceful surroundings close to the Russian border in Suomussalmi.
The Wild Taiga area, situated in Eastern Finland on the Russian border, is a land of pure, untamed nature. Its geography is dominated by hills, forests, lakes, rivers and mires, and is home to a stunning array of wild animals. This tour includes one day at a local husky farm and four nights in wilderness hides, where you will have the chance to observe and photograph bears, wolves, and wolverines in their natural habitat, safely in the presence of a trained guide.
Wildlife and Huskies of Wild Taiga (Autumn/Winter). This is an adapted version of our summer programme, and is suitable for travel from October onwards. Please note that it is not possible to see bears during this period, except very occasionally during October.