Where to see wildlife in Finland
On the ground
Finland’s unspoilt forests are still home to Brown bears, wolves, a healthy population of lynx and other predators - as well as elk, beavers, Red squirrel, reindeer and many more animals that have vanished from other parts of Europe. Woodland wildlife may be hard to spot, however, since most animals and birds are wary of humans.
National parks and nature reserves are naturally good places to see wildlife. Bogs and undeveloped lakeshores are particularly rich in flora and fauna. The national parks of Linnansaari and Kolovesi are home to the endangered Saimaa ringed seal.
Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world and the easternmost one in the European Union. So it will come as no surprise that the bird population should feature a number of northern and eastern species rarely encountered elsewhere in Europe.
Keen birders flock to Finland to see Black and Great spotted woodpecker, Pygmy and Great Grey owls, White tailed and Golden eagles, Merlin, Pink footed geese, Willow and Siberian tits, Black grouse, Capercaillie, cranes and many other species that are rare elsewhere. Finnish birdwatchers are particularly active in April and May when Finland’s national bird, the Whooper swan, and many other winged migrants return north. Good places to watch migrating birds include Siikalahti in Eastern Finland, the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, and Laajalahti Nature Reserve just west of Helsinki.
Most of the geographical area covered by Finland lies in the northern coniferous zone, so forests make up nearly 70 percent of its total surface area. In addition, the majority of the most interesting birds – owls, woodpeckers and grouse – live in the old forests.
Approximately one tenth of Finland's surface area is swamp and bog. Bird species there include Arctic waders in their summer plumage in the breeding season. You could see Taiga bean geese, Common cranes and Whooper swans all nesting here.
Lakes and rivers make up another 10 percent of Finland's surface area: in fact there are almost 200,000 lakes in the country. Typical bird species seen on lakes include the Black-throated diver, Red-necked grebe and Little gull. The shallow brackish water bays on the Finnish coast feature a wide variety of waterfowl and waders.
For the hardy and adventurous, who are happy to head up onto the tundra, you may be lucky enough to encounter species such as the Dotterel, Ptarmigan and Gyrfalcon.
Head for Kajaani in the northern part of Finland, and from there make your way to the Martinselkonen Wilderness Lodge, one of Europe’s finest locations for observing brown bears from a specially built hide. You’ll find plenty of other distractions as well; the lodge owners have established several walking trails, while for birdwatchers there is a hide nearby.
The bear hide itself occupies an amazing location in a forest-clearing, making it perfect for bear-watching. It’s also perfect for taking photographs. Some thought has been given to comfort as you spend a night in the hide. The chairs are very comfortable, and there’s an area set aside for sleeping and a private bathroom. It’s usually to spend two nights in the hide before returning to the lodge.
Brown bears are not the only species you have a chance of seeing. Reindeer may wander past, as well as wolves and birds. There are as many as ten different species of owl to be seen in the area. Summer’s endless light evenings ensure there’s plenty of time to observe the goings-on below you.
Tour operators spcialising in the wildlife of Finland
Articmedia is the only operator that can enable you to see bears, wolves, wolverines, golden eagles and white-tailed eagles in one day. Chairman Lassi Rautiainen has been a pioneer in bear photography since 1978 and photography trips since 1991. We have over 15 hides in Kuhmo and Kuusamo, where you can view a diverse range of birdlife including owls, capercaillie, black grouse and cranes.
Contact Details - www.articmedia.fi Tel +358400380878
We know the territory – you’ll experience the difference. We pride ourselves on our intimate and expert knowledge of Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Russia and more. By combining our first-hand knowledge of your destination and our extensive experience within the global travel industry, we’re able to tailor-make the perfect holiday for you – whatever your interests, budget and location.
Contact Details - www.baltictravelcompany.com - Tel 020 8233 2875
Hikes N Trails
Hikes´n Trails offers guided active guided holidays in Lapland, Eastern Finland, Scandinavia and on the Russian border. We have over ten years experience of providing trekking, skiing and paddling holidays in Finland and Swedish Lapland. Our tours are always designed to be inspirational, fun and appeal to all the senses, including taste - a highlight of our tours is cooking delicious food in the wilderness.
Contact Details - www.hikesntrails.com - Tel: +358 40 553 5469
Finland's wild taiga is one of the few areas in Europe where it is possible to photograph rare, majestic beasts in their natural environment. In addition to carnivores such as brown bears, wolves and wolverines, you can see moose, wild forest reindeer, flying squirrels, beavers and our biggest birds of prey. And thanks to the midnight sun, you can watch wildlife around the clock!
Wilds Piira offer memorable holidays to Finland on nature’s own terms. The numerous clean waterways, extensive taiga and sparse population in the east of the country provide an excellent setting for a truly fulfilling holiday. Our range of tours and fantastic wildlife watching packages include opportunities for activities like canoeing, hiking and rapid swimming.Contact details – www.erapiira.fi Tel +358 400 219 197
Wild Brown Bear
Wild Brown Bear offers highly experienced photography tours in Finland, enabling you to capture amazing images of bears and other wildlife. Our photography hides offer excellent views and are situated in good light, with openings for camera lenses below the height of the viewing windows. The main lodge also has beautiful views of the taiga and its array of natural treasures.
Contact Details - Tel +358 40 5469008 - www.wbb.fi
Taiga Spirit, Nature and Wildlife experiences will guide you to the heart of the Finnish wild taiga. With us you will be able to observe and photograph a rich diversity of wildlife in its natural habitat, including brown bears, mysterious wolverines or capercaillie. Meanwhile, winter's Northern Lights make a dazzling spectacle. Contact us to create your Finnish wildlife holiday dream.
Contact Details - www.taigaspirit.com - Tel: + 358 (0)40 7468 243
Routa Travel organises husky safaris and nature tours in Wild Taiga near Kuhmo. We are specialists in private tours designed for couples, families or other small groups, something that enables us to offer truly individual experiences.
Contact Details: www.routatravel.fi Tel. +358 (0)44 2613 389