Kainuu in northern Finland is a truly unique destination with a particular focus on activities and nature. In the summer there are numerous activities including walking or biking along hundreds of miles of guided trails, canoeing, fishing and bear watching. A thick majestic covering of snow in the winter makes it the ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts of all standards.
Suomussalmi is the northernmost municipality in the wilderness region of Kainuu. The region has a rich culture dating back thousands of years and there are plenty of poignant reminders of the Winter War. The extensive wilderness areas and waters of Suomussalmi offer the active tourist experiences in every season. Winter activities include, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, ice-skating, dog-sledding, snow-shoeing and much more. The summer brings different experience opportunities with excellent hiking trails, canoeing, superb fishing, berry picking, wildlife viewing amongst others. This is an excellent location for photography whatever season you travel with a wild variety of wildlife and flora set amongst some of the world’s most stunning and peaceful scenery.
HOSSA HIKING AREA
Hossa is a favourite resort for tourists who enjoy the great outdoors. Its versatile waters (Finland has the cleanest fresh-waters in the world) and fantastic ridge landscapes attract visitors in the winter as well as summer. There are well marked tracks to explore amongst glorious forests with glimpses of wildlife and flora and sparkling lakes. There are also well tended tracks for snowmobiles and dog teams. The Hossa Visitor Centre is the most important service point for visitors to this area, where necessary licenses can be obtained for activities such as fishing, and various guides and hints are available to ensure that the visitor gets the most from their visit. There are plenty of options for accommodation in the area with the more hardened hiker taking advantage of camping spots and free wilderness huts, whilst there are comfortable cabins, cottages and a Holiday Village for the more leisurely hiking experience. There are about 90km of marked hiking routes winding around the area, with 60km of tended ski tracks and 100km of canoeing routes. Alongside these, the wilderness huts and leans-to offer shelter and accommodation. The well tended hiking area is safe for families with small children and some huts and paths are also suitable for the physically handicapped.
MARTINSELKONEN – the Last Wilderness
The Martinselkonen conservation area is located next to the Russian border, in the village of Ruhtinansalmi. The forests in the area have not been cut for the last 50 years and the area is home to some of the region’s most exotic wildlife. Guided wildlife watching, hiking or ski tours of the area can be organised in the local centre or pre-booked before you go.
Winter War Exhibition Raatteen Portti
Located just 24km from Suomussalmi, Raatteen Portti is home to the Winter War exhibition. Through its collection of artefacts, photographs, maps and models it describes the Winter War battles which took place in Suomussalmi. In the media room the visitor is transported back using modern technology into the midst of the backwoods war on the freezing Raate road. The Winter War Monument is also a part of the
exhibition. There is an admission charge to the exhibition. Guidance for groups around the exhibition may be arranged free of charge by prior booking and guided tours of the Raate road and Suomussalmi's other battle areas may also be arranged. In addition to the exhibition Raatteen Portti has a fully licensed café-restaurant seating sixty people. Meals for groups may be arranged by prior reservation. Also on sale are various items relating to the war such as Finnish Army artefacts, books and postcards.
THE SILENT PEOPLE
Just 30km from the centre of the municipality is a sight that will fill the visitor with many emotions. The crowd of almost one thousand figures that make up the Silent People suddenly emerges before the visitor like a Michael Jackson video. In the morning with light behind them, this motionless army may appear morose perhaps even menacing. As the day progresses their countenance brightens until with the setting of the sun they present a distinctly jolly and colourful picture. When the wind blows their straw hair and clothes begin to flap rhythmically, it is as if they had suddenly sprung into life.Dance artist, Reijo Kela, unveiled his peat-headed beings for the first time in a 1988 presentation 'Ilmari's Ploughed Field' in Lassila's Field. They reappeared later in Helsinki's Senaatintori Market Place as part of the 1994 Kainuu Exhibition. The Silent People moved to their present home in the autumn of 1994. The peat-heads have their clothing attended to twice a year; their heads come straight from the field, their clothes from organised collections. The Silent People are made and clothed by the Suomussalmi Youth Workshop, which also takes care of their maintenance.
KALEVALA SPIRIT VISITOR EXPERIENCE
The Kalevala is an epic poem compiled from Finnish and Karelian folklore in the nineteenth century. It is thought of as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works in Finnish literature. The Kalevala Spirit Visitor experience combines the senses of taste, sight, hearing, smell and touch into a comprehensive and unique experience in the spirit of the national epic. “Kalevala Spirit is a philosophy, a way of life and an attitude. Finnish folklore espouses both a close and respectful relationship with nature and a feeling of responsibility for our fellow beings. We forge our own Sampo. Through our hard work and our creativity, we create our own Kalevala.”
Kuhmo offers various possibilities for sport fishing. There is perch and pike in almost every lake. Pajakkakoski rapids near centre are among the most popular fishing places in Kuhmo. There are a number of fishing trips available from the Hotel Kalevala which can be booked locally or pre-purchased prior to arrival.
FISHING TRIP TO THE RIVER PAJAKKAJOKI
You will head by guided motorboat tour from the hotel beach towards Pajakkajoki. Possible catches for today are trout, whitefish, pike perch, pike, perch and crayfish. After two other rivers and 7 km tour with fishing we’ll enjoy picnic lunch before transferring back to the hotel. Duration of the tour 4 –5 hours.
FISHING TRIP TO RAPID LENTUANKOSKI
This afternoon trip visits the rapids at Lentuankoski which is one of the areas main large free-flowing rapids. It connects two major lakes in the area, namely Lake Lentua and Lake Lammasjärvi.
SPINNING RODS OR NETS
You will head east by motorboat for a “spinning rods or nets” fishing trip. Possible catches for today are pike and pikeperch. The excursion will include a picnic lunch on a small island with a sandy beach and if you are lucky your lunch could be your catch!
Church (tar) Boat Tours
The Church Boat is a traditional boat built from timber and sealed with tar which was used to attend church periodically. A boat was generally owned by a co-operative of locals who shared the cost of building and maintenance for a seat or oar in the boat.
Several tours are available including:
Down the River Pajakkajoki by a Tar Boat
A brief introduction to the rowing techniques and you will set off down the Pajakkakoski rapids which are located right next to Kuhmo town centre. The trip ends at the Saarikoski rapids and you will be rewarded for your efforts with coffee and sausages cooked by an open campfire.
From the Lentua Rapids to Kalevala by Tar Boats
You will be transported by coach or mini-van to the Lentua rapids where your guide will inform you about the rowing route and the magnificent rapids that stream free. You will take the rail track up to the Pikku-Lentua, where your trip by church boats and tar boats begins, shooting the Pikku-Lentua rapid. The trip continues to Lake Lammasjärvi and Hotel Kalevala shore via the Poroselkä open.
The location of this exciting winter floating trip is the Pajakkakoski rapids, flowing right through the centre of the town of Kuhmo. We will start the trip at the hotel by dressing in rescue outfits and snowmobile driving gear with the help of our guide. We will drive the distance of 7 kilometres to the rapid by snowmobiles. First, we will get used to floating in the water and learn how to swim wearing the rescue outfit in the still water of Pappilansuvanto. Our guide fills us in with the secrets of going down the rapid safely. After practising, we will go up on the bridge crossing the rapid to evaluate the streams of the 600-metre-long rapid. The floating down (swimming on our backs) will be performed one by one under the surveillance of a safety guard. Down in the still water another safety guard will sit in a boat to make sure that we get safely out of the water. Down, on the riverbank, we will have warm drinks in a warm Kota (Lappish tepee). All participants will receive a diploma for the float. Duration approximately 4 hours.