Journey through the stunning summer scenery of Ruka-Kuusamo

3 minute read

Credits: Veera Vihervaara

Enjoy the best parts of an active summer holiday in Finland’s picturesque Ruka-Kuusamo area.

A summer holiday in Ruka-Kuusamo – surrounded by beautiful hills and forests – is the perfect set-up for an array of amazing nature activities and unforgettable experiences.  

Located near popular holiday resort Ruka, Kuusamo is only an hour’s flight from Helsinki. To get to the town centre from Kuusamo airport is around six kilometres, and it’s around 27 kilometres to travel north to Ruka. If you choose to take the train, head to Oulu, Rovaniemi, or Kemijärvi and continue by bus or car from there. 

Credits: Salla Karhumaa

Top things to do in Ruka in the summer

Hiking is one of the north’s most beloved summer pastimes, and Kuusamo offers plenty of beautiful trails and landscape views. One of the most famous hiking trails in Finland, Karhunkierros, is located here, but if trekking 80-kilometres isn’t your idea of a good time, you can take a shorter hike in Oulanka, Riisitunturi, or Hossa National Park – just be sure to have a map handy or opt for a guided tour.

If you’d rather explore the scenery on two wheels, go mountain biking on one of the many bike trails in Ruka-Kuusamo. Another family-friendly activity that provides an adrenaline rush is river rafting on the Kitkajoki River in Oulanka National Park. To learn about the animals of Lapland, pay a visit to a reindeer farm or go on a bear-watching tour.  

Experience the thrill of river rafting at the Aallokkokoski Rapids in the Kitkajoki River.
Credits : Harri Tarvainen
Credits: Harri Tarvainen
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Explore Ruka-Kuusamo's national parks – from rock paints to rolling rapids 

Many outdoor lovers’ Ruka-Kuusamo bucket lists involve hiking the area’s majestic national parks and basking in its intriguing history and photogenic scenery. For example, head to Hossa National Park to view the rock paintings near Lake Somerjärvi. Or take the Pieni Karhunkierros Trail in Oulanka National Park to see the Myllykoski rapids, located by a 100-year-old mill. And just 1 kilometre from Oulanka Visitor Centre, check out Kiutaköngäs rapids, one of Finland’s most famous waterfalls.

Finally, in Riisitunturi National Park just a half-hour drive from Ruka, you’ll find beautiful Ikkunalampi Pond, an infinity pool created by nature that’s one of the park’s most awe-inspiring sights. 

Credits : Visit Finland
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Summer events in Ruka-Kuusamo

If you’re up for a physical challenge, plan your visit to Ruka in May and participate in the NUTS Karhunkierros trail running event. With routes ranging from 13 to 166 kilometres, the event gives runners of different levels a chance to enjoy the trails of Oulanka National Park and the Ruka area. 

For fans of electronic dance music, the Solstice Festival is an exciting music event held during the last weekend of June, when the Finns celebrate Midsummer. This three-day festival also offers diverse art forms and fun activities set amid the unique natural environment at the top of Ruka. 

Lace up your running shoes and join the NUTS Karhunkierros trail running event for an unforgettable challenge.
Credits : Veera Vihervaara

Sleep on the water, under the stars, or in a cosy cottage 

In Ruka, you have plenty of options when it comes to accommodations, so choose whichever one tickles your fancy. 

One way to spend your summer holiday is to rent a cottage, and there are plenty to choose from. For seamless service and a comfortable stay, as well as nightlife and other lively activities, choose from one of the many hotels in the area. And if you’re looking to relax in a spa after a long hike, check out Holiday Club Kuusamon Tropiikki. 

Want to become one with nature? Opt for accommodations in the wilderness. In the heart of Oulanka National Park, you can head straight to the hiking trails with a stay at Basecamp Oulanka. By Lake Heikinjärvi, Isokenkäisten Klubi Wilderness Lodge offers the chance to relax in a smoke sauna then take a dip in the lake. For a stay in an idyllic village, The House of Northern Senses offers spacious accommodations that are perfect for private holidays or unique family celebrations. 

Looking for an a bucket-list experience? For a truly magical stay, spend the night at one of the modern glass huts at Magical Pond and enjoy a taste of Lappish food at Hut Restaurant Kataja. Finally, another once-in-a-lifetime experience can be found on Lake Heikinjärvi, where you can spend the night in an overwater hut

Stay in a floating hut on Lake Heikinjärvi for a truly one-of-a-kind accommodation experience.
Credits : Anssi Tiusanen
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Wild food – the Lapland way 

Ruka serves the best of local wilderness on a plate. The area has even created the Kuusamo Lapland Wild Food label to help visitors find restaurants that spotlight the local heritage and use pure ingredients. 

One can’t-miss option is Studio Restaurant Tundra, which provides a dinner experience for all five senses. Here, you’ll even find the ceramics studio that provides the restaurant with its unique tableware. And don’t forget cocktails: when it’s time to kick back with a drink in your hand after a long day on the trails, there are plenty of après hike options to choose from. 

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