Tag Archive for: guided tour

In paid collaboration with the Sustainable Growth for Summer in Eastern Lapland project 

On the last day of our Eastern Lapland trip, we headed to Posio, where I would have the chance to see Riisitunturi National Park’s wild side! In the style of many other hikers, I have often marveled at the more popular sights of Riisitunturi such as the candle-like fir trees coated in crown snow-loads. Summertime in the area was a new experience for me – I had been anticipating this for some time!

The drive from Kemijärvi to Posio is around 1,5hrs in normal driving conditions. Along the way, between Morottaja and Tonkopuro, is a stunning stretch called Mooseksenkuru. Here, the road flows smoothly between magnificent sand ridges. 

From Maaninkavaara we headed south and marveled at a stretch of road that was striking in a different way – a straight line that continued for over 10 kilometres. After the scenic drive, we found our way to Kota-Husky, where the owner Sari welcomed us warmly. We discussed the schedule for the day as we made a round of the dog yard and greeted the excited pack of huskies. Kota-Husky organises dog sledding experiences in Posio during winter. Today, however, we would go hiking in the traditional way, with only two-legged companions. 

Before the hike, with instruction from Sari, we found our way to our accommodation at Kovajärvi. The spacious wilderness cabin is idyllic and robust. As an added bonus, the cabin stay includes a nearby private laavu with a fireplace and a lakeside sauna. As is custom with wilderness lodging, the cabin does not have running water. Drinking water has instead been brought to the spot in a milk can. The yard also sported an outhouse. After an active day spent exploring Riisitunturi, you couldn’t ask for much more! I would happily relax here for a few nights.

But first, our adventure in the fell.

Hiking in Riisitunturi National Park is allowed everywhere in the park, but because there is only one parking lot, most visitors’ day hikes are concentrated in the marked trails of the area surrounding the parking lot. These trails are already quite familiar to many Finns. Generally, it is better to stay on marked trails, as following them ensures good trail etiquette. Kota-Husky regularly offers a responsible and sustainable option to hike in areas further away without trails, other infrastructure, or passersby. 

Read more: Riisitunturi National Park instructions and rules

As a partner company of the national park, Sari has a specially granted parking spot at the edge of the park. We left the car there and got to it! I consider myself to be a fairly experienced traveller, so it was fascinating to take part in my first guided daytrip. I also took the opportunity to test my new hiking boots on the terrain. I would only go on a longer trip once I knew I could trust the quality of the new shoes. 

There certainly was no path – we followed Sari along the edges of swamps, ridges, riverbanks, and around thickets. Sari had warned us that the trip was challenging, and of course it was. The thickness of the brush varied, but in places it reached up to our knees, and the shrubbery covered the ground surface in a way that made our progress sluggish despite our steady pace. After the morning’s rain everything was wet, but the air was fresh to breathe and drops of condensation sparkled here and there. We found ourselves in the type of forest that many dream about finding and look for during their trips to Lapland: that is, untouched.

Walking in untouched nature is entirely different from a structured environment, somehow rawer. Even shorter distances are slightly strenuous and it’s impossible to walk on autopilot here, as the terrain demands your focus on the details. We examined orchids along our path, saw the body imprint of a reindeer or moose that had been resting on the ground, and snacked on ripe blueberries that covered the area. We conversed, we hiked, and most importantly, we were entirely in the present. 

The terrain had slowly risen upwards, and after circling around a larger swamp area it rose steeper. We climbed to the top of Lavavaara, which doesn’t look like much on the map. Yet, looking out at the landscape to the northwest, the valley was more breathtaking than I could ever have imagined, painted golden by the late summer sun. The lakes in the northern end of Posio mirrored the blue sky and marshes foreshadowed autumn “ruska”. Summer’s verdancy was clearly over, making way for the first signs of amber autumn. Lavavaara itself blushed red, and my search for the best shooting angles with my camera complicated made it near impossible to stop for a snack break. Luckily Sari had anticipated my love for chocolate, and her partner Lauri’s homemade redcurrant juice was so good that I was happily distracted by them for a moment. 

The trip is not timed to the minute and doesn’t require map-reading or even staying on a trail. This made it all the more relaxing. Though the physical strain is tougher than normal, the feeling of peace is enhanced by the knowledge that there are no time, kilometre, or route constraints.

On our way back, we followed a slightly steeper section down the slope of the fell. Discussion naturally flowed to the terrain that sled dogs run on in winter, and how guides plan the routes so that they are pleasant and safe. Today, the route we followed to Lavavaara was also deceivingly well planned despite passing through untouched wilderness. I would never have chosen to follow the marsh so closely if I had been on my own. With Sari’s reliable guiding, it was exciting walking in the morass that didn’t submerge us too much and was in fact a perfect test environment for my new shoes! To my delight, I can say that the shoes passed the test, and based on this trip I’m highly satisfied with the purchase.

The return journey is always shorter than the way there, though the downhill also played a part this time. I stalled the end by stopping at lush blueberry bushes as much as I dared, though at the same time I was already looking forward to the evening’s sauna by the lake. 

The sauna warmed up, dusk set and the nature of Posio was magical in its serenity. As I cooled off on the terrace, I looked out at the lake and thought about the endless opportunities of rich experiences to enjoy here. Hiking. Scenery. Freedom of movement. Fresh air. The sauna. Woollen socks. 

Our stay here in the heart of Lapland’s charm was a great way to end the week. This versatile trip had opened my eyes to the sights and experiences of Eastern Lapland in a unique way. I also had fond thoughts about the immediacy of human contact here.  Thank you, Eastern Lapland – I can’t wait to test my shoes here another time!

Translated by Karolina Salin

Check out all the posts from this series:

Part 1: Reach the wilderness overnight by train – paddle at sunset in Salla

Part 2: The fog lifted and revealed the first colours of ’ruska’ – our hike to “Kivitunturi” in Savukoski with Alit the Husky

Part 3: Climbing up Pyhäkuru rock formations & cycling with e-fatbikes to the eternally beautiful Tunturiaapa mire in Pyhä

Part 4: Summer at Kemijärvi on horseback & SUP-boarding on the superb Kalkonniemi beach

Part 5: The outskirts of Riisitunturi National Park – a journey through Posio’s untouched wilderness

Read more:

Posio Lapland

Kota-Husky.com

Riisitunturi National Park

In commercial collaboration with Visit Raseborg

Article & photos by Johanna Kleemola @outdoorfamily.fi

Sneaking around Raseborg castle on a foggy November night, we might have heard two ghosts playing hide-and-seek in the castle ruins. Had we gone in Mid-July, the arcadian village Snappertuna would have been bustling with medieval markets and wild tournaments. However, our visit to the castle ruins on an ordinary day in early summer was still certainly fascinating, surprising, and rewarding.  

Raseborg castle is already a captivating attraction in itself, but a guided tour provides the opportunity to immerse yourself even more in the environment. Or what do you think about the following experiences?

A medieval castle surrounded by green countryside

Sunlight reflected on the surface of the road that winded through the countryside. The fields were ready for the coming growing season and bird song filled the forests, indicating the start of summer.

Flowing river views could already be seen from the car park, and the couple hundred-metre walk from the parking lot to the castle ruins already boasted the verdancy of Raseborg. More was to come.

Bug safari – entomology with professional tools

We began our family day with a Bug safari. First we caught small insects with sweep nets. Then we got to study our catches under a microscope. We also managed to fish a few different types of bugs from the riverbank.

Catherine Munsterhjelm introduced us to the world of spiders, water striders, and other insects in an interesting and compassionate way. She gave us the chance to test professional tools and observe bugs, each even more interesting than the last – while respecting the insects.

Through the microscope, miniscule organisms grew gigantic. The smallest details stood out.

There were dragonfly nymphs and caddis larva. Centipedes! And a giant snail! And a beetle that jumps in the air at an explosive speed!

Catherine organizes hour-long bug safaris in the courtyard of Raseborg castle on-request for families and other groups (€100 / max. 10 people / English, Finnish, or Swedish). There are also general safaris that anyone can join for €10. Availability can be found on Visit Raseborg’s website, and tours are suitable for all ages.

Catherine can also arrange longer bug safaris – as well as something completely different…

Wild herb walk – dive into the exciting world of free natural treats

This something different is immersion into the world of wild herbs. We got a brief taste of Catherine’s wild herb walk, but the half hour was enough to get the family super excited about wild herbs. My first-grader wanted to write down all of the herb names that we tasted so that none of them were forgotten at home. At home, it was imminent that we immediately start going through stinging nettles to gather the free superfood.

When you can taste tens of herbs and hear plenty of tips on preparing them within half an hour, one can only imagine how much a 2.5-hour wild herb walk has to offer.

There’s ground elder, viola, and rosebay willowherb. There’s alder, birch, and rowan. There’s greater plaintain, spruce tip, and polypody roots. You’ll taste licorice flavours and asparagus-like delicacies. Best of all are the stories, recipes, and ideas.

Catherine guides her guests around Raseborg castle while giving tips, advice, instructions, and taste samples. You can’t gather just anything from anywhere, but many common plants can be used to create more delicious and healthy treats. Catherine always offers small samples of these herbs at the end of the walk. It was an incredible experience! Thank you Catherine!  

You can book a wild herb walk from Catherine for your own group. Shorter and longer walks are also possible. Additionally, wild herb walks are organized at all open events during the summer. Participation costs €25 and availability can be found here.

Catherine Munsterhjelm

Biologist specialized in underwater research

Has worked as a nature school teacher in addition to research work

Instructed courses and guided tours at Raseborg castle for c. 5 years

More info about guided tours: catherine.munsterhjelm(at)gmail.com

Guided castle tour – a unique theatrical experience on historical ground

After the bug safari and wild herb walk, we were ready to learn about the castle itself. This is definitely not your average guided tour! From the moment Dan Idman steps into the castle yard clothed in full medieval garments, the most unique 1.5 hours of your life begins.

The tour is full of life and emotion. Dan explains facts from the castle’s construction in the 1300’s, abandonment in 1558, and vacancy of over 300 years. However, the facts are mixed with details, feelings, and strong visions. The Raseborg castle tour is an energetic theatrical performance that you can attend for an extra €5.  (Children under 7 years €0, 7-15 years €2. Castle has a separate entrance fee.)

On Dan Idman’s tour, beer kegs rattle, jokes are flung, and emotions flood. We walk along corridors of the castle ruins, climb up stairs and explore the scenery. We see how flocks of eider circle the ruins and hear about life in the castle during its time. The stone walls are bursting with intriguing secrets, stories, and phases throughout the castle’s lifetime.

Built on a sheepback surrounded by water, the castle has gone through some rough wear in its time. Dan guests from the 2020’s through this one-of-a-kind journey through history to hundreds of years back in time. This is definitely an experience worth participating in – if you dare!

Guided tours are organized throughout summer (see raaseporinlinna.fi/en/) and are suitable for all ages. The tour lasts c. one hour, but you should be prepared for enough stories that it may last longer.

Dan Idman

Theatre performer

Summer 2022 is Dan Idman’s 25th year as a guide at Raseborg castle

Up to 90 guided tours per summer

Tours can be found from raaseporinlinna.fi/en/

Lemmenpolku trail and more

When the time comes to say goodbye to the historic ruins and leave the ghosts behind, there’s still more to see before heading to the car. In addition to the guided tours there is plenty to see and do nearby the castle, such as the restaurant/café Slottsknekten, the Swedish-speaking summer theatre that has operated for over 50 years, and kayak rentals.

One particularly fantastic experience is the short Lemmenpolku trail, starting from the castle to Forngården outdoor museum. The trail is only 500 metres in one direction, but on the way you’ll find sheep pasture, grove, riverbank, and even a scenic bridge.

The verdant trail and charming old buildings are enchanting. Raseborg’s river flows freely under the wooden bridge and a sea of windflowers bloom beautifully. To top off the wonderful day, on our way back the sheep come within petting distance.

Lemmenpolku trail was established in the 1960’s when local biology teacher Einar Öhman, who was interested in the area’s history and culture, wanted to create a direct path from the village’s hostel to the castle ruins. The man started calling it Lemmenpolku (”amorous path”) due to the lovelorn birds that filled the air with mating calls each spring (source: luontoon.fi).

At the other end of Lemmenpolku, Forngården outdoor museum transports you to life as it was in the archipelago during the 1800’s. The museum includes the main building as well as different sheds, fences, and lofts from the 1700’s and 1800’s that were brought from Halstö island. You can read about Forngården’s opening hours and more here.

The area around Raseborg castle is a fascinating combination of enchanting history and mesmerizing nature, living culture and culinary experiences. A fantastic summer daytrip for the whole family, you can enrich your experience of the area by joining these unique and unforgettable guided tours. Who’s ready to go?

You can read more about Raseborg castle on its webpage: raaseporinlinna.fi/en/ as well as Visit Raseborg’s page: Visit Raseborg – Raseborg Castle.

Translation: Karolina Salin

Beautiful places nearby

Ekenäs’ serenity and autumn colours are fit for a postcard – only one hour from Helsinki

Billnäs ironworks is now 380 years old – the beautiful village is a great destination for a summer trip

The Antskog Ironworks in Raasepori – a historical idyll by the river

One of the most beautiful hiking areas in Raseborg hides among the reed beds and hazel groves – hiking on the trails of lake Lepinjärvi at dawn

Culture & cardio – experience the Embankment route from the capital region to Fiskars on a train and bike