The Highlights of North Karelia

The Highlights of North Karelia

Min 2 persons

Self-drive tour  - The Highlights of North Karelia            

The route takes you around lake Pielinen. Main sights include small villages and towns on the forested hills of Karelia, and magnificent sights, including one of our national landscapes, Koli. Meet locals and learn about Karelian culture and the way of life. Welcome to Eastern part Finland.

Joensuu | National Park Koli | Nurmes | Bomba House and Karelian village and Karelian Spa | The Ruunaa rapids and rafting | Paateri, Eva Ryynänen`s atelier and unique timber church


1. Day

Arrival Joensuu: Railway Station. 
- Car rent:,

Accommodation at Lietsu Hotel. 

Lietsu Hotel - Full of Karelian charm 
Come and enjoy the relaxing Lietsu atmosphere in North Karelia. 
We offer unique hotel accommodation with Karelian heart and hospitality, located in Joensuu city centre in Eastern Finland. Book above your stay in one of our comfortable rooms.

2. Day  
Driving to National Park Koli 

• Guided tour at the top of Koli - the best of Koli Welcome to discover the spectacular scenery and nature of Koli National Park! This scenic tour includes Koli’s most famous panoramic views and the highest points in the Koli National Park: Ukko-Koli, Akka-Koli and Paha-Koli. From the Koli hills you can admire the vast Lake Pielinen 250 metres below you, the old-growth forests, Kolinuuro gorge and the Lake Herajärvi valley formed by the last glacier.

During the tour, your guide tells you interesting facts and stories about Koli, its history, nature and culture, as well as artists who have found inspiration in the Koli hills. You see spectacular views throughout the tour, and you have plenty of time to enjoy them and take photos. Welcome to experience the essence of Koli National Park and discover why Koli is one of the best-loved national landscapes of Finland!

• A Visit Nature Centre Ukko 
The Koli Nature Centre Ukko offers Finland's best known national landscape, the hills of Eastern Finland and heritage sites. The Koli Heritage Exhibition displays Koli's geological features, natural environment and culture in a variety of ways and provides advice and tips for hiking in the Koli National Park. The Nature Centre is only a few hundred metres from the Ukko-Koli lookout point – one glimpse of the national landscape and you will be captivated by Koli forever.

• A Visit Koli Sculpture Garden 
Koli Sculpture Park is a unique art attraction in Finland, which fills a park area of almost a hectare with its works. The varied area according to the seasons is crowned by the magnificent sculptures made by Lasse Martikainen, a garden entrepreneur and self-student in Koli.

In the park you can see dozens of works of art of different sizes inspired by mythology and the nature of Koli. The materials of the sculptures are versatile and weatherproof, such as metals, stone, fiberglass and recycled materials. Both old greenhouse gutters and heating pipes have given the park new life.

Accommodation at Kolin Kylä Hotel.  

3. Day 
After breakfast. Driving to Juuka village, Puu-Juuka and Nurmes. 

• Stop over the Nunnanlahti, Stone Center
Puu-Juuka (Wooden Juuka) is the old centre of Juuka’s parish village. The oldest buildings in the area are from the turn of the 20th century and they remain in use as housing, business premises and public buildings. Puu-Juuka contains many protected buildings and it is a site of culture historical significance. It is also a rare surviving example of how Finnish parish villages were traditionally built.

• Driving to Nurmes
Stop over Nurmes Old Centre, Puu-Nurmes and take a walk there. On a ridge shaded by steep streets and beautiful birches, right in the heart of Nurmes you can find the protected and historically valuable Puu-Nurmes and Vanha Kauppala. The majority of the area’s building property dates from the 1880s to the 1930s, and therefore Puu-Nurmes is known as one of the best-preserved wooden house areas in Finland. The residents of the area are especially lucky, as the ridge offers magnificent views of Lake Nurmesjärvi and Lake Pielinen. Travel tip: you can visit one of the wooden houses in the area, Voima Villa!

• Arrival in the Break Sokos Hotel Spa Bomba, Nurmes
Bomba Karelian village is a unique resort on the shore of Lake Pielinen. Break Sokos Hotel Spa Bomba must be experienced by yourself. 

Accommodation at Bomba Spa Hotel.

4. Day 
After breakfast driving to the Ruunaa Area at Lieksa. 

• Welcome to adventure and rafting. The Ruunaa rapids of Lieksanjoki River are an unforgettable experience.  
- Whitewater rafting with traditional Wooden boat or Rubberboat. 
- The boat route from Matkalahti to Naarajoki bridge is about 30 km. 
- The trip takes about 4 hours including a lunch outdoors. 

Accommodation Kestikievari Herranniemi, Vuonisjärvi Lieksa 
• Welcome to Herranniemi 
Enjoy traditional rustic athmosphere in the national landscape of Koli. From opposite side of lake Pielinen you can have fantastic view to the hills over the lake.  Delicious traditional food, cosy accommodation, friendly and communicative service and seasonal activities give you unique oppoturnity to spend unforgettable holiday. Herranniemi is located in the center of the culture village Vuonislahti, straight by the Finland`s fourth biggest lake Pielinen. Dinner and sauna.

5. Day 
After breakfast Visit a famous sculpture Eva Ryynänen`s atelier and unique timber church

• Paateri – The Atelier of Artist Eva Ryynänen. Paateri is the atelier and home of artist and sculptor Eva Ryynänen (1915-2001) situated in the village of Paateri was Ryynänen’s home even before her career as a sculptor. There she farmed and raised cattle with her husband Paavo Ryynänen.

The museum, located in beautiful surroundings on a lake shore, consists of Ryynänen’s unique and personal house, completed in 1953, as well as her roomy atelier, a round gallery cafe and a church made of sturdy timbers. All of the buildings were designed by Eva and inside them one can marvel at her handiwork: sculptures, reliefs and other unique works. Paateri is located near Herranniemi.

  • Afternoon driving to Keljänpuro, Lieksa.

Wildlife watching tour
The Uuronlampi observation lodges are situated in Keljänpuro at beautiful spot by the lake. The opposite shore is a steeply rising wilderness. The lodges are secure deadwood log cabins where you sit on comfortable chairs or even take a little break and lie down in a bunk and have a little snack. The lodges are equipped with heaters, sleeping facilities and earth closets.  There are wheelchair ramps and approximately six spots for the persons with limited mobility. You can get to the foot of the ramp by car and the walking distance is 10 m. The two observation lodges can accommodate 20 people. You can photograph in these observation hides, but you have to take the pictures through glass.

Arrival at the Keljanpuro main lodge at 2 pm. 
Welcoming coffee and info.
Going to the observation cabins by car at 3 pm. 
Leaving the cabin at 8 am. During winter after the sunset.
Included: Welcoming coffee, introduction to the company, snacks for the night and insurance.
Please note: Clothing suitable for weather conditions. Everybody should bring their own cameras and binoculars.

6. Day  
Breakfast at the Keljanpuro Lodge after 8 am. Resting after Wildlife watching night in the cabin.
• Driving back to Joensuu.  
Accommodation at Hotel Lietsu Hotel 

Tips on places to visit: Market place, Joensuu Art Museum Onni, North Karelian museum Hilma. ​Botania; The most nordic Botanical butterfly gardens in the world. 

7. Day 
• After breakfast. Time to say hei, hei. Good-bye!

Price: from 1190€/person. 6 nights, 7 days. 
Accommodation at Lietsu Hotel, 2 two nights in double room, breakfast. 
Koli: Accommodation at Kolin Kylä Hotel, one night in double room, breakfast and dinner. Guided tour at the top of Koli. Entrance fee to The Nature Centre Ukko. Entrance fee to The Koli Sculpture Garden.
Nurmes: Break Sokos Hotel Spa Bomba one night in doubleroom, breakfast. 
Lieksa: Whitewater rafting and lunch in outdoor. Accommodation at Kestikievari Herranniemi, breakfast and dinner. Sauna. Entrance fee to Paateri – The Atelier of Artist Eva Ryynänen. 

• Min 2 persons 
• From 1st May to 30th September
• Tour Map by Google: