Exploring Finland: Hiking and Canoeing in Oulanka National Park

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Hei Finland! If there’s one country that took my breath away this year, it would have to be Finland. Suffice it to say that my visit to Finland was one of the best trips I have experienced this year – quite a statement given I have stepped foot on all continents and visited 50 countries! I know what you’re thinking — it must have been good. Indeed it was!

But what was it about Finland that captured my attention – heart and soul, eyes and taste buds, thoughts and feelings…. in other words, what didn’t capture my attention in Finland!? 

Unforgettable, to say the very least.

After experiencing a Finnish sauna and visiting a reindeer farm, I was excited to spend my third day here in Finland in the great outdoors – hiking and canoeing in Oulanka National Park.

Oulanka National Park Finland

Exploring Oulanka National Park

Coming into my trip to Finland, I really had very little idea of what to expect. Sure, I was expecting to see reindeer, snow and a tree or two… but I certainly wasn’t expecting to come up close and personal with reindeer, see enough snow to make a snowman in October (Autumn), or hike some of the most stunning trails in the country.

That’s where Oulanka National Park comes in.

If you find yourself in this part of Finland (easiest reference: ‘the middle’ of Finland), you simply must visit Oulanka National Park. The Park is home to stunning natural scenery, fast-flowing rapids, foggy forrest, and if you’re lucky enough you may even spot a bear on the trail. 

national park finland exploring finland finland oulanka finland Oulanka National Park national park finland

But we weren’t here just to observe nature.

Instead, we wanted to be a part of it. My guide Susi decided the best way to do this would be to not only hike the trails on foot, but also canoe through the river heading toward the Russian border (of course not crossing it!).

Half way along the river we stopped for a well-deserved break to indulge in some hot chocolate and pastries before setting off again further down stream.

It was the perfect introduction to how the Finn’s live during summer – outdoors and at one with nature. Although it was a little chilly during Autumn, it was still an extraordinary day – one that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. If you want to enjoy the wilderness of Finland, I would suggest these activities are better suited for summer. But if you find yourself inside the park during winter, you will be delighted by the snowy winter wonderland that welcomes you and so many hikers each year. Indeed, the very next day I revisited the park for a longer hike and to my surprise the forrest was completely covered in snow – I’ll be sharing those photos tomorrow!

Oulanka finland

World of Wanderlust visited Finland as a guest of Visit Finland. Thanks to Susi from Era Susi for such a great day exploring the Finnish wilderness! My opinion is as always, my own.



Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!



  1. laila.s.saleh@gmail.com'


    November 5, 2014

    I’m happy to hear that you liked it so much! I’m from Finland but I live in Sweden and usually I get to hear that people like Sweden more (which I understand since Sweden has very pretty cities), but it’s nice to hear about someone who has discovered the beauty of Finland as well! I guess the trick is to go to the wilderness 🙂

  2. tj.timmers@hotmail.com'

    Tanya | goingtofind.com

    October 19, 2014

    Oh wow, that looks spectacular! I wouldn’t mind a real outdoors experience like that. Finland sounds great!

  3. info@traveling-lady.com'


    October 19, 2014

    nature of nordic countries are amazing I lived in Finland for 6 months and still cant forget my lovely trekking adventures 🙂

  4. Meganhill08@hotmail.co.uk'


    October 19, 2014

    I love your blog, it inspires me to visit so many amazing places like this!

  5. thankstofashion@hotmail.com'


    October 18, 2014

    Sorry, it’s me again 🙂 I just cannot get enough of your photos! Really, some of them are breath taking!!!

    <3 <3 <3 from Vienna,

    Mahshid مهشید

  6. beautyfoody@web.de'


    October 18, 2014

    I want to be in Finland right now! I love snow and rafting and national parks ♥

  7. nancydavolio6@gmail.com'

    Best holiday destinations

    October 18, 2014

    Wow!! such a fantastic experience. I am so crazy about that type of living. thanks for posting nice views.

  8. adeline.chong@hotmail.sg'


    October 18, 2014

    The photos looks great and sounds like a great adventure. But how did you survive the cold?

  9. secondchances@hotmail.sg'


    October 18, 2014

    This is so amazing!!! I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as this. Hopefully i get to visit finland in my lifetime and experience what you’ve experience on the trails!!

    love your blog brooke! makes me happy (and envious!) all the time!

  10. laneeger@gmail.com'

    Lee @ Modern Granola

    October 18, 2014

    This looks incredible. I love nature and hiking, so I could totally see myself doing this. Thanks for the post!

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