Finland is a European country sandwiched between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. It has a diverse range of fauna and flora including 248 species of breeding birds, and 70 of fish. It also has at least 60 different types of mammals. We pick up our rental motorhome at the Helsinki Airport depot, and head off to explore the Finland Lake District.
Heading East through Finland to Imatra and Koli National Park
Our journey takes us through an eight-day loop from Helsinki to the heartland of Finland. And then back again following a more westerly route. It is summertime so the temperature is warm, with brown bears, grey wolf, wolverines and elk enjoying the season. Imatra has a medieval quarter of cobbled streets, historic painted houses, a 13th century cathedral, and a gorgeous river nearby.
We take a lake-side drive the following day, enjoying marvelous views from Punkharju Ridge. Later we stop by at an church in Kerimäki. Our journey that day ends at the imposing medieval castle of Savonlinna, where we find a delightful campsite nearby. Ah this is the life we say. No need to dress for supper and no waiters to tip.
We Travel on to Kuiopio and a Colourful Market
We spend the following day in Koli National Park, and camp overnight there beneath a glorious array of stars. The scenery is glorious everywhere we look, and there are hikes suitable for people of all ages. We like the place so we stay a second night, chatting until midnight over glasses of wine.
We turn towards the west, and later to the south to follow the second half of the loop. A traditional Karelian house distracts us for a while at Bomba. Then we head directly for Kuiopio in the heart of a giant lake. We are now in the cultural hub of Eastern Finland. We enjoy an alfresco meal of Finnish fish pastry as we stroll through a vibrant, colourful market.
The Final Leg of Our Journey Back to Helsinki
We are enjoying our luxury rental motorhome with all conveniences included. However, alas all good things must eventually come to an end. We travel south to Tampere, an easy day drive north of Helsinki.
This is a gorgeous, lovingly restored city sandwiched between two lakes. It has become an infotech and telecoms hub while retaining a youthful arts culture. That’s Finland in a nutshell, all things good and making great progress!