So what could possibly be a better place to spend your holiday than Finnish nature, where - according to studies - even the quality of air is the best in the world.
3 National Parks and Ruka on one trip
It's a scientifically known fact that nature is an effective remedy for stress and spending time outdoors has health benefits for both mind and body.
Ruka-Kuusamo is best described as the land of national parks; the area is surrounded by national parks offering the best bits of Finland’s sceneries. The freely flowing rivers and the versatility of Finnish nature are tangible to every visitor in Oulanka National Park. Hossa, the newest national park in Finland, has ancient stories to tell and unique lakes to explore. Riisitunturi National Park with its fell sceneries is a great place to experience the renowned ”Lapland magic”.
The national parks together with Ruka-Kuusamo’s services, trails and outdoor activities make sure that there’s plenty of options for everyone - for those of us who like to enjoy nature by slowing down as well as for the ones who like to get wild in the wilderness. We've gathered a collection of tips for nature activities that are worth experiencing while spending summer holiday at Ruka.
Day 1: River paddling in Oulanka or river rafting in Kitka
Oulanka is the national park of flowing rivers, Oulanka and Kitka. If you are looking for a mellow flow, you can spend a relaxing paddling trip along river Oulanka. River Kitka offers more splashing waters on several rapids. Go for the family-friendly rafting route or if you are over 18 years and daring, try the wild route. Many of the safari companies offer free transfer from Ruka, so you won’t necessarily need your own car for these adventures.
Day 2: Hiking in Riisitunturi or Valtavaara
Valtavaara nature reserve is easily reachable natural haven right beside Ruka. The length of ”Valtavaaran huiputus” -hiking tour is approximately 8 kilometers from Ruka village to the top of Valtavaara and back, and you will save a couple of kilometers by starting the hike from Saarua parking area.
Riisitunturi National Park is not far either, about 30 minutes car drive from Ruka. The park has some of the finest sloping bogs anywhere in Europe together with Europe’s largest spring, lake Kitka. Hike out to picnic or over-night trip to Riisitunturi open wilderness hut (1,5 km walk from parking area) or choose one of the many round-trip hiking tours of Riisitunturi National Park. More information available on page Hiking trails.
Day 3: Boat cruise or biking in Hossa
Getting from Ruka to Hossa requires 100 km of driving, but it is well worth the trip. Hossa is home to lake Julma-Ölkky, Finland’s biggest canyon lake. In the summertime the breath-taking views of the lake can be witnessed on a boat cruise or hiking along Hossa trails ”Ölökyn ylitys” or ”Ölökyn ähkäsy”.
The wide range of mountain biking routes of Hossa offer moderately easy trails for the whole family. For example the most famous sights of Hossa, the ancient Värikallio cliff rock paintings are accessible by bike.
If you are staying at Ruka village and don’t have the opportunity to go around by car but would love to hop on a bike, Ruka has some nice mountain biking opportunities as well, more information on page Mountain biking trails.
Text: Veera Vihervaara
Photos: Veera Vihervaara and Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association