Sustainable travel in Ruka and Kuusamo

Charm of Ruka and Kuusamo is based on the beautiful and unique nature. Thus the guidelines of sustainable tourism must be taken into consideration when creating and producing services and activities for our guests.

We've gathered examples of companies and activities that use the guidelines of economic, social, cultural and ecological sustainability. Criteria includes for instance: 

The use of renewable energy and recycling. Regular maintenance of buildings and machines to reduce waste. Aim towards ecological efficiency. Availability year-round. Staff is trained and committed into considering different aspects of the sustainable tourism. 

We hope you take the guidelines of sustainable tourism into consideration too!

Sustainable travel plan for Ruka-Kuusamo

Towards responsible travel industry

To help the tourism industry in Finland to adopt sustainable practices, Visit Finland has developed the Sustainable Travel Finland programme, designed for tourism companies and destinations in Finland. Ruka-Kuusamo is participating in the program, following the guidelines of our own sustainable travel plan. Following companies in Ruka-Kuusamo area have achieved Sustainable Travel Finland label: Ruka Ski Resort, Adventure Apes, Outdoor Passion Finland, MyTrail, Ruska Laukka Finnhorse FarmKujalan Porotila Reindeer FarmMagical PondIsokenkäisten KlubiPalosaari Reindeer Farm, Rukan SalonkiRukan Kuksa and Pohjolan Matka

Sustainable Travel Finland

Take the Sustainable Finland Pledge

The nature has taken care of us for millions of years and now it’s time for us to take care of it in return. By taking the Sustainable Finland Pledge you make a promise to respect and treasure the Finnish nature, its inhabitants and culture during your visit.

Sustainable Finland Pledge

Tips for sustainable tourism

Be considerate of the communities and environment you visit. Your means of travel make a great difference. Even if arriving by airplane is the easiest and fastest way to access Ruka-Kuusamo area, please consider using a combination of train (to Oulu or Rovaniemi) and bus to Kuusamo and Ruka. If using an electric car, please note that there are several charging stations for electric cars around Ruka and Kuusamo as well as high speed charging stations along the way from Helsinki to Ruka. If possible, choose your accommodation near Ruka slopes and services to reduce the need for using a car or bus during your vacation. 

Ruka SkiBus operates during winter from Kuusamo to Ruka and around Ruka area. Guests can use SkiBus for free with a valid ski pass and Ruka Ski Resort has compensated the fuel emissions of the SkiBus in Ruka area since wnter 2019-2020. There's also an airport bus operating from Kuusamo to Ruka and Salla.  During summer, Karhunkierros Bus will take you to Oulanka National Park and Hossa Bus to Hossa National Park. In addition, there are joined taxis transfering to certain popular locatons. 

Don’t litter. Avoid excessive waste and the use of plastic bottles (you can safely drink tap water in Finland - it's exactly the same stuff as in bottles, often even more pure!). Recycle whenever possible; for instance biowaste is sorted in Ruka village by restaurants, Scandic Rukahovi and Ski-Inn Apartments. 

Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights. Conserve water by taking shorter showers. If the weather feels freezing outdoors, enjoy Finnish sauna. 

If you are photographing people or their homes, its polite to ask permission before taking photos. If someone says no, respect their wishes. Learn about the place you are visiting, and the people living there. Respect cultural differences. Support the local economy. Buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants, enjoy the local culture.

Before you go, ask your travel agent about the company’s environmental and responsible tourism policies and support those who support responsible tourism. Use public transportation. Ask your accommodation provider about their sustainability practices.

In order to help you understand and remember the everyday tips for sustainable traveling, we have gathered a video guidebook:  

Traveller's Etiquette to the Land of National Parks

More tips:

Services that nourish sustainability and genuity

Many accommodation providers in Ruka and Kuusamo follow the guidelines of ecological, sosial and cultural sustainability even if this is not underlined. For instance Ski-Inn Apartments are part of the sustainability program of Rukakeskus Ltd. Scandic Rukahovi follows the guidelines of sustainable co-operation of Scandic Hotels.

Social sustainability is supported by enhancing safety and equality. We welcome and accept you as you are! Concrete examples can be experienced in Ruka Ski Pride and Oivanki Outdoor Education. Cultural heritage is nurtured by Iisakki Village, Pohjolan Pirtti and Isokenkäisten Klubi. 

Ruka-Kuusamo is the home of wild food; most of our restaurants serve delicacies made of pure local ingredients. Many restaurants follow sustainability programs and for instance restaurant Piste, Villisika, Stefan's Steakhouse, Colorado and Ski Bistro are involved in the sustainability program of Rukakeskus Ltd. Restaurant Kaltiokivi in Scandic Rukahovi sells leftover food in ResQ Club (app is only in Finnish). 

Also tours and activities are aiming for sustainability. Besides the sustainability program of Ruka Ski Resort, there are many ecologically and socially sustainable activities. Motorized activities aim for nature-friendly choices such as using new snowmobiles with low emission and electric engines. Landscape and Recreation Value Trade in Kuusamo helps to maintain beautiful landscapes and biodiversity in forests that are mainly privately owned.

Kuusamo aiport has been a carbon neutral airport (among other Finavia airports) since 2019. In addition to minimising their its own emissions, Kuusamo airport commits to reducing emissions through the compensation mechanism in countries struggling with environmental issues. 

Energy efficient ski resort

Snowy winters are the key component for ski resorts. Rukakeskus Ltd reached zero level in carbon footprint on 2018. Long-term and determined work has brought great savings in energy costs.  Rukakeskus Ltd is part of the Energy efficient ski resort project (details in Finnish). 

Skiers and riders are encouraged to use the local SkiBus when arriving to the slopes. There are trash bins in all valley stations. Everyone is advised about safety issues with simple slope safety rules. 

Recycling points

Prisma Kuusamo, Huoparintie 1, Kuusamo:
Glass, metal, cardboard boxes, newspapers. plastic and textiles.  
Sports field parking area, Vanttajantie, Kuusamo:
Glass, metal, cardboard boxes, newspapers and textiles.
Rukanriutta, Rukatunturi:
Glass, metal, cardboard boxes and newspapers.
Käylä Sale, Käyläntie 9, Käylä:
Glass, metal, pahvi, cardboard boxes and newspapers.
Kuusamo Waste Centre, Ouluntie 57 A, Kuusamo:
Residents and holiday cottage owners can leave dangerous waste, electric waste, metal and gardening waste without charge (costs are covered by real estate fees). 

Accessibility is part of the social sustainability

Easy access is taken into consideration in Finland already in the buidling phase of accommodation, restaurants and other constructions. Wide doors, easy access toilets (also along the hiking routes) and separate entrances for wheel chairs are practical everyday outcomes. However, there are lot of things to improve, such as better equipped shower and sauna facilities for those who need assistance and lower reception counters to better meet and greet all our guests.

Also our activity providers have taken easy access into account: Skilled instructors of Ruka Ski School take guests to enjoy adaptive alpine skiing on Ruka SlopesNorthern Lights Expedition's enclosed snowmobile cabins, Adventure Apes' adventures for the visually impaired and Taiga School's new river boat offer easy access to the adventures. 

Easy access routes

There's an accessible trail to the top of Ruka resort. Oulanka National Park has two easy access trails, to Kiutaköngäs rapids along Könkään kuohu trail and around the starting point of Karhunkierros trail along Napapiirin nopia trail. Fishing is made possible for all at a wide fishing platform at Käylä rapids in Käylä village. Hossa National Park has an abundance of accessible trails. Besides easy access, the trails of our national parks include easy access toilets. 

Certificates help us to improve in sustainability

We encourage the service and activity providers in Ruka-Kuusamo area to get some kind of a sustainability certificate. As a pilot destination in Sustainable Travel Finland our aims are bold:  Half of the travel companies in our area must optain a sustainability certificate. On this page we've listed the companies that have a valid environmental plan or a respectable sustainability certificate. Sustainable Travel Finland labeled companies are also presented in our newsletters to Tour Operators

Is your company ready for the next step? Join Sustainable Travel Finland, contact