Finland Self-Drive Discovery

Finland is a captivating destination with stunning landscapes and a welcoming and unique culture. Begin your trip in beautiful Helsinki where you can enjoy the best of both worlds- the perfect combination of outdoors and urban, laidback and exciting. Then hit the road for an exciting self-drive adventure, traversing this idyllic country. From the breathtaking wilderness of Koli National Park to paddling through crystalline calm waters, and experiencing everything else in between. Pack your bags and get ready for a trip of a lifetime in the happiest country in the world.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Helsinki Arrival

Helsinki Arrival
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfers
  • Accommodation: Hotel Haven

Welcome to Finland! Upon arrival to the airport, make your way through immigration and customs before making your own way to your Helsinki accommodations. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy in this Northern paradise. (This service is on a private basis.)


The Finnish capital of Helsinki (Helsingfors) is known for its great mixture of neo-classical buildings, orthodox style churches, chic bars and the restaurant scene. Alvar Aalto, a world renowned Finnish architect and designer has contributed to much of the functionalistic architecture in Helsinki that is loved and hated by so many. The lifestyle in the second-most northern capital city in the world is full of contrasts and activities in the form of hundreds of events and friendly people. Helsinki’s identity has been formed by cultural influences from both the East and West. The beauty of the surrounding nature blends seamlessly together with high-tech achievements, while old traditions mix with the latest contemporary trends. The city center has many beautiful parks, and the nearby forests offer an ideal setting for peaceful and quiet walks. Helsinki’s rhythm is laid back,yet at the same time refreshingly active in terms of both the number and quality of restaurants and nightclubs.

Day 2: Helsinki

Daily Summary
  • Tour: Helsinki By Kayak
  • Accommodation: Hotel Haven
  • Meals: B

Helsinki By Kayak

The sea is an essential part of the soul of Helsinki. The city is located right at the Baltic Sea, where you can find a beautiful archipelago at its door step. There is no better way to get as close as possible to the real personality of Helsinki then by kayak. This 3-hour guided paddling trip will take you to the archipelago of Helsinki, characterized by clear water, rocky islands and sandy beaches. The trip takes place at the Vuosaari Paddling Center and suits beginners and experts alike. You will be picked up in the center of Helsinki. The kayaks are easy to handle and very stable. You will be provided all necessary kayaking equipment. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 3: Helsinki

Daily Summary
  • Tour: Helsinki Foodie Tour
  • Tour: Sunset Sauna Cycle
  • Accommodation: Hotel Haven
  • Meals: B, L

Helsinki Foodie Tour

Today's tour begins in front of the Old Market Hall (Vanha kauppahalli), where you will learn about the local cuisine. Enjoy the aromas of cured salmon, local cheese and smoked reindeer! Afterwards, your guide will give you some local's tips at the Market Square (Kauppatori). On this 2 hour walk, stroll the most beautiful streets of Helsinki center like Esplanadi and Bulevardi. Pass through the Design District Helsinki as well as the idyllic art nouveau neighborhood of Punavuori, with the tour finishing at the Hietalahti Market Hall. Here, you can experience a post tour lunch or just shopping for organic and local food delicacies. Along the way, you will get a taste of local specialties from selected special stores! You will taste the fish and sip on coffee with local pastries. Reindeer will be included, as well as salmiakki (Finnish salt licorice), chocolate, local cheese, fresh bread and healthy treats with good vitamins. (This service is on a private basis.)

Sunset Sauna Cycle

This afternoon's tour shows you what this sauna-crazy nation of Finns is all about! You will learn about sauna and the culture behind it, while cycling around the recreational areas and islands close to the center of Helsinki. On this magical evening during sunset, you will get in touch with the Eastern side of Helsinki's center, along with neighborhoods such as the hipster district of Kallio, atmospheric Kruununhaka- full of Finnish history, and the functionally modern area of Merihaka / Hakaniemi. You will also visit one of the most famous public saunas for an authentic experience! (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 4: Helsinki - Kotka

Helsinki - Kotka
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Rental Car Pick-Up
  • Transportation: Journey to Kotka
  • Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Kotka
  • Meals: B

Today, you will pick up your rental vehicle in Helsinki. The car will be a Toyota Yaris or similar Aut, and you will have use of your rental for up to 8 days.

Following pick-up, you will hit the road and head to your Kotka accommodations!

The journey is routing 133km (83 miles) so can be driven at a leisurely pace to take in the gorgeous southern coast.

You may wish to stop in Porvoo for lunch at one of their excellent cafes and restaurants. Talk a stroll to admire the red shore houses from a hike in Forest Park. While there, be sure to visit the famous Näsi stone, once believed to have been thrown by a giant into Näsinmäki hill. The summer sees the Old Porvoo become quite lively with events, exhibitions, festivals, and street music.

As you get closer to Kotka, Munapirtti with its views of the sea and coastline is well worth a stop. Turquoise blue waters contrasting with the green woodlands and bright rocks and beaches are picturesque.

Day 5: Kotka

Daily Summary
  • Tour: Valkmusa National Park Marshland Hike
  • Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Kotka
  • Meals: B

Valkmusa National Park Marshland Hike

On today's 3-hour hiking tour you will experience the enchanting morning mist and explore the pristine wetlands and bogs of Valkmusa National Park. Here you can wander through the blue-toned landscape on a frosty day with a snowshoe trail or admire the autumn colors from the duckboards!

In the summer months you can enjoy picking berries and edible mushrooms (except in restricted areas), however picking wild herbs and flowering plants is prohibited. Keep your eyes peeled for western ospreys, common resdshank, black grouse, and the stunning Idaea muiricata (purple-bordered gold moth) which can be seen flying in mid-summer. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 6: Kotka - Savonlinna

Kotka - Savonlinna
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Journey to Savonlinna
  • Tour: The Finnish Forest Museum
  • Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna
  • Meals: B

Your journey continues today heading north and a bit deeper inland to Savonlinna. You will be awestruck by the sheer number of lakes in this region of Finland including Lake Saimaa. At 4,279 square kilometres (1,652 sq mi), it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth-largest freshwater lake in Europe. You're sure to pick up a bit of Finnish on your self-drive, and "järvi" (lake) will be one of the words to look out for! The center to eastern region of Finland is known as Lakeland for good reason.

You will drive over the Punkaharju Ridge Road as you get closer to Savonlinna. The narrow Punkaharju esker separates two large basins of Lake Saimaa. The esker was an old travel route for both people and animals and today is part of the Punakarju Nature Reserve.

The drive to Savonlinna is roughly 261km (162 miles), so you have ample time to explore en route.

The Finnish Forest Museum

En route to Savolinna, you will make a stop at the Finnish Forest Museum. Here visitors are introduced to Punkaharju’s cultural history. Spanning from its Stone Age settlement to a borderland between Sweden and Russia, and from the slash-and-burn landscape on the esker under Alexander I’s rule to the most famous national landscape in Finland. You will learn about both the cultural and natural history of the area and have the opportunity to admire the stunningly beautiful views over lakes Puruvesi and Pihlajavesi.

Day 7: Savonlinna - Joensuu

Savonlinna - Joensuu
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Journey to Joensuu
  • Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel
  • Meals: B, D

You'll head further north today to the city of Joensuu, the capital of North Karelia. Take in the breaktaking countryside views and breathe in the natural beauty of Finland.

Today's drive is about 141km (88 miles) depending on your chosen route.

This evening enjoy the menu of the day at Restaurant Kielo. Kielo speciaizes in fresh seasonal ingredients, handcrafted from nature and the garden, highlighting Karelia cuisine.

*Please note, a wine pairing is possible for an additional 55 euros per person.

Day 8: Joensuu

Daily Summary
  • Tour: Koli Peaks Exploration
  • Tour: Wild herb, Berry & Mushroom Foraging Tour
  • Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel
  • Meals: B

Koli Peaks Exploration

Koli National Park is renowned for its legendary landscapes, immortalized by many artists. On this scenic tour of Koli National Park, you will witness the most magnificent views of Ukko, Akka, and Paha-Koli! The striking landscapes of Koli National Park have inspired artists like Jean Sibelius and Eero Järnefelt. The enchanting allure of Koli, with its breathtaking vistas from the top of rugged hills, overlooking the shimmering blue Lake Pielinen, is truly addictive. Year after year, hikers, adventurers, and travelers ascend to the summit to refresh all their senses, soul and mind amidst this picturesque scenery. There are several peaks in Koli- Ukko-Koli rises 253 meters above Lake Pielinen and offers the iconic national landscape immortalized in numerous paintings and pictures. From the summit of Paha-Koli, you can see the stunning lake landscape of Kolinselkä over Kolinuoro, and from Akka- Koli, you get another beautiful view. Guided by your experienced guide, you will journey from one gorgeous spot to another and hear stories about artists, the forest, and the local nature. Koli National Park is an inexhaustible treasure chest of tales.

Level: Easy. The trail may have roots and rocks, and the terrain can be uneven in some places. Depending on the weather, the paths may also be slippery. However, the trip does not require a high level of physical fitness. (This service is on a private basis.)

Wild herb, Berry & Mushroom Foraging Tour

Later on, commune with nature on your wild herb, berry and mushroom foraging experience! (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 9: Joensuu - Rantasalmi

Joensuu  - Rantasalmi
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Journey to Rantasalmi
  • Tour: Seal Spotting
  • Accommodation: Kuru Resort
  • Meals: B

From Joensuu, you will drive to your Rantasalmi accommodations.

So as not to retrace your route, we suggest the western route via Varkaus. You may even want to pop into the Museum of Mechanical Music for a quirky, surreal treat to break up your drive!

The drive today is about 167km (104 miles).

Seal Spotting

Today, set out on an exciting seal watching trip! Hop aboard a nostalgic wooden boat and set out to Linnansaari National Park- guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. Your Skipper will bring you to the rambling Linnansaari island, right in the heartland of the Saimaa ringed seals. During the trip, you will observe the seals laying around the waterfront of Linnansaari while sipping on authentic Sawolax Espresso. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 10: Rantasalmi

Daily Summary
  • Tour: Rantasalmi Paddling Tour
  • Accommodation: Kuru Resort
  • Meals: B

Rantasalmi Paddling Tour

Enjoy a quiet kayaking trip through the gentle waves of Lake Saimaa with a knowledgeable guide. Your guide will explain the basics of safe kayaking before the trip begins. The route is planned according to the skill level of the group. Along the way you will see beautiful and diverse vistas of the surrounding lake scenery and nature. During the trip, you’ll take a small break near the cliffs or on one of the islands. Dress according to the weather conditions, water repellent clothes are recommended. A canoe vest and a dry bag will be given to each participant on behalf of the house. Spare clothes can be conveniently packed to the dry bag. Participants are expected to have swimming skills. Choose from kayaks (single, double) and canoes. The trip is suitable for families, and prior experience from canoeing is not required. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 11: Rantasalmi - Helsinki

Rantasalmi - Helsinki
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Return to Helsinki
  • Accommodation: Hotel Haven
  • Meals: B

Following an exciting two days basking in Finnish Lakeland, you will get back on the road and return to the wonderful city of Helsinki. Enjoy your final evening in Finland!

Your route today will take you through Mikkeli, the heart of Saimaa. Have a picnick in Mikkelipuisto Park or have a bite to eat on the terrace at Restaurant Greeneri before continueing your drive to Helsinki.

Today's drive is roughly 310km (193 miles).

We recommend a sauna this evening to cap off your amazing adventure. Löyly Helsinki is a modern seaside sauna where you can enjoy sweeping views of the Baltic Sea from the deck, or a cold dip in the Sea between sessions in their traditional smoke sauna and wood-burning sauna. You will need to make advance reservations for this unforgettable experience.

Day 12: Helsinki Departure

Helsinki Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Rental Car Drop-Off & Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

Sadly, the time has come for you also to say your goodbyes to Finland. Although you will probably be leaving wanting more, you are sure to be satisfied, impressed and excited by what an adventure it has been. After checking out of your hotel in Helsinki, you will drive to the airport in good time to return your rental vehicle before your flight home.

We hope you had an incredible trip and we wish you safe and pleasant travels onward!


Hotel Haven

Hotel Haven

Hotel Haven is an elegant and stylish boutique hotel by the South Harbour and the Market Square in Helsinki. Hotel Haven’s 137 comfortable and spacious hotel rooms, its versatile meeting facilities, the bar, the three high-class restaurants and a gym provide unforgettable experiences for any and all tastes.

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Kotka

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Kotka

An island hotel in the middle of the city!  Surrounded by the sea, Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone is located in the heart of Kotka island. The hotel is warm and cozy, yet actively vibrant. The city services are nearby, and Kotka’s award-winning parks are just a short walk away, delighting travelers all year round. The proximity to the sea and the city’s history have a strong presence in the hotel atmosphere. Whether you are looking for a calm bistro atmosphere, a hearty burger or dancing to the DJ’s tunes, Seurahuone has a venue to suit your needs. The hotel restaurant offerings provide an exceptionally wide selection for everyday occasions as well as celebrations. 

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone at the heart of Savonlinna wishes you a warm welcome! Our hotel is located by Lake Saimaa, next to the Market Square and a stone’s throw away from Olavinlinna Castle. You can choose to stay in one of our newly refurbished hotel rooms or the suite-like spacious Seurahuone Apartments just a walking distance from the main hotel. Almost every room boasts an unforgettable view over Lake Saimaa. Restaurant Perlina di Castello serves delicious Italian food, and during the summer months, Muikkuterassi offers a menu of seasonal, local Saimaa flavours. We welcome you to take it easy with us!

Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel

Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel

You are warmly welcome to Joensuu and to the shore of river Pielisjoki! We offer you fully renovated spaces, hospitable service, delicious food and the buzz of the Karelian lifestyle, located near nature experiences. You can spot an otter couple dive into the river when having breakfast, take a walk by the river or enjoy dinner made by our masters of the kitchen. We organize celebrations and parties for up to a 1000 people or serve coffee for a small group in one of our glass cube meeting rooms. Lots of local. A bit of luxury. Taking care of you with a big heart. Welcome to enjoy the sparkle of the renewed Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel!

Kuru Resort

Kuru Resort

Kuru is not just a holiday destination. Here, you unwind, rejuvenate from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and enjoy a sense of well-being in magnificent surroundings. Kuru is an oasis for adults in the Järvisydän Resort, where you can enjoy both the services of Järvisydän and the tranquility of Kuru surrounded by nature. Warmly welcome to be pampered in Kuru, Restaurant Solitary, and Järvisydän.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 8,526 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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