Having a sauna like the locals, swimming in the crystal clear lake and dancing under the midnight sun – welcome to Ruka-Kuusamo. It’s the endless summer nights, that make a holiday here in the far north so special.
Ruka-Kuusamo combines fascination the untouched nature of Finnish Lapland with a certain tourist infrastructure. Ruka is a popular ski resort and so there are mountain railways here in summer too, and above all great accommodation and restaurants.
What awaits you in Ruka-Kuusamo in summer, which highlights we can particularly recommend and which restaurants you shouldn’t miss – all that and more We will tell you much more in this blog article.
1. Ruka-Kuusamo overview: First travel tips & things worth knowing Where is Ruka-Kuusamo and how to get there? Let’s jump on the map direction North, approximately in the middle of Finland, near the Russian border: Here lies Ruka-Kuusamo.
The name already gives it away: Ruka-Kuusamo is the merger of two places – Ruka and Kuusamo, which are approximately 20 kilometers apart . The airport is in Kuusamo, Ruka is the tourist center at the foot of the fjell (hill) – so this is where the mountain railways are located.
Since the airport conveniently located directly in Kuusamo, the arrival is very easy. There are currently no direct flights from German-speaking countries in summer (as of July 2022), so you usually travel via Helsinki. Several times a week planes take off from Helsinki towards Kuusamo. The flight time from Helsinki is just one hour.
In order to be as flexible as possible on site, we would recommend a rental car. We will give you more tips for booking and driving in this blog article: Travel tips Finland in summer.
What can I expect in Ruka-Kuusamo? Ruka-Kuusamo is a very popular winter travel destination and compared to other regions in Finnish Lapland touristically good developed. (Please don’t compare it with a ski resort in the Austrian Alps – there are worlds between them!)
What we mean by that anyway: There are a few mountain railways, some restaurants (some even quite hip) and of course really great, sometimes very stylish accommodation. (We’ll reveal our recommendation later.)
In Ruka-Kuusamo you can experience more than in other regions. The downside: While less crowded in summer than winter, the area doesn’t feel quite as isolated as other regions — at least not around the two big towns of Ruka and Kuusamo.
Once you leave the town center, you are immediately surrounded by nothing but pure nature. So don’t worry if you’re looking for the solitude of Finnish Lapland: Of course you can find that here too without having to search for it!
Speaking of pure nature: One of the many natural highlights around Ruka-Kuusamo is the Oulanka National Park. You should definitely visit this jewel pay off In the course of this blog article we will tell you which hike we can particularly recommend.
Are the mosquitoes really that bad in summer in Finland? The short answer: It depends. The detailed explanation: First of all, one has to say that all Scandinavian countries have a “mosquito problem” in summer.
Mosquitoes romp around standing water, swampy areas and also forests. And yes, Finnish Lapland is known to have plenty of that.
Now comes the good news: the mosquito season is shorter than expected. The peak in Ruka-Kuusamo is around midsummer, around late June/early July. From the end of July, the situation will be much more relaxed again.
Yes, the little nuisances can be really annoying and we didn’t just curse them once. You can read our detailed experiences and how we were (almost) mosquito-free on the road in this blog article: Travel tips Finland in summer.
How hot/cold is it in Ruka-Kuusamo in summer? Summers in Finnish Lapland are often milder than you might think. Day temperatures from 12 Degrees are common. We even have a real hot spell with maximum temperatures of 27 until 28 Just caught.
But : Of course, the weather can also be very unstable. 12 Gad and rain are also possible. You should have both summer and warm clothing in your luggage. In our general blog article about Finland in summer you will find tips on the right equipment: Travel tips Finland in summer.
2. Activities & Experiences in Ruka-Kuusamo Oulanka National Park: Small Bear Tour Let’s start with one of the absolute Natural highlights around Ruka-Kuusamo, the Oulanka National Park. It is located about half an hour’s drive north of Ruka and is one of the most famous and most visited national parks in Finland.
The national park stretches along the Oulankajoki river. This is making its way towards Russia. Sometimes it runs rapidly, sometimes very calmly, sometimes over a waterfall, then again across a lake. The landscape here is very varied.
The most popular day tour in the national park is the Little Bear Tour (“Pieni Karhunkierros”). It is the mini version of the big bear round (“Karhunkierros”), which lasts several days. If you want to see some of the most beautiful spots in Oulanka National Park in one day, we warmly recommend the Little Bear Tour.
The tour runs as a circular route over about 10 Kilometers. Mostly you hike through the forest, you walk over several suspension bridges and footbridges, often also over wooden stairs and you pass beautiful lakes.
Anyone who thought Finland was flat will quickly be surprised here. It is (by Finnish standards) quite a lot uphill and downhill. But don’t worry: as a reasonably fit person, you can easily manage the hike.
Information about the hike at a glance Starting point: Car park at address Juumantie 133, 93850 Kuusamo
Walking time: Total approx. 4 – 6 hours (It took us about 4.5 hours.)
Food/Equipment: Good shoes are important. Take provisions, water and mosquito repellent with you. If necessary, you can still buy drinks and snacks in the small café on the lake shore right at the starting point of the hike.
Route: Small bear round (outdoor active)
E-bike tour around Ruka-Kuusamo The scarce 500 Meter high Rukatunturi-Fjell is known to be a popular center for winter sports in winter. In summer, the cross-country ski runs turn into mountain bike trails and the ski slopes into bike parks. In total 180 Kilometers of mountain bike trails are available to you in the Ruka-Kuusamo region.
Our tip: For e-fatbike rentals we can use the newly opened Ruka Trek & Hard Trek Café highly recommend. A guided tour is also possible. We ourselves were traveling with the owner Antti, who put together a cozy, nice round around Ruka for us.
We definitely recommend a refreshment afterwards in the associated restaurant, the Hard Trek Café. It’s not just the ambience with all the wood that’s great, the food tastes great too. We had the pasta of the day followed by a delicious espresso. Definitely worth a visit!
Info on cycling in Ruka-Kuusamo Rental e-bikes: Ruka Trek (official website)Price: 50 Euro for 3 hours, 50 Euro for 8 hours (both excl. guide)Overview map: Ruka Bike Trails
Visit reindeer in Ruka-Kuusamo They are omnipresent in Finnish Lapland: reindeer! Hardly a car trip goes by that you don’t see them crossing the street. If you want to pay the fluffy companions a visit, we can warmly recommend the Kujala Reindeer Farm (“Kujalan Porotila”).
In the summer, most reindeer are “free”. Ie: They eat their way through the forests around Ruka-Kuusamo. That’s why you see so many reindeer in Finnish Lapland in summer. They all belong to one of the many reindeer farms. There are no completely “wild” reindeer.
If you want to know more about reindeer herding in Finnish Lapland, then we can visit the Highly recommend Kujala Reindeer Farm. You can tell immediately how much heart and soul the owners put into their work.
We got a great tour through the area with a lot of exciting information about the animals from the junior manager. Our favorite place: The new kota (hut) on the hill with a fantastic view.
We were particularly lucky, because during our visit there were two reindeer babies on the farm. Their mothers tragically died, leaving them to be bottle raised. So fluffy – we wanted to take them with us!
In summer you can book a wide range of activities at the Kujala reindeer farm, including reindeer yoga. How strange, isn’t it?
You can find more info here: Kujala Reindeer Farm (official website)
Sunset Hike Contains Wanted: An easy, scenic hike. Found: The short climb up the hill called Konttainen. It is about drive north of Ruka and is the perfect place to admire the midnight sun.
The short ascent leads up a forest path. After about half an hour you have already reached the summit. Once at the top, several places await you with a wonderful view over Ruka-Kuusamo. Although the Konttainen hill is forested, there are enough promising places.
Good to know: The route is designed as a circular route . Just follow the green marker and you’ll end up back in the parking lot. It is important to know that the long-distance hiking trail “Karhunkierros” also runs here. So please do not follow these signs.
Information about the hike at a glance Starting point: Car park at address Virkkulantie 43, 93999 Kuusamo
Walking time: Total (ascent and descent) approx. 1 hour
Food/Equipment: Bring provisions, water and mosquito repellent. There is no possibility to buy anything on site. Good shoes recommended.
Route: Contacts (Outdooractive)
Experience the tradition of Finnish sauna at Pohjolan Pirtti So special, so impressive, so unforgettable! Our evening at Pohjolan Pirtti is one of the most beautiful moments of our trip through Finnish Lapland. Like visiting friends – that’s how the sauna evening felt on this family-run country estate.
In a dream setting you can immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the Finnish sauna. There are three saunas available. Owner Tanja accompanies the sauna ritual. On request, she can also carry out a very special treatment: the skin is gently “whipped” with tree branches. This is supposed to act like a massage. This scent that arises during the ritual – indescribable!
After the sauna session, we continue in the historical main building. Husband Matti has already prepared dinner there at the same time. And then we were finally speechless. The setting in the wood-panelled room alone is so special – you simply have to experience it!
The excellent dinner was accompanied by incredibly exciting conversations. We really felt so at home and can only warmly recommend a visit to this magical place!
By the way: on some days in summer the property is transformed into a summer café with homemade cakes and coffee. So if you just want to stop by, that’s certainly a great occasion!
Information on visiting the Finnish sauna
Duration: approx. 5 hours
Includes: Sauna ritual & dinner; all important things such as slippers, towels & bathrobe are provided on site – you really don’t have to bring anything
Booking & further information: Pohjolan Pirtti ( official website)
Extra tip: Solstice Festival under the Midnight Sun If you’re going to Ruka-Kuusamo around midsummer, we have a special tip for you: the Solstice Festival, an Electronic Mus ik festival that is second to none.
They dance in the open air on the top of the Rukatunturi Fell. So it’s really the absolutely greatest festival location we’ve ever seen.
Countless national and international DJs spin, namely electronic music of any kind. Honestly: Privately we are at home in other genres, but that doesn’t matter in this case. There are art installations between the stages and the whole festival is just so incredibly relaxed.
Find out more info here: Solstice Festival (official website )
3. Eating & drinking: Our restaurant tips The selection of great cafes and restaurants is significantly larger in the Ruka-Kuusamo region than in other areas of Finnish Lapland. In this chapter we will introduce you to our favourites.
Hard Trek Café: This friendly, newly opened café belongs to the tour operator Ruka Trek. Not only is the ambience great both inside and outside, there is a great selection of regional and international dishes with many vegetarian options. Perfect for lunch or coffee and cake. (A little tip: cloudberry tiramisu!)
Pizzeria Ruka: Probably the best pizza far and wide is served at Pizzeria Ruka. There are both classic Italian variants and creations inspired by Finnish cuisine. So if you want to try reindeer pizza, for example – this is the place. It’s very nice to sit on the terrace.
RUOK Burger: At RUOK we honestly ate the very best veggie burger in a very, very long time. Incredibly juicy, great flavor combinations and great fries – really highly recommended! Of course, there are countless variants with meat. The fast-food concept appeals to many young people in particular. Super value for money and rightly very popular.
4. Our accommodation tip: sleeping in a glass igloo To a unforgettable summer adventures in Ruka-Kuusamo include unforgettable accommodation. And we found that with the Magical Pond. Wow!
These modern glass igloos are in a forest on the shore of a lake, in absolute seclusion. Thanks to the huge panoramic windows, you really have the feeling of sleeping in the middle of nature. The flair is so unbelievable!
The large amount of glass has one disadvantage: during the midnight sun it can be really bright at night. Darkening is not possible, so (if you are sensitive) you definitely need a sleep mask . Some are provided, but we would recommend bringing your own.
What you should also know: The huts are really very small. Two to three square meters more and a little more storage space would be good (before especially for people who pack a lot like we are). But the bed is incredibly comfortable, the linen bed linen is a dream and even in the small bathroom you will find everything you need.
The breakfast is served in the main building as a buffet and is very good. The selection is small, but fine and the quality is definitely right. We found the daily changing smoothies and cakes particularly good.
The sauna is also in the main building. Unfortunately, access is chargeable. The sauna will be reserved exclusively for you for one hour if you book in advance.
Our conclusion: A very special, unbelievably photogenic accommodation that is priced in the upper segment. A blackout option would be great! We could imagine that winter is even better suited to visit here. In any case, the flair is very special and the employees are incredibly courteous. We felt very comfortable.
You can book accommodation here: Magical Pond
5. Map: All summer highlights in Ruka-Kuusamo at a glance Zur For a better overview you will find all our experiences and excursions marked on this interactive map. A little tip: If you click on the rectangle at the top right, you can save the map in the Google Maps app on your smartphone.
Transparency: Advertising & Affiliate Links Our trip to Ruka-Kuusamo and this blog article were created in cooperation with Ruka-Kuusamo and are part of the campaign # getlappi. Thank you very much for this wonderful trip! Of course we are free to report. This cooperation has no influence on our honest opinion.
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Was Have you ever been to Ruka-Kuusamo? Maybe even in summer? How did you like it here in the far north? Do you have any questions or experiences you would like to share? We are very happy about your comment!