Finland meandering from the north

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Meanderlight, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Meanderlight

    Meanderlight Adventurer

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    Hi, Im in the early stages of planning a Scandinavian and Baltic trip and have a first draft of my route through Norway. Now I'm turning to Finland and am after any advice on places to visit. I will be travelling June/July time

    I am contemplating crossing the border at Karigasniemi initially heading for Rovaniemi and taking in the Sami museum at Siida on route. Other than that I have no plans as I meander south. Time is not an issue.

    Things I like to include in my meanderings no particular order are

    natural beauty (scenery, forgotten the other sort :-)), experiencing the culture of wherever I am, history, food/beer/coffee (aren't they the same thing), good motorcycling roads.

    My plan is to predominantly camp with a once a week stay at somewhere cheap with a shower.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated

    Mark
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  2. novack

    novack Adventurer

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    Consider the change in Your route and crossing the border in Utsjoki instead of Karigasniemi. The E6 road that going north-east from Karasjok by Tana Elv river is very nice and picturesque.

    Here's the photo taken from norwegian side of Tana Elv:
    [​IMG]
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  3. Borderlone

    Borderlone n00b

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    I hope this reply catches you in time to help with your trip planning...

    If you cross over from Karasjokk to Karigasniemi, be sure to ride northwards to Utsjoki first: this road is perhaps the most beautiful 100 km's in Finnish Lappland. Since you are coming from Norway northern parts of Finland will seem relatively flat compared to our western neighbor. If you have the time cross the Tana/Teno river back to Norway, ride up to Tana, cross the river again and head towards Kirkenes. On the way be sure to make a short detour to Bugøynes/Pykeija, a pictoresque small fishing village. After Kirkenes, retrace your route back to Finnish border and ride to Inari. If you are interested in gold panning there are two museums, either in Tankavaara between Ivalo and Sodankylä or in Lemmenjoki between Inari and Kittilä (you can get to Sodankylä viia Kittilä, too). After Sodankylä I would head towards Kemijärvi making sure to make a side tour of Pyhä-Luosto national park.

    Remember when riding in Finnish Lappland that reindeer is a stubborn animal and will be flocking on the roads sometimes blocking the traffic.

    I personally prefer the eastern route down south: it has perhaps more of that untouched wilderness feel to it than the western route. On the other hand the Finnish west coast offers many nice curvy smaller roads too and perhaps more cultural sights to see.

    On the eastern route I would head towards Kuusamo and visit Kiutakongäs waterfall at Oulanka national park. After Kuusamo, avoid the big road number 6 and head instead towards Kuhmo, Nurmes, Lieksa, Joensuu (take the smaller scenic road via Ahveninen after Lieksa), Ilomantsi, Tohmajärvi, Kitee and Savonlinna - tons of smaller roads and twisties on the way. Savonlinna is a great summer city (as is Joensuu). From Savonlinna head south towards Parikkala and at Punkaharju be sure to find the well marked scenic route that sits between two lakes on a narrow ridge. One of the most scenic places in Finland.

    After Punkaharju I would find my way towards south and west avoiding big roads (numbers 6, 5, 4 and so on) and stay on smaller B-roads. Maybe some other inmate can give more specifics on the twisties of southern Finland. Be sure to check the road construction map (available only in Finnish, click on the map on left to choose a region) at http://www2.liikennevirasto.fi/alk/tietyot/.

    If you want to have a spectacular finish for your Tour de Finland, go ferry hopping from Turku/Naantali going from island to island at Turku Archipelago and make a day trip of Åland/Ahvenanmaa. Definitely worth a visit!

    Have a great and safe trip in Finland!
    #3
  4. FinlandThumper

    FinlandThumper Has Cake/Eats it Too Super Moderator

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    Borderlone gave you a really nice summary and I too would say an eastern Finland traverse would be nice.

    I will add that Savonlinna and its area are very beautiful and Savonlinna is home to one of Finland's finest medieval fortresses, situated on an island with river on both sides. Well worth a stop and look around. Savonlinna has a lot of nice restaurants and is quite alive in summer.

    Camping in Finland is easy. There are many private campgrounds around, or you can simply pull off into the forest on a small road, out of the way and out of sight, and stay overnight. You will also be visited by the unofficial national bird, the mosquito, so bring your repellent.

    In general, in Finland any road with a single digit number is a main road. As Borderlone mentioned, these are more heavily trafficked as you head south. The roads get better and nicer as the number of digits increases. In general, when I am travelling I use 2- and 3-digit roads depending on how much speed I want to make. 2- digit roads are good roads for making distance yet commonly have not a lot of traffic. A 3-digit road will be very un-trafficked but your distances slow. 4-digit roads are great for wandering but get you absolutely nowhere fast. Very commonly unpaved also. They are great to ride if you have no hurry, but be prepared for a day where you rode all day and made 150km of headway in your direction of choice. :lol3

    Once you get to Lahti area, there are many medieval gray stone churches that can be visited. Most of these churches are marked with signs at the nearby highway so you can find them easily.

    There are not a whole lot of twisties in southern Finland, but for example heading west from Helsinki toward Turku, I advise you to select the smallest paved road from the coast and have fun! These are usually small, rural, and full of curves.
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  5. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Years ago, I had some Italian friends come to Finland with their motorcycles. They just totally fell in love with the lake district area, we mostly stayed inside the triangle of Mikkeli, Imatra and Joensuu. There are many very nice small roads, where you´re close to water most of the time. Weather is the unknown, though – the Italians got very lucky, as it was warm and sunny all the time. It can be windy and rainy, too, even in midsummer, and then your whole lake experience can be (at least partly) ruined. Sunshine is what really brings it to life.


    Another possible downside is, smaller roads all over Finland are often in surprisingly bad condition these days. There certainly doesn´t seem to be a lot of money spent on repairing them. Actually I rode quite a bit in the lake district backroads last year, and for me it was almost a shock, how bad some of the roads actually are now. It´s not comparable to some 3rd world country just yet, but it is getting close to being downright shameful for a EU-country. There are some bumps and holes, that you really need to watch out for, especially if you´re on a streetbike. My bike has a bit longer suspension travel, so road condition is less of a problem, but still this has taken some of the enjoyment out of it for me. Been several years since I went to Sweden or Norway, but I would not be surprised if their backroads are better maintained (especially in Norway).
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  6. FinlandThumper

    FinlandThumper Has Cake/Eats it Too Super Moderator

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    ^ Just recently in one of the construction journals (might have been Rakennuslehti but I am not sure) they were discussing this issue with roads condition. The conclusion was that with the decreasing number of residents in the countryside in certain areas, it is becoming cost-prohibitive to continue to maintain paved roads in many areas. As a result, they are considering allowing certain roads to simply deteriorate until they just pull of the asphalt and resurface them with gravel.

    Finland is a great country for adventure style bikes as it is...that stands to be more important in years to come.
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  7. Borderlone

    Borderlone n00b

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    That's one of the reasons I'm putting my Brick up for sale and start looking for a replacement that will be easier to pick up on wet gravel roads... :D
    #7