Pudasjärvi, on the border between Lapland and the Finnish Lakeland, is where you will find Finland’s southernmost fells, Iso-Syöte and Pikku-Syöte.
From here it is still another 150 kilometres to the Arctic Circle, where Lapland “officially” begins. Syöte, which means ”blessed” in the ancient Sami language, is mainly known as the ski resort in Finland with the highest snowfall. It is also the destination attracting an increasing amount of summer tourists every year, partly thanks to its excellent mountain biking terrain.
The largest Lake District in Europe: In a scarcely populated country there’s enough scenery and shoreline for all, allowing you to easily lose yourself in thought or be inspired by the vast clear lakes, intricately splintered by islands, isthmuses and green spits.
Syöte’s mountain biking trails are suitable for everyone – as long as you are prepared to carry your bike across streams and up the steepest hills. You’ll get the most out of the trails, however, if you’ve already got the mountain biking bug. There are plenty of gradients and the terrain varies from bare rock and undulating sandy ground to ancient spruce forests with tree roots and gravel ridges – perfect for taking it to the max.
Extensive boggy areas offer a great challenge for the off-road cyclist.
As well as the traditional trails, Iso-Syöte also offers scope for doing your own thing.
Iso-Syöte’s trails are clearly marked and the rugged landscape of the Syöte National Park contains almost 80 kilometres of mountain bike routes. There are three main trails: 17 km, 25 km and 36 km in length. They are easy to follow as the route is marked on trees in pink paint and there are several places to take a break along the way. All three are interlinked so route plans can remain flexible, so just go with the flow.
Cyclists often encounter the ‘indigenous population’. One can ride freely in the trails and off-roads as long as you remember to respect the rules of the national park.
Anninkoski can also be crossed the traditional way.
Bike over your shoulder and boots in your rucksack. Authentic.
The paths at Iso-Syöte are stony, challenging enough terrain even for more experienced cyclists so the trails are best suited to people who have already done a fair bit of mountain biking.
The unmade road leading down from the Hotel Iso-Syöte offers a chance for some speed… not to mention flying through the air. And, of course, in the fells there’s always the chance to freewheel downhill, so long as your bike’s suspension can take it and you’ve got the nerve.
Besides traditional forest trails, there are also more urban routes.
Marshland is one characteristic of the Syöte area. A quarter of the national park’s surface area is marsh, swamp or bog of various types, even on hills over 300 metres above sea level. Crossing the swamps on duckboards adds an extra touch of excitement to cycling through this spectacular scenery. You won’t find anything on the same scale anywhere else in Finland.
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Sailing and boating are both very much family activities in Finland. Especially during the holiday season, most Finnish boats carry crews of eager youngsters. Here are the six top reasons why you should bring your children too!
Take a look at the geographical shape of Finland and you’ll see why people call her “The Finnish Maiden”. At the tip of her thumb is the only part of the country where peaks rise 1,000 metres above sea level. Nestled in those peaks you will find a tiny village called Kilpisjärvi, home to roughly a hundred year-round residents.
One of them is 25-year-old snowmobile guide Jussi Rauhala.