Encounter with a Bear – how to go bear watching in Lakeland

If you go down to the woods today in most parts of Finland, a big surprise encounter with a bear is very unlikely. But for anyone keen to join an organised trip to see and photograph wild bears, the densely forested borderlands of Finland’s Lakeland district are an ideal destination.

Bears are formidable animals. Big males can weigh up to 300 kilos, and hunt large animals like deer or elk (moose). But there’s also something endearing about these huge furry creatures. Spending the night out in the forest watching a real life teddy bears’ picnic is an unforgettable experience for any nature-lover.

With some 2,000 brown bears freely roaming the country, Finland offers the best bear watching safaris in Europe. In the central and eastern forests of Lakeland, several companies organize bear watching and photography trips between April and September.

Here we look at what you can expect – including other animals you may see in addition to bears – and which companies can help you make it happen.





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.