Trail Running, Saunas and Packrafting in Southern Finland (Finland) - 7 Days

Join a varied week of guided running in forests and National Parks staying in hostel, log cabin and wild camping. Try packrafting and soothe your muscles in traditional Finnish saunas!

Trip Facts

  • Guided or Self-guided: Guided.
  • Price: From £1145/€1190 per person.
  • Dates/Duration: Public tours 10.05-16.05.20, 07.06-12.06.20, 30.08-05.09.20, 25.10-31.10.20 + private tours on request April-December. 7 days/6 nights (arrival + 5 days’ activities + departure).
  • Running ability required: Up to 12km/day on relatively flat woodland trails at minimum avg. speed of 6 mins 30 secs/km.
  • Terrain/distance: Trails in forest landscapes in and around Tampere and in two National Parks.
  • Location: Southern Finland.
  • Travel to: Tampere (1.5 hours by train from Helsinki).
  • Accommodation: Hostel (4 nights, Tampere), log cabin (1 night, National Park), wild camping (1 night, National Park).
  • Group size: 4-8 persons.

See below for details.

Why choose this tour for a trail running holiday in Finland?

  • Running through landscapes of ancient forest and wetlands with sunset run to Helvetinkolu crevasse.
  • Packrafting activity provides additional variety and adventure.
  • Regular chances to experience the tradition of Finnish sauna through the week.
  • One night in log cabin and one night wild camping on the beach in two National Parks and four nights’ accommodation in Tampere, Finland’s “sauna capital”.
  • Easily accessible from Helsinki.

Finland’s quiet forests and cool lakes provide the perfect setting for a trail running holiday.

Starting and ending in the attractive city of Tampere, just 1.5 hours by train from Helsinki and Finlands “sauna capital”, you’ll be taking part in a programme of guided runs through ancient forests in the Tampere area and in two of Finland’s many National Parks.

Trail Running and Saunas in Tampere. Photo: WH.
A half-day packrafting tour adds extra variety to the week and chance to rest your legs! Photo: WH.

This week-long itinerary for trail running in Finland features 4 nights in hostel standard accommodation in Tampere plus one night in log cabin and a night wild camping on the beach for the nights visiting the National Parks. All camping equipment is provided, so all you’ll need is your running gear.

Accommodation at the Dream Hostel in Tampere. Photos: Dream Hostel.
Accommodation at the Dream Hostel in Tampere. Photos: Dream Hostel.

No holiday in Finland would be complete without sauna, and this tour also has a strong focus on this central element of Finnish culture. During the week you’ll get to experience a number of saunas, including Finland’s oldest. There’s no better way to end a day’s trail running than with a relaxing sauna session followed by a swim in the lake!

In addition to the week’s running tours, you’ll be experiencing the adventure of packrafting on one day, as you journey down river and run back to catch your lift home!

Lodge accommodation in Seitseminen National Park. Photo: Seitseminen Lodge.
Lodge accommodation in Seitseminen National Park. Photo: Seitseminen Lodge.

A number of fixed date tours are offered, which are open to solo travellers or participants travelling with one or more companions. If you’re a larger group of friends or members of a running club, you can also arrange private tours on other dates by arrangement.

Is it for me?

  • Fixed date tours are suitable for solo travellers or guests travelling with one or more companions. Prices are based on 2 persons sharing. See under “Prices” for details of single supplement if solo traveller or requiring single occupancy.
  • For fixed date tours, you should at minimum be able to run up to 12km/day in relatively flat woodland terrain at a minimum average pace of 6 mins 30 seconds per km. Some of the runs offer a certain degree of flexibility to vary distance covered and pace for different members of the group.
  • For private tours, a greater degree of flexibility to vary level of challenge is possible.

Day 1
Day 1: Arrival and optional 1 hour run in Tampere

Summary: Arrival and check-in. Accommodation: Hostel in Tampere (dinner not included).

Arrival in Tampere by train. You will be met by your guide at the train station at agreed time (normally 18.00) for short walk (approx. 200m) to your hostel accommodation.

You will check-in to your accommodation, meet your guide and begin to get to know each other. If you’re not too tired after your journey, there’s the option for a short (approx. 1 hour) run in the evening.

Dinner this evening (as for other nights when staying in Tampere) is not included. There are a number of restaurants in the area to choose from and the group will select something suitable together. During dinner, you’ll get a briefing on the upcoming trip.

Day 2
Day 2: Trail Running in Seitseminen National Park with Overnight in Log Cabin with Sauna

Summary: Running distance: Approx. 11km. Accommodation: Log cabin with sauna.

Breakfast at the hostel, after which your guide will meet you at 10.00 for a 1-hour transfer to Seiteminen National Park. You drop your gear at the log cabin where you will stay this evening before continuing a short distance to the start of the run.

Distance is around 11km and takes you through varied terrain, with landscapes of ancient forest, wetland and and a traditional farm house that illustrates rural life in Finland in the past.

Lunch is taken around the fire. After you return to the cabin, it’s time to start heating the sauna – one of a number of Finnish sauna experiences you’ll be having this week!

Sauna is a central part of Finnish culture, and your guide will introduce you to this tradition before you have dinner together at the cabin.

Day 3
Day 3: Trail Running in Helvetinjärvi National Park with Wild Camping on the Beach and Sunset Run

Summary: Running distance: Optional recovery run 5-8km; Sunset run 11-14km. Accommodation: Wild camping on the beach (camping equipment provided) with lake for swimming.

The day starts with the option to do a short recovery run in the local area, distance 5-8km.

On return to the cabin, you take a long, relaxing brunch at 10.00 and then have a transfer (approx. 1 hour) to Helvetinjärvi National Park.

Tonight you’ll be camping wild on one of the beautiful dune beaches there, and on arrival it’s time to set up camp. No sauna here – but the lake awaits for a refreshing dip later (depending on the time of year, this may be only for the brave!).

The afternoon is spent enjoying the surroundings, when your host can introduce you to some traditional Finnish games while you cook a meal together and enjoy one of Finland’s most beautiful beaches.

As evening approaches and the sun gets lower in the sky, it’s time for a sunset run through the National Park. Distance is flexible from around 11-14km.

This run takes you to one of the park’s most famous sights, the Helvetinkolu crevasse, before returning to camp for a night of wild camping beneath the stars.

Day 4
Day 4: Running and Lakeside Sauna at Kaupinoja

Summary: Running distance: optional (recovery run + woodland runs at Kaupinoja). Accommodation. Hostel in Tampere (dinner not included) with sauna.

After a night under canvas, there’s an optional recovery run in the morning to ease out the muscles before breakfast (and a swim of course if you like) and return to Tampere, where you’ll now be staying for the remainder of the week.

After lunch, you visit the Kaupinoja running trails, where there is a lovely circular run to a public lakeside wood-heated sauna.

Dinner in Tampere (not included).

Day 5
Day 5: Packrafting on the River and Run Back

Summary: Running distance: 8km (following 9km packrafting tour). Accommodation: Hostel in Tampere (dinner not included).

Give your legs a break today, as you travel approx. 30 mins from Tampere to a narrow river, the location for a 9km packrafting tour.

Packrafting is a really fun way to experience the river, and no experience is required. To collect the cars, you’ll need to run 8km afterwards!

If you’re feeling in the mood for sauna (which is almost compulsory in Finland!), there’s the option to visit a different lakeside public sauna.

Dinner in Tampere (not included).

Day 6
Day 6: Running in the World's Highest Esker and visiting Finland's Oldest Public Sauna

Summary: Running distance: flexible (multiple 2.8km circuits and stair climbing work in protected forest reserve). Accommodation: Hostel in Tampere (dinner not included). Sauna.

An esker is a meandering ridge of gravel depositing by a retreating glacier, and Tampere is home to the world’s highest. Despite being within the city of Tampere, this is a protected area of old-growth forest with lovely running trails.

It’s attractions include world-famous doughnuts and Finland’s oldest public sauna still in use.

The day begins with a 20-minute run through the city to Pyynikki, where you can drop gear at the sightseeing tower there before doing laps in the forest trail. Distance of each lap is 2.8km with a height gain of 70m, so ideal for some flexible training.

The tower offers great views over the city, made all the better if accompanied by doughnuts.

A chance to challenge yourself at the end of the week comes with the stairways of Pispala, where the local athletic clubs train. Channel your inner Rocky to do as many repetitions as you wish!

When everyone has had enough, it’s time for your final sauna of the week at the Rajaportin public sauna, which also has a coffee shop. Afterwards continue if you wish to Cafe Pispala with its varied menu.

You’ll say goodbye to your guide before your last evening at the hostel in Tampere.

Day 7
Day 7: Departure

Summary: Check-out by 12.00 and departure.

Departures by own arrangement – please check out by 12.00. The hostel is near the railway station, which offers easy access for your onward travel, whether you’re heading to Helsinki airport for the journey home or staying on in Finland.

Dates 2020:

Fixed dates:

10-15 May 2020
7-12 June 2020
30 August-5 September 2020
25-31 October 2020

Fixed date tours are open anyone fulfilling the running ability requirements (min. age 16).

Private tours:

Tours are possible on other dates by arrangement for group sizes 4-8 persons. Private tours can be offered subject to availabilty from April to December (as long as there is no snow cover).

Prices 2020:

Group size 6-10 persons: GBP 1,145 or EUR 1,190/person (based on 2 persons sharing)

Single supplement (for solo travellers requiring single occupancy): GBP 241 or EUR 250/person

What's included:

  • Guide.
  • Local transfers.
  • 4 nights' accommodation in hostel in Tampere (prices based on 2 persons sharing).
  • 1 night's accommodation in log cabin in Seitseminen National Park.
  • 1 night wild camping in tent in Helvetinjärvi National Park (all camping equipment provided).
  • 6 x breakfast Days 2-7.
  • 5 x lunch Days 2-6.
  • 2 x dinner (on nights in Seitseminen and Helvetinjärvi National Parks).

Not included:

  • Dinners on nights when staying in Tampere (4 nights total).
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FAQs

What training should I do to prepare for the tour?

Provided you meet the minimum specifications for running ability for the tour, no special preparation should be required. Just keep doing your regular runs! Of course, the better prepared you are for your trip, the more you’ll enjoy it!

It is important to practise running using the pack you are planning to use and carrying what you would be intending take with you on the tour days (water, lunch, spare clothing, etc).

What kind of running shoes do I need?

For this tour, a combination of trail running shoes and fast road shoes are ideal, but the tour is possible using road running shoes only (though these may get a good amount of wear during the week). You may wish to bring more than one pair in any case to have the opportunity to change if wet, etc.

What will I need to carry with me during the runs?

Whatever you would normally take with you on a long run – your preferred hydration and some snacks.

How can I refill drinking water during the runs?

You will normally bring water with you for each day’s run. For some of the runs, it will be possible to fill at taps or from a water container in the transport vehicle. When running in the National Parks, drinking water will be taken from wild sources (streams, etc) along the route. The water is very clean, but you may wish to use a water filter. Sawyer mini water filters are available to borrow free of charge from your guide, so there is no need to bring your own.

Do I need to bring hiking poles?

The terrain for this tour is relatively flat most of the time, so hiking poles are not necessary unless you have used them before during your runs and particularly wish to bring some.