Finland

Bike Trip inspired by years of experience

Explore the Baltic Sea coast and inland countryside of southern Finland by bike. This lesser-travelled route includes a city tour of Helsinki, harbour towns, local artisans at work, restored mills, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, and peaceful cycling roads through idyllic countryside. Great local food and drinks.

1/10

CAD$3,450

13
days
Aug 1-13,2021
 
TRIP OVERVIEW

Trip START Date | Helsinki, Finland, Sunday, August 1, 2021

Trip END Date | Helsinki, Finland, Friday, August 13, 2021

504 km | 318 mi

 

Trip Cost: CAD$3,450 | 13 days / 12 nights

 
PRICE INCLUDES
  • 12 nights accommodation (no camping)

  • All group meals (drinks on your own)

  • 8 days biking

  • Sightseeing (rest days) in Helsinki, Verla, and Lahti

  • Use of bicycles and packs (E-Bike option available)

  • Travel coordination to/from Finland

Price does not include airfare

Trip Essentials

Group size: 10 to 12 (all ages 14+)

Packing List

Bikes and Gear

Day-to-Day Route

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Testimonial
"My wife and I are avid cycle tourists and we have had the pleasure of joining Rick on two separate international bike tours; one in Argentina and one in Norway.  Both experiences were exceptional.   Rick provided all of the professional guiding experience, support and technical knowledge that we needed to have safe yet adventurous trips.  We expected this professionalism and we were not disappointed.  But what set Rick’s tours apart from other tours we’ve been on were Rick’s local contacts and the amazing experiences we had with them.  Through Rick, we’ve been greeted by the mayor of Tromso, Norway, stayed overnight in a soccer stadium run by a true Viking, played guitar with a larger-than-life baritone Argentinian, camped under the stars in an Andes mountain trout farm, and stayed in countless friends’ homes throughout Norway and Argentina.  And the new friendships that developed from these experiences have endured, giving us the opportunity to return for visits in the future.  Rick opens doors through his unique enthusiasm for biking and his calm and supportive approach to people and friends.  If you have the opportunity to travel somewhere with Rick, I highly recommend you take it."       
Tom Evans: Calgary, Alberta 2018

8 Days biking, 504 km | 318 mi, Start: Helsinki - Porvoo - Lovisa - Verla - Mäntyharju - Virtaa - Lahti - Hyvinkaa - Helsinki: End

TRIP DESCRIPTION

Visit Finland on this new adventure for OnaVelo. Rick and Tanya and their family spent a month cycling in Finland on one of their world tours and are now introducing it as a featured trip for OnaVelo. Working with a local host and guide in Finland, this trip will certainly be an adventure and a unique opportunity to explore southern Finland by bike. 

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE
  • Site seeing and city tour of Helsinki

  • Great local food and drinks (Brewery tours)

  • Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Verla

  • Unique hotels and cabins with saunas

  • Just going to Finland is a highlight!

 

This is a new route. The trip will be adventurous and fun. If it is like a previous exploratory trip that Rick and friends took to the Dominican Republic, it's bound to have lasting memories. This route offers opportunities to travel before or after the trip into Russia, Sweden, Estonia or other destinations. Rick and our local Finish host can help with extra travel plans in the area. 

 

TAKING CARE OF THE DETAILS

Rick and Tanya and our local guide Antti will take care of all the details including the bicycles and gear, guides and safety, local activities, route planning, food and snacks, accommodations as well as helping you with getting to and from Finland.

MORE ABOUT THE BIKING

Travelling by bicycle can be challenging. This trip is for you if you are relatively fit and are comfortable with riding undulating terrain with some bigger hills. You like to ride your bike on vacation, but not every day. You can ride an average of 40mi/65km and up to 55mi/90km on a long day.

We have a variety of bikes for this bike packing tour. The basic idea is to have a go-anywhere bike where simplicity, durability, and efficiency is preferred. We use basic hardtail or fully rigid hybrid touring bikes and mountain bikes. For the most part, we are biking on lesser-travelled paved roads. Our trips are a blend of bike packing and classic bike touring. You will have a sense of freedom by carrying your own gear on a multi-day self-supported adventure, with the objective to see the sights along the route at a leisurely pace.

E-Bike option: New to this trip we are offering an E-bike option for an additional cost. RockMachine Blackout ES 40.  Please contact Rick for details and availability. 

PACE OF THE RIDE

I let everybody set their own pace. I give directions every morning for check-in points along the way and let people go at their own speed. Most of the time the groups end up riding together for the most part. Faster riders can enjoy riding fast, slower riders can enjoy riding slower. I usually end up in the rear and take in the sights and enjoy the ride. I guess my average speed might be around 10 to 13 mph / 15-20 km/hour. 

CARRYING YOUR GEAR

We use ARKEL XM-45 bikepacking panniers.  The XM-45’s are essentially top-loading bags (as opposed to front-loading on typical touring panniers). Keep in mind that there is no support vehicle and you will have to carry your personal gear on your bike. You can download a suggested packing list to make sure you have everything you need, but not too much. If you have things you want for your travels after the bike trip, you can leave a bag in Helsinki with our local guide for the end of the trip. Packing list >>

MORE THAN JUST A TRIP TO FINLAND

Rick and his family had an amazing experience biking in Finland in 2018. Take a look at some of the pictures and stories on Sampson McFerrin's blog about their trip in Finland. >> blog .  Helsinki is also a great jumping-off point to visit other destinations including St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; or other Baltic Sea cities. 

 

St Petersburg ‘Visa Free’ Tours

From Helsinki you can Join a wonderful St Petersburg Visa Free Tours by overnight ferry. Rick and his team can help you organize a popular 5 day Visa Free tours with an option to return to Helsinki or Tallinn before or after the bike trip. This is the perfect way to appreciate the magnificent city of St Petersburg without a Russian visa. 

DAY-to-DAY SCHEDULE (Click on selected days to expand for more detail)

 
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Day 1
|  Sunday, Aug 1 | Getting to Finland

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Travel to Helsinki, Finland

The adventure begins in Helsinki.

 

We will have two nights in Helsinki. This will give you time to recover from the flight and to get acclimated to Finland. Our first day on the bikes is Tuesday, August 4. Depending on your schedule, you may want to arrive Helsinki a day or two earlier or stay longer after the trip. 

Notes

  • OnaVelo can help coordinate your travel plans

  • The group meeting point in Helsinki will be detailed in your trip registration package

  • Pre-trip information sessions will be scheduled prior to your departure

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Day 2
| Monday, Aug 2 | Getting Ready | Helsinki City Tour

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 Preparing bikes and visiting Helsinki

We will spend the first part of the day getting your bike and gear set up and fitted for the trip. In the afternoon there will be time for sightseeing in Helsinki.

Notes

  • OnaVelo will provide you with pannier bags before your trip departure or once you get to Helsinki. You can pack your personal gear directly into the pannier bags for travel or pack in a duffle bag or suitcase and repack your bags once you get to Helsinki.

  • There is no support vehicle on this trip. However, if you have things you want for your travels after the bike trip, you can leave a bag in Helsinki with our local guide.

  • Group dinner 

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Day 3
| Tuesday, Aug 3 | Helsinki to Porvoo

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53km / 33 mi 

Founded nearly 800 years ago, Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland and evidence of its long history can still be seen and felt as you walk its charming streets. For centuries, the city has served as both a home and a source of inspiration for many Finnish artists.

Even though Porvoo is not exactly a coastal town, it is connected to the Gulf of Finland via the Porvoo River. The river flows through the city, passing Porvoo’s most well-known landmarks: its red shore houses. Originally, the shore houses were painted red in honour of the arrival of Gustav III, the king of Sweden. Historically, Porvoo has been an important centre of trade and the shore houses were once used to store goods and produce, such as exotic delicacies from distant lands.

Notes

  • We will stay in a three-storey guest house that was built in 1955 for residential use.

  • Group dinner 

Image by Carlos "Grury" Santos
Image by Ellen Auer
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| Wednesday, Aug 4 | Porvoo to Loviisa

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Day 4

40km / 24mi 

It is wonderful just to wander around in Loviisa, but there are some unique sights you do not want to miss. For example, the beautiful market square and its surroundings, the Bonga Castle, the Kappelinpuisto Park, town museum, old lower town, Suolatori (the ”Salt Square”) and the Laivasilta area with old salt warehouses. Other points of interest are the Myllyharju windmill and the Kukkukivi tower, a panorama look out over the sea, the church and the old Strömfors Iron Works. The fortress bastions Ungern and Rosen are grand landmarks of Loviisa town centre. Designed by Augustin Ehrensvärd, the construction of the fortresses to safeguard the eastern border of Sweden was started in 1748.

Notes

  • Lodging: Accommodation with a private beach area and WiFi .

  • Group dinner

  • Private beach| Lounge

  • Sauna

Image by Helen Sepp
Image by Helen Sepp
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Day 5
| Thursday, Aug 5 | Loviisa to Verla

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84km / 52mi 

Verla is an UNESCO World Heritage site that captures an interesting phase of development in Finland’s history. Experience the beautiful surrounding with museums and rock-paintings.

During a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Verla, you can learn about the early history of forestry life in a small village: the original houses and the machinery with the technology of the 19th century, the owner's house, the surrounding countryside and the idyllic workers' houses can be explored as well as the Verla rapids and the power stations located there.  In summer, the village workshops and boutiques are another attraction. On special show days craftsmanship is shown. 

Notes

  • Lodging: VALKEALA BOSTAD COTTAGES. The end of the 19th century comes alive in the renovated wooden Valkeala Bostad cottages.

  • Group dinner

  • Sauna

Image by Kirsi Färm
Image by Jakub Durian
Image by Helen Sepp
Day 6
| Friday, Aug 6 | Rest day in Verla

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Verla is a UNESCO World Heritage site that captures an interesting phase of development in Finland’s history.

Notes

  • Lodging: VALKEALA BOSTAD COTTAGES. The end of the 19th century comes alive in the renovated wooden Valkeala Bostad cottages.

  • Lunch and dinner on your own

  • Sauna

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Image by Tapio Haaja
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| Saturday, Aug 7 | Verla to Mäntyharju

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Day 7

56km / 34mi 

Mäntyharju is a rural community in Eastern Finland and a border parish of Savo. The boundary of three tribes, the Häme, Savo and Karelia peoples, is located in the municipality area. The current inhabitants of Mäntyharju are mainly of Savo lineage. Currently Mäntyharju has approximately 6,000 residents. In the summer, the services provided in the centre are in part like those of a town and satisfy the needs of both the inhabitants and visitors. The business centre has several banks, restaurants, an off-licence, health centre and diverse commercial services.

Notes

  • Lodging: cozy bed and breakfast-style accommodation

  • Group dinner

Image by Miika Laaksonen
Image by Malin K.
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Day 8
| Sunday, Aug 8 | Mäntyharju to Virtaa

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82km / 51mi

Virtaa is located in the middle of the lovely lakes area of Finland, in the very heart of the unique southern Päijänne lakescape.  Virtaa and its surroundings have been graced with spectacular natural vistas.  In fact, the highway through the Päijänne islands alone is well worth experiencing.

Notes

  • Lodging:  Country manor house

  • Group dinner 

Image by Tapio Haaja
Image by Marius Niveri
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| Monday, Aug 9| Virtaa to Lahti

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Day 9

61km / 38mi

Idyllically situated around a bay on Lake Vesijärvi, Lahti is a vibrant town 100km north of Helsinki. A popular travel destination, Lahti has excellent skiing facilities at Messilä Ski Resort and the famous ski jumps by the Salpausselkä Ridges and is the only city to have hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 6 times. It is also home to Lahti Symphony Orchestra and hosts the Lahti Sibelius Festival. Other sites of note are the Church of the Cross, Messilä Manor and its Musical Fountains.

Lahti is a lively city of almost 100,000 inhabitants just an hour from Helsinki. It is the capital of Päijänne Tavastia region and was first mentioned in documents in 1445, originally being a village in the parish of Hollola, on the medieval trade route of Ylinen Viipurintie which linked the towns of Hämeenlinna and Vyborg.

Notes

  • Lodging: Lakeview Villa

  • Group dinner

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Image by Jonne Huotari
| Tuesday, Aug 10 | Rest day 

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Day 10

Exploring

Rest tday to check out things to do around Lake Vesijärvi and Lahti.

Notes

  • Lodging: Lakeview Villa

  • Lunch and dinner on your own

Image by Phil Aicken
Image by Tommaso Fornoni
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| Wednesday, Aug 11 | Lahti to Hyvinkaa

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Day 11

74km / 46mi 

Hyvinkää is a small city located about 50km north of Helsinki. It offers deep dells, hilly moors, resin-saturated pines. The green and verdant city also offers various cultural experiences.

Notes

  • Lodging: Hotel

  • Group dinner

Image by Steven Lasry
Image by Phil Aicken
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Day 12
| Thursday, Aug 12 | Hyvinkaa to Helsinki

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62km / 38mi

We will finish the trip in Helsinki. Entwined with the Baltic's bays, inlets and islands, Helsinki's boulevards and backstreets overflow with magnificent architecture, intriguing drinking and dining venues and groundbreaking design.

Notes

  • Lodging: Hotel

  • Group dinner 

Image by Tapio Haaja
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Day 13
| Friday, Aug 13 | Helsinki

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End of trip

For some of the group, this will be their departure day back home. Others will stay in Finland for a few more days or weeks. Rick and our local hosts can help you with additional travel plans to Estonia, Russia or other destinations. 

Notes

  • OnaVelo can help coordinate your travel plans

Image by Markus Winkler