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Biking in the Finnish Nature: A Captivating Journey in North Karelia’s Lieksa

biking in Lieksa, Finland

Biking in the Finnish Nature: A Captivating Journey in North Karelia’s Lieksa

Cycling enthusiasts, prepare to be amazed by the sheer splendour of biking in Finnish nature, in the breathtaking landscapes of North Karelia’s Lieksa. This picturesque region offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in the wonders of the great outdoors.

Lieksa’s diverse terrain and extensive network of cycling routes make it an ideal destination for every type of cyclist. Whether you’re a mountain biking adventurer, a road cycling enthusiast, or a gravel trail seeker, Lieksa has something extraordinary to offer.

The Finnish nature in North Karelia’s Lieksa is a mesmerising canvas for cyclists to paint their unforgettable memories. The diverse landscapes, pristine lakes, and dense forests create an enchanting backdrop for every journey. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or a beginner looking for a new adventure, Lieksa’s cycling routes cater to all, promising an experience that will leave you utterly spellbound.

So, grab your bike and embark on a journey like no other! Feel the magic of the Finnish countryside enveloping you as you pedal through this untouched wonderland. Each bike pedal stroke carries you deeper into a realm of pure natural beauty, creating memories that will forever stay etched in your heart.

Mountain biking trails in Lieksa

Lieksa’s landscapes are a mountain biker’s dream come true as if designed specifically for this thrilling sport. Among the myriad of stunning routes, one stands out in its majesty – the illustrious “Karhunpolku” or “Bear’s Trail” in English. This captivating trail beckons with its blend of heart-pumping challenges and jaw-dropping scenery, promising an adventure of a lifetime.

mountain biking Karhunpolku

But the wonders of Lieksa don’t end there. The Ruunaa Scenic Route awaits eager mountain or trail biking enthusiasts, offering a delightful tapestry of diverse scenery and challenges. Whether you’re just starting your cycling journey or a seasoned pro seeking exhilarating rides, this route has something extraordinary for everyone. Lose yourself in the breathtaking landscapes, conquer the obstacles with sheer determination, and relish every moment of this truly unforgettable journey through the wild heart of Finland.

Karhunpolku: Lieksa’s Mountain Biking Gem

Step into a world of awe-inspiring landscapes as you venture along the legendary Karhunpolku, a 140-kilometre trail that traverses the pristine beauty of North Karelia. Beginning its odyssey from the captivating Patvinsuo National Park, the trail weaves through the enchanting Ruunaa Hiking Area, leading you all the way to the picturesque Teljo. The best part? This hiking and mountain biking marvel can be tailored to suit your pace, and easily divided into two or four sections, allowing you to savour every breathtaking moment.

Prepare to be entranced by the breathtaking diversity of Karhunpolku. As you ride, you’ll encounter a symphony of water bodies, serene swamps, rolling trails, and jaw-dropping ridge landscapes. The wilderness of North Karelia will weave its magic around you, captivating your senses and leaving you spellbound by its tranquil ambience. This captivating trail showcases an exquisite blend of terrains, from gentle needle paths and welcoming boardwalks to exhilarating rocky stretches and challenging ridge ascents and descents.

The southern leg of Karhunpolku, between Patvinsuo and Ruunaa, offers a smoother terrain compared to the northern stretch between Ruunaa and Teljo. Traverse several magnificent ridges in the north, each offering panoramic vistas that will steal your heart away. Although there may be fewer boardwalks, the views are simply unparalleled. If you’re up for an even grander adventure, journey southward for approximately 160 kilometres, through Susitaipale and Pogosta Circuit, reaching the beautiful town of Ilomantsi.

mountain biking Finland

Karhunpolku guarantees a trove of unforgettable experiences, inviting you to explore the unspoiled landscapes of North Karelia up close and personal. Take time to pause and soak in the breathtaking scenery, relish the invigorating freshness of the air, and push your limits while immersing yourself in a unique and adventurous journey through the captivating Finnish, North Karelian nature.

Along the route, well-placed lean-to shelters and wilderness huts beckon, inviting you to spend the night amidst the beauty of the outdoors. These rest areas are thoughtfully equipped to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. And guess what? We can’t wait to share some of these picturesque spots on our website – so keep an eye out for a sneak peek! As a gentle reminder, Karhunpolku is not just a cycling trail; it’s a shared path with hikers. So, let’s practice courtesy and mindfulness as we traverse this natural wonder.

For more information on Karhunpolku, we’ve got you covered – just click here for a deeper dive into this extraordinary trail that awaits your exploration. Get ready to embrace the adventure of a lifetime amidst the natural wonders of Lieksa’s Karhunpolku.

Mountain biking routes around Ruunaa Rapids

Get ready for an unforgettable cycling escapade as you venture along the Ruunaa Scenic Route, spanning approximately 26 kilometres of pure natural wonder. Brace yourself for an enchanting journey, where each twist and turn unveils breathtaking views and awe-inspiring vistas. Along this picturesque path, you’ll be treated to the captivating beauty of swamp landscapes, the soothing murmur of babbling streams, and the grandeur of majestic rocks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist seeking an electrically powered adventure with an E-Fatbike, this route promises an experience like no other.

Ruunaa rapids

The adventure begins at Ruunaa Matkailu premises, where the Ruunaa Scenic Route beckons you towards the Naarajärvi rest area. Prepare to be enchanted as the path leads you to Kelokahvila Ruunaan Tupa, a delightful stopover where you can savour mouthwatering treats like creamy ice cream and aromatic coffee. Take a well-deserved break at the serene Niskavaara lean-to shelter, where you can indulge in a refreshing snack and gather your strength before tackling the more challenging part of the journey. Navigate the route skillfully with the help of well-maintained boardwalks, passing by the captivating Tervalampi, an area that demands a touch of extra concentration. As you journey on, Karhunpolku unfolds before you, leading towards the splendid Raiskavaara, where a steep ascent awaits, promising exhilarating rewards for your efforts. The latter part of the ride allows for a more leisurely pedal, giving you ample opportunity to bask in the surrounding beauty. Find more delightful details about the Ruunaa Scenic Route here, and get ready to be blown away by the breathtaking landscapes that lie ahead.

During the winter months, the best choice is the Ruunaa Multifunctional Route. The magic of Ruunaa extends to the snowy wonderland with the Ruunaa Multifunctional Route, a winter cycling utopia that caters to outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Beyond mountain biking, this multifunctional route opens doors to exhilarating hikes and cross-country skiing, ensuring endless possibilities to revel in nature’s splendour. Following the meandering path of the Ruunaa Rapids, this route challenges cyclists with its scenic allure. Witness the foaming rapids, behold the grandeur of majestic cliffs, and immerse yourself in the lush embrace of the surrounding forests. With the Ruunaa Multifunctional Route thoughtfully divided into various sections, you have the freedom to select the length and difficulty level that perfectly aligns with your preferences.

winter biking

Discover the allure of Ruunaa’s stunning nature through either of these unique routes. For rentals and further details about these thrilling cycling routes, you can seek expert advice from the knowledgeable team at Ruunaa Matkailu. They have everything you need to embark on your cycling adventure – from E-Fatbike rentals to scrumptious picnic supplies and cosy accommodation options. 

Road Cycling: Unforgettable Journey around Lake Pielinen 

If road cycling is more your thing, Lieksa offers an excellent option around Finland’s 4th largest lake. This approximately 250-kilometre-long route takes you to the shores of Lake Pielinen, treating you to breathtaking views of the lake and its surrounding nature. As the name suggests, the Pielinen Circuit is a route that circles Lake Pielinen.

lake pielinen

Along the way, you can pedal peacefully, admiring Finland’s famous national landscapes and savouring the fresh air. The cycling route mainly traverses the serene countryside on tranquil gravel roads. It also presents stunning panoramas of Lake Pielinen and its numerous islands. Take a moment to pause and admire the shimmering surface of the lake, basking in the tranquillity that nature offers. As you ride, you’ll encounter beautiful forest areas and picturesque rural landscapes, adding an extra layer of excitement to your cycling adventure. Along the route, you’ll find several accommodations, making it ideal for a day-long excursion, while exploring the entire route might require a few days. Alternatively, you can opt to cover half of the route and take a scenic ferry ride across Lake Koli and Vuonislahti.

The Pielinen Circuit promises a thrilling experience for road cyclists amid Lieksa’s stunning landscapes. Discover the beauty of nature while relishing the sense of freedom that cycling brings, all along the shores of Finland’s fourth-largest lake.

Gravel cycling: New, trendy way to explore nature!

Gravel cycling has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years, and Lieksa provides an excellent playground for this cycling style. When talking about gravel cycling, we refer to cycling on unpaved surfaces, specifically with gravel bikes.

gravel biking

With a gravel bike, you can ride on asphalt, gravel roads, cycling paths, and even easy forest trails. It offers a versatile cycling experience that combines the best of road cycling and mountain biking. It’s perfect for those seeking a more adventurous side to cycling.

One of the gravel routes in Lieksa is called the Puuruu Circuit. This approximately 22-kilometre-long route takes you around Puuruunjärvi Lake, surrounded by bright pine forests. The route meanders along peaceful gravel roads, providing a pleasant cycling experience. Along the way, you can stop at a few sandy beaches and campfire spots, where you can rest and admire the surrounding nature. You can also take a break in the charming village of Nurmijärvi, where a traditional bar and village shop offer a taste of local culture and a chance to connect with the locals. Don’t forget to visit the adorable ice cream kiosk, serving up delicious frozen treats!

gravel biking in finland

If you wish to extend your stay in Nurmijärvi, you’ll find charming accommodation options in the village. Here, you can rest, relax, and bask in nature’s embrace, continuing your circuit at your leisure. Gravel cycling also offers the opportunity to explore more remote locations and discover new routes that might otherwise go unnoticed. For instance, Nurmijärvi boasts the stunning Änäkäinen Recreation Forest, where you can fish and explore restored historical military sites and impressive tank barriers.

Take the Leap and Embark on Your Bike

In conclusion, Lieksa is a true cyclist’s paradise, thanks to its extensive and diverse road network. Whether you prefer mountain biking, road cycling, or gravel cycling, Lieksa offers the perfect route for you to enjoy nature’s beauty and indulge in unforgettable experiences. The road network in Lieksa allows for all these cycling opportunities, offering memorable adventures in both the stunning natural environment and cultural landmarks. Whatever your choice, let Lieksa’s natural allure enchant you, and treat yourself to delightful culinary experiences at local restaurants and cafes. And do not forget to look around – Lieksa’s forests are full of treasures. 

Take the leap and hop on your bike, letting the enchantment of cycling transport you to the breathtaking landscapes of Lieksa. But beware – you might just fall in love.

Where can I rent a bike in Lieksa?

There are several different providers and tour operators helping you to embark on your journey with your choice of bike, such as JJ-vuokraus in Lieksa, Ruunaa Matkailu in the Ruunaa area and Seikkailuyhtiö Vaara and Polar Adventures in Koli. 

Explore Lieksa’s Rich Cultural Heritage on Two Wheels

While cycling in Lieksa, not only will you be surrounded by breathtaking nature, but you’ll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s rich cultural heritage. As you pedal through the picturesque countryside, keep an eye out for historical landmarks and cultural sites that showcase the area’s fascinating past.

One such destination is the Museum Pielinen, a diverse open-air museum located near the centre of Lieksa. The museum grounds feature old homesteads, the extensive Savotaranta forest work area with its associated buildings, mills, a former prison cell, a scout lodge, and a large municipal grain storehouse. The main building of the museum hosts a permanent exhibition showcasing local history and a cosy café that welcomes visitors during the summer months.

Museum Pielinen

Another must-visit site is the home of the sculptor Eva Ryynänen, Paateri. This captivating destination amidst beautiful natural surroundings presents an impressive ensemble reflecting the artist’s distinctive touch.

Paateri, Lieksa

As you cycle through the picturesque countryside, make time to visit these cultural landmarks, where art, history, and traditions come together to enrich your experience in Lieksa. Immerse yourself in the legacy of the past and the creativity of local artists, all while enjoying the splendour of your cycling adventure.

Don’t hesitate to check with the local tourist information centres for additional cultural attractions, guided tours, and events that might further enhance your exploration of Lieksa’s cultural heritage.

Additional Information

Remember to follow the marked route signs in the wilderness to protect delicate areas from harm. You can find maps, rest stops, tourist businesses, and nearby routes on the Lieksa tourism website, which we recommend exploring before your cycling trip to plan your necessary breaks.

Equip yourself suitably for the journey and enjoy nature responsibly, leaving only footprints behind. During your cycling adventure, it’s essential to have the proper cycling gear, including a helmet and, if needed, a reflective vest. Keep in mind that there may be other cyclists and hikers along the route, so stay aware of your surroundings and follow traffic rules.

If you need assistance in planning your cycling trip, we’re more than happy to help!

Lieksa City Tourist Information

Pielisentie 3, 81700 Lieksa

+358 40 1044 680