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Brown Bear Weekend AFB

Visiting: Finland
Trip Duration 4 Days

Reviews for Brown Bear Weekend

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

Trip notes

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We have the following different versions of the Brown Bear Weekend trip available at present.

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Brown Bear Weekend reviews verified by reevooReevoo

18 reviews

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Brown Bear WeekendScores 8.6 out of 10 based on 18 reviews
(10 out of 10)


It has been easy and relaxing weekend in Finland countryside. Of course The highlight of the trip was seeing three bears (one with cubs) and other animals such as reindeers, fox,, wolverine. Our tour leader Sabrina was very good and made the walks through forest very enjoyable.
Don't forget your swimming costume as there is chance to try smoke sauna followed by dip in the lake.
Confirmed traveller: 19 September 2016
Published on: 25 September 2016
(7 out of 10)


Brown bear watching was the highlight
The elk and reindeer tour was a waste of time and money. It was overpriced.
Confirmed traveller: 25 August 2016
Published on: 12 September 2016
(9 out of 10)


The brown bear experience was fantastic-we had excellent sightings.The tour guide was knowledgeable and hard working.We failed to see elk but the safari to look for them was enjoyable.The smaller itinary was good-nature walk/sauna/picnic with fire etc but no doubt the weekend depends on the sighting of the bears and wolverine.
Confirmed traveller: 22 August 2016
Published on: 08 September 2016
(9 out of 10)


We had a wonderful weekend in Finland. The sight of a bear stepping out of the woods onto the marsh is a memory I will not forget. It is a great privilege to be able to share the earth with these magnificent beautiful beasts. I was very glad that we decided to spend a second night in the hide. The Bears were the main highlight and the wolverine put on a good show on the second night.

Other highlights include breathing the clean air, the scenery, walking in the border zone, cooking sausages over a fire, smoke sauna and swimming in the lake.

Sabrina (our guide) looked after us very well, she is very knowledgeable about the area and the animals.

The accommodation was simple and clean, adequate for the trip. The beds were surprisingly comfortable.

I would recommend this trip for anyone who would like to see bears in their own habitat. But bear in mind that they are wild animals and have their own plans. We had three sightings each night and I was thrilled with this.

I loved this trip. I am still zinging from the experience.
Confirmed traveller: 08 August 2016
Published on: 19 August 2016
(8 out of 10)


A fantastic short trip. The highlight was definitely seeing the bears. But the stunning setting of the lodge was also a huge draw. I would definitely recommend this trip.
Confirmed traveller: 25 July 2016
Published on: 04 October 2016
(9 out of 10)


An enjoyable short trip, saw lots of bears and great photo opportunities.
Need to take warm clothes and mosquito repellent.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 13 June 2016
Published on: 19 June 2016
(4 out of 10)


I’ve done a lot of wildlife based trips previously with a variety of tour providers, so I understand that you need a large dose of patience and luck. Generally speaking, good sightings ‘make a holiday’, but I do feel that there are other things that operators can do to ensure that in the event that luck is not on your side, the holiday still provides ‘other memories’ to take away. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side, and in the absence of bears there wasn’t really much else to take away from this trip.

We saw very little on the nature walk on the Saturday morning – the highlight being a very hard to identify bear track which our guide told us was from last year! I couldn’t help but feel that the walk was a bit of a filler before the ‘main event’ that evening. Unfortunately, the ‘main event’ was hugely disappointing as on the first night in the group hide we saw nothing – not even a bird - despite keeping our eyes peeled for 14 hours. This meant we got a free night in the smaller hides the following night (NB from the moment I stepped foot in the smaller hide I felt more confident that we would see something, and I think Explore should consider putting people in these hides on the first night). We doubled our sighting from the previous night when we saw one solitary bear, in addition to a wolverine, but both sightings were distant and fleeting. When there’s nothing to see you get very bored and weary sitting in the hide - you’re literally just staring into a forest for 14 hours trying desperately to stay awake in case you miss ‘the moment’. Given the description of the holiday I never for one moment considered that we wouldn’t see anything, but at least two people on our trip saw nothing over two nights. We were told that the group the weekend before us also had only one poor sighting on the second night. Perhaps we were all very unlucky but I do think the description and detail of the trip should be amended to manage people’s expectations. That said, two people on our trip had an excellent close up encounter, which just goes to show that it’s a game of complete chance and ‘being in the right time at the right place’.

I was very surprised by the lack of other wildlife around the lodge, and generally in this area of Finland. I spent hours at the bird hide, and saw the sum total of one great tit. The pair of red squirrels which frequented the hide were fun but I couldn’t help but think that ‘this is something I could see at home in the UK’.

The accommodation is basic (cold/lukewarm showers, food adequate). This was more or less expected and would have been fine had our bear sightings been good. However, when the main attraction fails to turn up you look to what else the holiday has to offer and unfortunately that is very little. The “moose safari” (a bit of a misnomer), which cost an additional EURO 50, was very poor value for money. We were bundled into a people carrier which was not suitable for the activity – the back windows were darkened and didn’t open. I think this activity should be included in the price of the holiday. There were 8 of us in total so someone, somewhere, made EURO 400 which is a lot of money for what was essentially our guide driving a vehicle of people up the road for a little more than an hour, and pointing out some moose in the distance.

On the plus side, the sauna was enjoyable, the weather fantastic and Sabrina, our guide, tried hard and generally speaking you couldn’t fault her. I know that my review would have been very different had I experienced good bear sightings, so don’t let my misfortune put you off. Please do however manage your expectations beforehand, and be prepared to risk experiencing a holiday which represents pretty poor value for money in the event that you don’t see much widlife. I guess however that that risk is to be weighed against the potential opportunity for an experience of a lifetime.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 30 May 2016
Published on: 22 June 2016

Thank you for providing us with your feedback regarding the above Explore holiday, we’re sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the trip as much as you had hoped. As I’m sure you can appreciate, when dealing with true wildlife viewing, there is no guarantee that you will have a sighting every day, as there is always an element of luck involved. We do try to manage expectations by mentioning this in our trip notes, so we’re sorry you feel let down on this occasion. We are glad to hear that you experienced some sightings however.

(8 out of 10)


Royston Hertfordshire
We have travelled with Explore many times including 2 safaris so are well aware that where wildlife is concerned, nothing can be guaranteed. However, we think you should, for this trip, structure your customers' expectations by re-wording your notes. Where you say 'in the unlikely event of not seeing a bear.....' You SHOULD say ' if you do not see a bear on the first night.....' We spent 27 hours in the hides (2 nights) and saw one bear; 2 people on our trip spent the same length of time and did not see one at all.

You should also make clear that customers have to be in the hide by 18:00 and are not allowed to leave until 07:00.

You should make clear that slippers are a good idea as you are not allowed to wear outdoor shoes in either lodge building or the hides.

Despite the above, we had a lovely weekend away; the smoke sauna followed by a dip in the lake was very enjoyable. Food at the lodge was plentiful and our guide was very knowledgable.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 30 May 2016
Published on: 04 June 2016
(10 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

There were many highlights, but best of all it was an awesome wildlife adventure which brings the bears so close that you can actually hear them breathing!
Confirmed traveller: 05 December 2015
Published on: 04 April 2016
(9 out of 10)


Seeing the bears from the hide was the highlight.
I was also impressed with the other activities available-our guide worked tirelessly to ensure each person's needs were met and the nature walks, canoeing,nature dvds,moose safaris, camp fires and sauna options meant there wasn't a dull moment We even got a trip to the Carnivore Information Centre on the way back to the airport.
The Wild Brown Bear Lodge provided great veggie food.
As a tip-take plenty of mosquito repelent if visiting in summer-they were unrelenting.
Confirmed traveller: 27 July 2015
Published on: 05 October 2015