South of Kuusamo, the EuroVelo 13 trail follows the eastern forest scenery. The cyclists will find themselves in the middle of the wilderness, where services and people are sparse. Along Poussuntie road, close to Lahtela’s hut, there are signs leading to Vanttajajärvi, where you will find among other things large destroyed bunkers as well as shooting foxholes.
The terrain is hilly and goes through large wilderness areas. While cycling through the wilderness of the EuroVelo 13 route, one can understand how important the forest is to Finnish people. Many people still earn their livings off of forestry and it is easy to forget ones worries there.
Hossa area is an old culture area and has amazing ridges and water landscapes, where the beauty of the nature takes you away. Hossa’s Värikallio gorge painting is most likely painted during the Stone Age and is composed of over sixty different images. You can access different forms of reindeer at Hossa Reindeer Park, for there you will be able to meet and take a ride with the reindeer, as well as eat reindeer on a plate.
Along the EuroVelo 13 trail, you will come across Juntusranta, Ruhtinansalmi’s center, which is right along the eastern border. South of Juntusranta, you will find the Paukuttajavaara war history memorial, which is erected in the memory of the air strike victims of the Winter War.
You can relax at Suomussalmi at a spa and also take a wilderness tour and spot some bears and other wildlife. Suomussalmi’s specialty is their musical instrument system, Soiva Metsä, which is built into the ridge of Kaunisniemi. The largest instruments are over six meters tall and serve also as art instalments. At Lentiira, you can see wild animals, such as bears and wolverines by boat, kayaking or hiking.
War history is a large part of Suomussalmi and one of the most important battles of the Winter War was fought on the Raatteentie road. You can familiarize yourself with war history at Suomussalmi’s museum or visit numerous war memorials along the trail. East of Raatteen Portti resides Purasjokilinja, a restored defense line. At the Winter War Museum you are able to see original war time products as well as a tank that was used during the war. The Raate Frontier Guard Museum is the only preserved guard station, which was built before the war and tells the story of the lives of the National Guard before WWII.
Kuhmo is one of Finland’s as well as EuroVelo 13’s most rough country towns, where you can see Kalevala culture the most. There you will find the culture center Juminkeko, which tells about Kalevala and Karelian culture. There is also one of the largest collections of Kalevala in the world. In Kuhmo you can also go kayaking, and river rafting. At Kuhmo Winter War Museum, you can see exhibits on the war and refurbished war areas. At the cemetery you will find a war memorial for tank strike victims.
After Kuhmo, the EuroVelo 13 trail takes you downwards, but at some points it is still quite hilly. The scenery is worth seeing at Jonkerinsalo Nature Conservation area and the Hiidenportti gorge area. North of Lieksa, in the small town of Nurmijärvi, there are different activities available around the year.
Arriving closer to Lieksa, the cyclist will be able to see the sparkling waters surrounding the trail on a clear sunny day. Rukajärvi Centre, which is situated in Timitranlinna, tells about war history surrounding the border areas and at the Lieksa Museum you can see history of Pielinen-Karelia. At Lieksa’s church you are able to spot multiple war memorials. If time allows, definitely check out the art studio of Eva Ryynänen and Paateri church, which resides 30km from Lieksa’s center. Also, Koli National Park is worth seeing