Eurasian brown bear cub in the taiga forest, Finland
© Jules Cox/Minden Picture
Bear-watching in the Finnish forest
If you go down to the woods today, you might get a big surprise - if you’re in Finland that is. About 2,000 brown bears can be found freely roaming the taiga - or coniferous forest - which covers most of the country, the perfect place to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. The brown bear is the largest predator in Europe and features prominently in Finnish mythology.
And bear-watching is a popular pastime in this rugged wilderness. The season begins in April - when the first bears emerge from hibernation in a white blanket of snow - and lasts until autumn. Summer nights are the best time to spot the bears, even under the golden glow of the midnight sun for those who venture north of the Arctic Circle. Many observe the creatures from the safety of a hide, a purpose-built wooden cabin offering visitors a close-up view of a real teddy bear's picnic.