Eurasian brown bear cub in the taiga forest, Finland
© Jules Cox/Minden Picture
Bear watching in the Finnish forest
If you go out to the woods today in parts of Finland, you might get a big surprise. That's because about 2,000 brown bears can be found freely roaming the taiga—or boreal forest—which covers most of the country, making this rugged wilderness in northern Europe the perfect place to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. And bear watching is a popular pastime in Finland. The bear-watching season begins in April—when the first bears emerge from hibernation in a white blanket of snow—and lasts until fall. 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.