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Autumn in Finland: Ruska and its colors galore

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

September is here, yet again. As we reluctantly bid farewell to the long bright days of summer, we look forward to autumn, the season when the magic occurs in nature and the leaves turn into elegant, flaming colors of red, purple, orange, yellow, and brown. This seasonal quick transition from summer to autumn is a perfect example that changes can be amazing.

In the Finnish language, this stunning phenomenon that paints northern landscapes in deep and soft tones is called ‘ruska’.

What is ruska?

Ruska comes from the Sami word “ruškat”, and close to the Finnish word ruskea which means brown. This refers to the time of the year when the spectacular natural phenomena of the autumn foliage happen, or when leaves change colors and the trees get ready for winter.

There are two different types of ruska; puuruska and maaruska. In Finnish language, puu means tree, therefore puuruska refers to the leaves of the trees changing to different colors. Maa means land, ground, or soil; so maaruska, when translated to English, means bushes and plants of the ground changing their colors. The maaruska is especially beautiful to see in blueberry bushes at the forest. The colors are very bright and intense, creating the perfect spot for that perfect shot, or most of the time, simply an immeasurable and breathtaking view that a photo can't even justify.

When to see ruska?

If you like to experience ruska, September is usually the best time. It's not always easy to predict its exact peak time, however, it usually lasts about two weeks in the middle until the end of September.

Where to experience ruska?

One main character of the yearly natural cycle in Finland is the wonderful contrast between the four seasons. Therefore, one can enjoy the beauty of colorful autumn all over Finland. However, ruska gets more vivid and intense as we go further north, especially in the amazing and wild nature of Lapland.

The trip to Lapland to see ruska is usually a standard destination of holidays for most Finns. The season is full of interesting and joyful activities which allow observing the ruska experience, such as bicycling, canoeing, and hiking as the preferred one. Hiking in Lapland is good because there are many paths available for people to see ruska. Hiking in the Lappish-Autumn also offers serenity, solitude, clean air, and nice cool temperature.

There are also national parks in Lapland that give visitors the possibility to see ruska at its best while being in deep pure nature; such as Oulanka at Ruka-Kuusamo. For more information on festivals and events of September, see autumn colors at Ruka-Kuusamo.

So go ahead and explore the splendor of ruska. Get ready for ‘ruskamatkailu’, which means Autumn-Colors-Travelling. If you want to join many Finns and tourists who go to Lapland specifically to enjoy the beauty of ruska in the unique nature of Lapland, you might also find this Trip to Lapland useful.



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