On arriving in Ruka we were impressed with how much there is around the Ruka Village area. As well as the local ski schools and hire shops the resort has a shopping area with a variety of shops and a well-stocked supermarket. Ruka also has a number of modern bars and a great choice of restaurants and take aways so you will never be stuck whatever your budget. One of the great things about Ruka is that the accommodation, slopes and nightlife are so close to one another so you can literally get to everything within minutes of leaving your hotel. Despite so much on your door step the place does not feel overdeveloped or too crowded. Also in town you can buy food in the well stocked RukaStore and K-Market Rukankylä.
Away from the slopes Ruka has a wealth of activities to try out. Whilst we were here we tried the snow shoeing, ice karting, husky safaris and sauna and spa experiences. These are all well worth a go if you head to the area and been in somewhere like lapland these are really once in a lifetime type experiences. If you are not staying in Ruka or making a day tip then Kuusamo is the nearest big town has a lot going and slightly lower prices, to help the budget-conscious rider.
The options for eating out are fairly good in Ruka, just next to slopes you have the Piste restaurant this impressive restaurant and bar overlooks the slopes and does some amazing food. The brisket burger is massive and very tasty and comes in at under 15 euros with a portion of chips or deep fried cauliflower thrown in, believe us it works.
For some fine dining head to the Riipinen Wild Game Restaurant at the foot of Kelo lift. The restaurant is heaven for game lovers and serves a variety of locally sourced food. The deep fried vendace which is a small fish and sautéed reindeer are some of the delicacies on offer and are well worth trying if you are in the area and feeling adventurous.
The Rukan Kuksa Ravintola restaurant also offers fine dining and Wild Food with an Artic twist. This is well worth a visit if you want a nice meal out in the heart of the resort.
For something a little special you could go to the Pyhäpiilo Sauna for a relaxing evening and combine this with a meal after the sauna in the Wild Food restaurant, here you can get freshly cooked food on an open fire. Nothing beats the Finnish Sauna experience and combined with the Wild food dining experience it’s even better.
The resort also caters to those on a budget with well stocked RukaStore and K-Market Rukankylä where you can find reasonably priced goods. There are also a number of fast food joints including a pizza shop, burgers and kebabs and even a subway. For those missing more mainstreams options.
The nightlife in Ruka has a very laidback feel too, people head out here for relaxing drinks rather than to get wasted. Although it is not the wildest resort it still has a bigt of apres ski going on across a number of really nice bars. We can particularly recommend the Hanki Baari bar this is a really cool bar that we found on the recommendation of the local Ski and Snowboard instructors. Decked out with Burton bar tables and lampshades made of old skis and snowboard this is a really cool hangout and if it is good enough for the local instructors who are we to argue.
Elsewhere the Piste Bar and restaurant provide some cosy couches where you can sit back grab a beer and watch the slopes. The Ski Inn in hotel in Ruka village has the Colorado Mts, Bar and Grill attached to it, this is an ideal place if you want to watch plenty of sports as it is kitted out with large screen tv’s and pool tables. It’s a really good place to hang out especially if you are booked into the Ski Inn hotel as it is only a short stumble to your room.
The choice of accommodation in Ruka is extremely good. Options range from hotels to shared chalets. The Ski Inn hotel in Ruka Village is very modern and offers luxury apartments with all the mod cons including a kitchenette and a private sauna in the bathroom, which is surprisingly common in Finland.
Ruka Village also offer a variety of apartments, chalets and cottages to meet a variety of needs. However if you fancy staying a little out of the ski resort at somewhere a bit special the Rukan Salonki Chalets rent out a variety of luxury cabins. The Rukan Salonki Chalets also include spa and sauna access. this is great if you want to combine snowboarding and some relaxing spa days.
If you find staying in Ruka or at the slopes is not for you, then the Distance between Ruka and Kuusamo centre is 24 km, which is 30 minutes drive away. Kuusamo offers a greater selection of places to stay with a wider price range. You will, however, have to commute to the slopes.
Crystal Ski Holidays (www.crystalski.co.uk; 020 8939 0726) offers a week's stay at the four-star Ruka Suites from £395 per person (based on four sharing) including flights from Gatwick and transfers departing on 10 January 2016. A week’s half board at the four-star Rantasipi Rukahovi Hotel costs from £589 per person (based on two sharing) including flights from Gatwick and transfers. Book early and get 2for1equipment hire.