If you want to go on a beautiful, adventure-filled vacation, consider traveling to Finland. Finland is home to 41 beautiful national parks with plenty of wildlife viewing, hiking, camping, skiing, diving, and more. This article will provide an alphabetical list with brief descriptions of 16 fun national parks in Finland and what you can do there when you visit them.
- There are 41 national parks in Finland.
- The parks include a range of habitat types such as old-growth forests, frozen seas, swamplands, and coastal forests.
- Hiking, backpacking, skiing, and wildlife viewing are popular activities in many of the parks.
1. Archipelago National Park
Archipelago National Park is a protected area in the region of Southwest Finland. It encompasses 190 mi2 of land including 2,000 small islands. The park was established in 1983 and is home to extensive wildlife such as red foxes, raccoon dogs, mink, and moose. Visitors can access the park by boat and spend their trip camping, foraging for mushrooms, and picking berries. There is also an underwater scuba diving trail and areas for snorkeling.
2. Bothnian Bay National Park
The next national park in Finland we will explore is Bothnian Bay National Park. This park was established in 1991 and consists of 61 mi2 in the Lapland region. Of its total area, however, only 0.97 mi2 is on land. Bothnian Bay National Park is accessible by boat and is home to numerous traditional fishing sites. Authorities recommend that you only visit this park if you have significant boating experience in glacial waters.
3. Bothnian Sea National Park
Bothnian Sea National Park is a national park in the Southwest Finland and Satakunta regions. This park became a protected area in 2011. The total area is 353 mi2, however, 98% of the surface of this park is water. There are many opportunities for divers to experience the pristine marine life in the park. There are also observation platforms suitable for visitors with mobility difficulties. The park, however, is only accessible by sea.
4. Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park
The Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park is in the Kymenlaakso region. It consists of several small islands totaling 2.6 mi2 in land area and is, therefore, one of the five smallest national parks in Finland. The park earned official recognition in 1982 and is primarily coastal pine forests. The park is unique due to its aquatic bird life which includes goosander, tufted duck, razorbill, and black guillemot.
5. Ekenäs Archipelago National Park
Ekenäs Archipelago National Park is a Finnish national park in the southern Uusimaa region. It comprises 20 mi2 in the Ekenäs Archipelago where there are important bird nesting sites. Since 1989, the area has been an official national park that visitors can access by boat or public water taxi.
6. Helvetinjärvi National Park
The next Finnish park to investigate is Helvetinjärvi National Park in the Pirkanmaa region. This 19.2 mi2 park was founded in 1982 and includes the wild forests of the Tavasti historical province. The most impressive geological feature of the park is the Helvetinkolu cleft at the southeast end of Lake Helvetinjärvi.
7. Hiidenportti National Park
Hiidenportti National Park is 17 mi2 of land in the Kainuu region. This park was established in 1982 and is 66% coniferous forest. It is home to large carnivores including brown bears, wolverines, lynxes, and occasionally, gray wolves. Rare animal species that call this park home are Arctic loons, great grey owls, and ospreys.
8. Hossa National Park
The next beautiful national park worth visiting in Finland is Hossa National Park in the Kainuu region. Hossa National Park, formerly Hossa Hiking Area, became the 40th official national park in Finland in 2017. The trailhead for the famous 101.2-mile Itärajan Retkeilyreitti hiking trail is a popular attraction in the park. Another point of interest in the park is the Värikallio cliff art. This archeological feature is one of the largest prehistoric rock paintings in Finland. In total, Hossa National Park is 4.25 mi2.
9. Koli National Park
Koli National Park was founded in 1991 and comprises 12 mi2 in the North Karelia region of Finland. The most popular attraction in this national park is Ukko-Koli, a vantage point that overlooks Pielinen Lake. The park is also home to many caves, including a 112-foot-long and 3.3- to 23-foot-high cave called Pirunkirkko. If you like skiing, Koli National Park is a great place to visit. There are two ski resorts that collectively have 7 ski lifts and 12 ski slopes.
10. Lemmenjoki National Park
The largest national park in Finland is Lemmenjoki National Park with an area of 1,100 mi2. This park was established in Lapland, Finland in 1956 and was named after the Lemmenjoki River, which stretches for 50 miles through the park. In Lemmenjoki National Park, people enjoy digging for gold, backpacking, and boating. The park features two small airfields and ten wilderness huts that are accessible to the public.
11. Nuuksio National Park
The next park to visit in Finland is Nuuksio National Park. It was established in 1994. This park is 20 mi2 in the Uusimaa region of southern Finland near Helsinki. In the park, there are 8 hiking trails of varying lengths, 12 miles of biking trails, and 8.5 miles of horseback riding trails. There are also campsites and grilling locations open to the public. Nuuksio is unique because of its high density of Siberian flying squirrels. It is also home to European nightjars and woodlarks.
12. Oulanka National Park
Oulanka National Park is in the Northern Ostrobothnia and Lapland regions of Finland and covers 104 mi2. The park was first established in 1956 and then expanded in 1982 and 1989. Today, it is one of the most popular national parks in Finland. Cabins in the park and boats along the interior rivers are available to the public. There are also hiking opportunities including the very well-known 50-mile Karhunkierros trekking route. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling routes also exist within the park. Wildlife in the park includes reindeer, bears, lynxes, and wolverines.
13. Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is the third largest national park in Finland encompassing an area of 394 mi2 in the Lapland region. It received more visitors than any other Finnish national park in 2021 with approximately 699,200 people! In the park, there are numerous hiking opportunities, campsites including Lapp huts and lean-to shelters, and scenic viewpoints. There are also ski routes and winter trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Several different habitat types exist in the park such as old-growth forests, mires, and heath forests.
14. Pyhä-Luosto National Park
Another very popular national park in Finland is Pyhä-Luosto National Park. This park was established in 2005 when the oldest park in Finland, Pyhätunturi National Park (est. 1938), combined with Luosto. The total area of the park is 55 mi2 consisting of old forests, wetlands, and robust geological features. The highest feature is the 1,772-foot Noitatunturi fell.
15. Repovesi National Park
The 15th national park in Finland worth a visit is Repovesi National Park. This park in the Kymenlaakso and Southern Savonia regions stretches across a 5.8 mi2 area and earned its status in 2003. Repovesi has abundant wildlife including a large bear population. There are also red-throated divers, Eurasian lynxes, moose, and owls. There are popular climbing sites, like the Olhavanvuori Hill, rafting channels, and observation towers. Also, be sure to visit the Kuutinlahti Bay water taxi.
16. Urho Kekkonen National Park
The final national park in Finland we will examine is also one of the most popular – Urho Kekkonen National Park. This park is one of the largest protected areas in Finland consisting of 985 mi2. It was established in 1983 and is named after Urho Kekkonen, the late President and Prime Minister of Finland. Hikers and backpackers can enjoy treks along the Suomujoki River, Saarikelkä fell line, or numerous other beautiful natural features. They may also see reindeer herding which is common among locals in the area.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tsuguliev/Shutterstock.com
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