From its Southern Archipelago to the Northern Fells, Finland nature is more than enough for nature enthusiasts to get out and about, no matter the season. Scenery can be enjoyed all year round, whether by land or by water. Nature lovers are spoilt for choice in the Finnish countryside which offers an abundance of natural attraction and a good variety of experiences.
The Nordic welfare state of Finland is officially the happiest country in the world. And for good reason. Approximately three quarters of the country’s land surface is covered with forests and Lapland is last untamed wilderness in existence. Finland boasts the biggest archipelago on Earth and the largest lake district in Europe. Talking of lake districts, Finland has more than 188,000 lakes. The country also homes the Archipelago Sea which is Europe’s largest archipelago. This incorporates also the Åland archipelago between Finland and Sweden. Finland has a total of 179 584 islands off of its coast.
During the long, dark, cold Finnish winters, snow skiing, skating, and experiencing the wonders of the Northern Lights are some of the best ways to enjoy nature. Because the winters can be long and cold, Finns get to enjoy the summer months all the more. Nature enthusiasts get to try out the Finnish sauna, which brings one into nature in a different way.
When hiking in Finland, Finnish nature is all the more accessible – freely so, in fact – since the national parks offer free public access. Hikers are free, in more ways than one, to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors almost wherever hiking trails are to be found throughout Finland. Of the many animals that call Finland home, visitors are often lucky enough to spot wolves, bears, reindeer, and moose in their natural habitat.
But National Parks are not the only attraction for nature enthusiasts in Finland. National hiking areas and protected areas managed by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland offer the outdoor and nature enthusiasts so many memorable experiences, and scenery and hiking facilities among the best in the world.
Saimaa is the biggest lake in Finland and the fourth biggest on the continent. Lake Saimaa is to be found in the Finnish Lake District and this is the location of preference for the Finns to escape to over the summertime. City dwellers revel in the natural surroundings, living the peaceful life in secluded lakeside cottages if just for the holidays.
Visitors are invited to experience the shorelines of Saimaa at various locations. Linnansaari National Park and the serene town of Puumala, among them, or share the surroundings around the area of the Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna. Things to do over summer aside from enjoying the peace and outdoors lifestyle of the lakeside include berry picking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming.
Summertime is not the only time to enjoy the area beside and around Lake Saimaa. During the winter, the lakes are deep frozen and covered with snow, providing the perfect conditions for outdoor winter activities and a good many exciting adventure options. A veritable winter wonderland waiting to be enjoyed.
In the winter while hiking in Finland, Finnish nature it is more than apparent that nature is not sleeping through the cold months around the lake. Birds and rabbits can be seen by the very lucky. For the not so fortunate who may not be at the right place at the right time, it is also interesting to investigate the tracks left in the snow. The many little woodland locals are usually keeping their presence a secret by hiding in the snowbanks when people happen by.
During the cold season when the lake is iced over and the region lies under a blanket of snow, try out any of the following interesting winter activities around Lake Saimaa:
Arctic Ice floating is not for the meek and mild. This once on a lifetime experience is more suited for the courageous among us. Slip into a special waterproof safety suit before going into the frozen water upstream to float serenely downstream. Spots to ice float are Varkaus and Savonlinna.
Electric Snow Scooter safaris allow nature enthusiasts to partake in the outdoors in the frozen natural setting both comfortably and sustainably. The hour-and-a-half-guided safari allows scooterists to silently move through the forests and along the shores of Lake Saimaa. The experience is simply one of peace and tranquility, allowing participants to enjoy the scenery that is Finland nature.
Sightseeing tours by adventure bus allow visitors to explore the lake area, driven by a local.
Slip on snowshoes and walk into a winter forest, into a magical world of woodland creatures and small bords, unseen but for their tracks.
Winter fishing on the frozen Lake Saimaa is a way to immerse oneself in the tranquility of the unique winter wonderland of this region.
With its 4 miles or 6.5 kilometer stretch of beach along the western Baltic shore, Yyteri boasts the longest beach in the country. Beautiful sand dunes make it a great summer leisure destination. When visitors want a break from the beach, there is also a golf course and spa and the opportunity to enjoy the annual jazz festival in nearby Pori.
Nuuksio National Park
The great aspect about enjoying Finland nature at Nuuksio, is that it is easily accessible using public transportation. you can and experience a little bit of wilderness inside the city limits. Nuuksio National Park lies inside the Helsinki metropolitan area and offers nature trails and camping sites and the option to swim, camp, ski, hike, and fish. The nature enthusiasts of the more physical type can partake in wilderness hikes and marathons all year round. The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia specializes in wildlife and outdoor activities.
Koli National Park
Koli National Park overlooks Lake Pielinen which is in Northern Karelia on the border of Russia in the east of Finland. Climb to the top of the highest hill in the park, Ukko-Koli to get the best views of the natural scenery. For those not up to the climb, lifts operate to the top all year round. Koli turns in the winter becomes a ski resort for advanced downhill skiing. Its ski slopes are 2,600 to 4,920-foot or 800 to 1,500 meters long.
Halti is home to Finland’s highest peak and offers visitors a view of the most beautiful rocky scenery to be found in Lapland, on the Norwegian border. The 4341-foot or 1323-meter-high mountain is regarded by native residents as a holy place. When hiking in Finland, Finnish nature can really only be enjoyed here during the warmer months. Extreme winter conditions mean hiking is not suggested hereabouts. There are no hotels along the way to Halti, being that it is far out in the wilderness but camping in a tent is viable during the warmer seasons.
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
This national park is in Lapland and is the third largest in Finland. Explore the 60-mile or 97 km long chain of mountains in the park throughout the year or experience Finland nature by hiking or skiing through the park. Arctic animals can be seen here in their natural habitat as can the amazing vision of nature, the Northern Lights. Not to be missed are also the traditional Lapland village of Hetta, Pallastunturi fells, and Ylläs ski resort.
Oulanka National Park
The Oulanka National Park is located within the rugged landscape of the Karhunkierros Trail. The power of water can be observed here at its very best from the many trails and hanging bridges. As well as boasting the country’s most impressive waterfalls, visitors get to see the wild brown trout and European dippers. Beauties of local nature include the aapa mires and the calypso and extend across the border into Russia where the Paanajärvi National Park extends.
The living world heritage site that is Kvarken Archipelago affords locals a life of harmony with nature that is quite unique in today’s world. Its status as Finland’s first UNESCO World Natural Heritage is thanks to a great degree to the Moraine formations that date back to the Ice Age and emerge from the sea here to form such unique landscapes. The viewing tower at Svedjehamn really brings a view that cannot be described but must be experienced. Visitors are invited to view the landscape from a different viewpoint while on an organized boat trip.
Frozen Waterfalls, Korouoma Canyon
Korouoma Canyon extends for a good few miles and is hundreds of feet wide and boasts views over some absolutely remarkable waterfalls that are natural wonders. Being a fracture valley, Karouoma has both tall cliffs and small streams of cold water that meander on to become picturesque waterfalls. The streams and waterfalls of the summer months, in winter become frozen waterfalls that vary in intensity and size. For ice climbing enthusiasts, Mammoth Fall is a must see with its distinctive blue color, high peaks, and unique beauty.
Linnansaari National Park
In the heart of the Lake District of Finland is the wonder of Linnansaari that is welcoming no matter the time of year. In the waters of the park are lush green islands and rocky islets, homes to rare lake seals and resident ospreys. Take a boat during summer to the main island or enjoy a lake cruise from the historic town of Savonlinna.
Finland really is a marvelous country for nature enthusiasts. The countryside and views metamorphosizes into a different creation entirely, depending on the season. While planning your adventure or leisure visit, take the time to become acquainted with ETIAS and the ETIAS requirements. These helpful guidelines prove to be most useful when navigating the ETIAS application.
Eighty percent of the country’s lakes are rated very highly for water quality and the air quality was found by the World Health Organization to be the best in the world. As a nature enthusiast, feel free to enjoy all that Finland has to offer in good conscience and abundantly.