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Nature in Finland

It’s time to explore the great outdoors.

Credits:: Juho Kuva

In Finland, you’re never more than a short walk from nature

Whether you want to escape to lush forests, adventure in Arctic wilderness or relax on open coasts, Finland has plenty of space for everyone to explore. Plus, the flora and fauna are like nowhere else on Earth – especially when viewed under the spectacular Northern Lights.
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National Parks

Finland has more than 40 national parks, and they’re scattered throughout the country’s islands, lakes, forests, peat lands and fells. There’s even one just 45 minutes from Helsinki’s city centre and airport. Each park showcases the local area’s environment, and many have landscapes that include rapids, rift valleys and eskers. These parks also offer a fantastic chance for visitors to try activities like hiking, climbing, canoeing and snowshoeing.  

In fact, one major goal of establishing Finland’s national parks was to give people the opportunity to relax and enjoy nature. The Finnish “Everyman’s rights” means people can venture just about anywhere as long as they respect nature and clean up after themselves.  

All Finnish national parks have marked hiking routes, nature trails, information boards and picnic sites, many of them with a campfire site. In most parks, there are tent sites, rentable cabins and unlocked huts that anyone can enjoy. Nature tourism entrepreneurs also provide additional services, such as guided tours and accommodations close to the parks. 

Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Find your forest

With more than 40 national parks and hundreds of other nature preserves to choose from, you’re sure to find an outdoor destination that suits your interests. Here are some ideas to help you get started – whether you’re looking for an easy half-day trip or a multi-day hike through the wilderness.

Islands

Finland is home to the world’s largest archipelago and has more than 80,000 islands off its coast. Many of these are easily accessed by car, bike or cruise boat. On Finnish islands, you’ll find peace and quiet, endless horizons and a variety of marine wildlife, from seals plunging in and out of the water to migratory birds flocking the skies in spring and autumn. Many of the more forested islands have nature trails. 

There are several islands that are just a ferry ride, bridge or ice road away from the mainland – and some just outside Helsinki. On one of the many Finnish lighthouse islands, you can complement your foray into nature with good food, a warm sauna and an overnight stay. Further afield, between Finland and Sweden, the Åland archipelago is great for island-hopping or biking – one of the best ways to explore this region is from the saddle of a bike. 

Credits: Emilia Hoisko

Lakes

Finland is the Land of a Thousand Lakes, with the largest lake district in Europe. This region is a blue and green labyrinth of forests, lakes and islands, all intertwined and forming ridges and passageways to secret lagoons and hideaways.  

Even though Lakeland has the most lakes in Finland, lakes can be found in every part of the country. These waters feature activities all year, including fishing, paddle boarding and ice-skating. They also offer some of the most impressive views of Finnish nature, such as the one from Koli Peak overlooking Lake Pielinen. 

Credits: Mikko Nikkinen

Wildlife

Finland’s vast green forests, beautiful Baltic islands, windswept arctic fells and countless blue lakes are home to some amazing wildlife. These landscapes provide habitats for creatures including bears, wolves, lynxes, eagles, cranes and swans, as well as the world’s rarest seal. 

Birdwatchers often flock to Finland to see species that are hard to spot anywhere else in Europe. Keen wildlife photographers also come here to take advantage of various excursions and facilities that enable them to get spectacular shots of animals in their natural habitats. 

If you’d like to view wildlife, Finland’s over 40 national parks, which are free and open to all throughout the year, are great places to find them. Heading to Lapland? Look out for reindeer! While these animals aren’t entirely wild, it’s always exciting to bump into a grazing herd.   

Credits: Daniel Eriksson

Northern Lights (Lapland)

The thrill of witnessing the Aurora Borealis is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list experience for many. 

Some even get hooked and can’t get enough of these blazing colours lighting up the night sky. For those people and newbies alike, Finnish Lapland is the place to be. 

In Lapland, the northern lights are visible roughly 200 nights a year. While many choose to go Aurora-spotting by snowshoe, ski, snowmobile or dog sled, you can also view the Northern Lights and other natural phenomena from the comfort of glass huts and cottages. Learn more here. 

 

Credits: Konsta Punkka