“Finland, Finland, Finland, it’s the country where I want to be” is a great song by Monty Python, and now that you have it stuck in your head you probably want to find out about the best hiking destinations in this Northern European country which is well-known for its 180.000 lakes, 75% forest cover and more than a million of Saunas!
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Finland has the Everyman’s Right, and with it come one UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, seven National Hiking Areas, ten Wilderness Areas, 40 National Parks, more than two dozen Nature Sites and hundreds of open Wilderness Huts and Lean-to Shelters, which are accessible for every hiker, bikepacker and packrafter visiting them. You can enjoy a life-time of outdoor adventures in this country, without seeing anything twice.
As Finland is a large country it might be difficult to pick an outdoor destination to visit - as you see above, there’s quite some options. That’s why I got together with four outdoor-loving friends and asked them for their one recommendation where they’d go hiking in Finland, and together we created this amazing bucket list of the best hiking destinations in Finland! Any of the destinations are worth visiting in any season, so don’t be troubled if you see snow (or the lack of it!). We hope you enjoy our recommendations, find one which suits exactly what you’re looking for, and wish you a great time if you plan to visit!
This list is in no particular order or ranking.
Fresh in my mind is the Hetta-Pallas Trail, which I skied in March this year. Besides amazingly cozy huts the scenery is MINDBLOWING. No wonder this is one of Finland’s first National Parks and one of the oldest hiking trail (it was known as Pallas-Ounastunturi National Park till 2005, when it was doubled in size as the Ylläs-Aakenus Nature Reserve was put together with the old National Park). What I loved the most on the Hetta-Pallas Trail were the fjells and the views. Going south from Hetta this amazing view of the fjells opens up, and once you have climbed the first summit you can see far into the distance and enjoy this breath-taking scenery. In the summer the trail takes you across the highest summits, and is definitely something I will return for!
St. Olavs Trail
The St. Olavs trail is a former pilgrimage path leading from Turku in Finland, to the Åland Islands, through Sweden and all the way to Trondheim in Norway. The Finnish part of the trail is leading you through the Finnish archipelago with stunning views of the countless islands. The trail is pretty easy and accessible, with accommodation options along the way if you don’t feel like camping. For those who love the water, this trail is a true gem - and my favourite in Finland.
Sipoonkorpi National Park
As we now are already pretty far south in Finland, it’s good to shed some light “on the other National Park near Helsinki”. Nuuksio is normally already pretty busy with hikers, and now that everyone and their dog head into the forest you better jump on a bus to Sipoonkorpi National Park. You can find some great trails and spots for a lunch here, Sipoo is small enough to explore it in a day if you hike fast, and big enough for a long weekend to see all parts of the National Park and not needing to hurry through it.
Repovesi National Park
Finnish climbers love Repovesi National Park, as it is home to some of the highest rock climbing routes - and definitely the most picturesque. Where else can you take a rowboat to the start of a climbing route? But also hikers, backpackers and packrafters love Repovesi National Park with its great hanging bridges, beautiful lakes and channels for paddling, not to mention the great viewing points from the top of the hills which dot the forested landscape. What is unique, too, is the possibility to use a fox-ferry, and if you want you to paddle with a packraft or canoe here, you’ll find great lakes & channels which connect them.
Helvetinjärvi & Seitseminen National Parks
I have been a lot to these two National Parks, as they were the closest to the city of Tampere where I lived for five years. They’re pretty, with great infrastructure, cultural sights and always good for a surprise - be it the warm water of the lakes which are inviting for a swim, or the tasty mushrooms which you can find in the forest. There’s surprisingly few people around during the week, but in the weekends the famous spots attract a lot of people - these can be avoided if you go to the less popular (but just as pretty) spots in the two National Parks!
The Ruka-Kuusamo area and Oulanka National Park are one of the most popular hiking destinations in Finland - and for a good reason. This area is known for old forests, deep river canyons & rapids and in the winter you´ll find the most picturesque snowy trees here. The location in North-East Finland makes this place an interesting combination of Arctic Nature and Siberian Taiga, you can see it in both Flora and Fauna. The most famous trail is the Bear’s Trail but there are many other options for hikers too. Scrambling up the Konttainen Hill and gazing the Midnight Sun is one of our traditions that we do every Summer. There are so many beautiful Outdoor destinations in Finland but for it’s versatility this area is definitely one of our top destinations!
Urho Kekkonen National Park
The Urho Kekkonen National Park is something of a national treasure in Finland. It has it all: Amazing off-the-beaten track backpacking through the fjells, great views, lovely lakes and rivers, cozy huts and a lot of Saunas in which to relax after a day of hiking. It is the choice for more advanced backpackers who know how to navigate and feel comfortable to hike away from the few trails, and who obviously also know how to practice Leave-No-Trace. If that’s you - start planning a hike in this beautiful National Park!
Almost like sitting in the shoulders of the Maiden of Finland (Suomineito), the Pöyrisjärvi wilderness area is a dream hiking destination for experienced hikers and people who love to fish. The area takes its name from Lake Pöyrisjärvi, surrounded by the photogenic sand dunes, large woodlands and hilly fells. Endless hiking possibilities will take you around the wilderness as long and as far as you have power to go. Pro tip: bass loves the combination of black, blue and gold. Try it, and you might have a chance to cook a delicious dinner for your crew! Remember to bring some butter and salt along!
Käsivarsi Wilderness Area
My favorite hiking destination in Finland is Käsivarsi Wilderness Area. While I occasionally enjoy cruising down a well-groomed trail, nothing beats walking off-trail in a remote wilderness. While there’s a good trail system to explore parts of the area, my favorite thing is to take the seaplane to one of the lakes in the furthest corners of the area, next to the Norwegian border, and then hike my way back to Kilpisjärvi.
Isko thru-hiked the PCT in 2017 and nowadays hikes with his dog mostly in Finland. You can follow him on Instagram and via his blog, and find out more about the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area at outdoors.fi.
Finally, keep an eye on the Guidelines Concerning COVID-19 while hiking in Finland.
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