Rugged and pristine–two characteristics that all national parks in Finland have in common. Finland has a long history of protecting its landscape and now has 40 dedicated national parks. Its purpose has been clear since the first park was established in 1938. The country is considered a national heritage that current and future generations alike shall be able to access. As such these parks are a great getaway to relax and reenergize both physically and spiritually.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and you’re likely to start your Finnish journey from here. Luckily this is also one of the best locations to plan trips to Finland’s national parks from as there are at least six parks that are easily reachable on a day trip, or longer of course. While it is no surprise that literally all parks include at least some lakes considering there are approximately 180,000 lakes in Finland, you will still find a diversity of landscapes choosing from these. Whether you prefer the inland style with lots of deep and green forests that are so typical to Finland or rather see one of the parks in and around different archipelagos, all national parks will show you a glimpse of why the natural landscape plays such an important role for people in Finland.
Most Finns have a close connection to their country and will regularly go out and enjoy nature as a resource for the mind. This can be at their privately owned vacation homes outside of the protected areas or inside one of these national parks. All parks have marked hiking routes and nature trails that visitors can enjoy on their visit. But no matter what you are looking for, you will find lots of opportunities for recreational purposes such as hiking, canoeing, swimming, camping, or simply relaxing in these natural and tranquil environments. Of course, Finns provide you with saunas in their national parks as well if you’re interested in that, which is no surprise either with an estimated 2 million saunas across the country for only 5.5 million Finns.
Nuuksio National Park
As one of the closest national parks to Helsinki that you can reach within only 45 minutes, Nuuksio National Park offers you a great opportunity to experience Finland’s nature even on a short trip to Helsinki. It boasts with beautiful lakes and green forests the way you would imagine the Finnish forest. Come in summer or autumn and you will even be able to pick wild mushroom and berries along the way. You can also visit Haltia – The Finnish Nature Centre, which is a popular nature exhibition and event center located near Nuuksio National Park.
Image by Victor Engström via Visit Finland
Sipoonkorpi National Park is also called the woodlands of Sipoonkorpi and can also easily be reached from Helsinki within 45 minutes. Typical deep Finnish forests await you as well as rolling fields and idyllic villages. This peaceful setting makes it an ideal nature escape for tourists as well as for almost a hundred endangered or near threatened species.
Image by Raimo Voutilainen/Vastavalo via Visit Finland
Ekenäs Archipelago National Park
Ekenäs Archipelago is a unique park in many ways. Situated near the open sea to the west of Helsinki, it is made up of countless rock islets. Take a boat excursion to explore these islands and, if you’re lucky, you will be able to spot wildlife such as the white-tailed eagle. It can only be reached by boat and water taxis.
Image by Elina Sirparanta via Visit Finland
Liesjärvi National Park
Liesjärvi National Park is a great outdoor recreation area for everyone that both likes to enjoy typical Finnish nature and to experience the traditional life of rural Finland. Korteniemi Heritage Farm lets you discover Finnish agriculture by giving you chores such as counting sheep or making hay bales. Enough of Finnish history and culture, then just escape into nature and enjoy the rest of your stay.
Image by Aku Pöllänen via Visit Finland
Gulf of Finland National Park
The Gulf of Finland National Park is comprised of islands in the very south-east of Finland. While most of the islands are treeless rocks, it is an ideal area to spot wildlife at is finest. Known for its aquatic bird fauna, you can observe arctic geese on the way north during spring or the goosander or tufted duck, among many other birds and animals. The old fishing villages are also a great place to see and to listen to tales of trading and smuggling during wartimes.
Image by Vastavalo / Mari Hirsikallio via Visit Finland
Archipelago National Park
Furthest away on this list but still reachable in less than three hours, the Archipelago National Park offers a very unique experience. Off Southwestern Finland, it has more islands than any other archipelago in the world. You can come here for long hiking tours or enjoy one of the many opportunities that this seaside national park has to offer: canoeing, sailing, boating, swimming or many other things. With many vibrant villages, you can even experience the traditional life in this archipelago.
Image by Harri Tarvainen via Visit Finland
Following a few links where you can find further information about these and other Finnish national parks:
Go on a Day Trip from Helsinki:
Finnish Sauna in the Nature
Bathe in Finnish sauna, take a dip into the pure lake and grill BBQ.
Price: 99€ per person
Hiking & Canoeing in National Park
Hike in the wilderness, paddle on the lake and eat local BBQ.
Price: 139€ per person
Sailing in Turku Archipelago
Sail between the islets and bathe in the Finnish sauna.
Price: 229€ per person
Visit Bengtskär Lighthouse
Greet the biggest, outmost lighthouse in the Nordics.
Price: 299€ per person