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Finnish nature experience – Where to get the most out of it?

Juha Niemi Barona
Decorative image of the Finnish nature. Picture taken at Lake Saimaa.

Welcome to Finland – a land of breathtaking landscapes and awe-inspiring wilderness. More than 90% of Finland is either forest or water, and the nature of Finland lets you enjoy fresh air, clean waters, and the right to explore nature independently.  Finnish nature is something that is truly something to experience yourself.

Nestled in the northern reaches of Europe, this Nordic wonderland offers an unparalleled nature experience that will leave you in awe. Picture yourself on the edge of a vast forest, inhaling the refreshing scent of pine trees while the melodies of birds create a symphony of tranquility. Explore deeper into the woods to discover hidden trails leading to untouched corners of nature where time stands still.

This article will delve deeper into recommending Finland’s natural parks and hiking areas to get to know Finnish nature. Join us as we embark on a journey through the country’s national parks, where you will discover hidden gems, epic hiking trails, and encounters with nature that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

Lapland – enjoy the Finnish nature or get into the Christmas spirit

It’s no secret that Lapland takes massive credit for the beautiful Finnish nature. Although unique places can be found all around the country. Working in Lapland is worth it since you enjoy the unique nature experience in your free time. 

The famous Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is a place you must visit while traveling in Lapland. Still, true Christmas enthusiasts can apply for a seasonal job and enjoy the non-stop Christmas spirit while earning money.

Read how seasonal work can bring you lasting friendships and memories >>

A picture of a hiking trail in Lapland, Finland.

National Parks in Lapland

Finland’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage is exemplified through its national parks – and if you seek an authentic Lapland experience, they are the perfect places for starting your journey in Finland. 

Lapland has multiple national parks to choose from:

Urho Kekkonen National Park

This National Park got its name from a Finnish president, and it’s the perfect place for hiking enthusiasts and mountain bikers.

Take advantage of the opportunity to spot wildlife, such as reindeer and golden eagles, while enjoying the fresh air. During winter, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Oulanka National Park

Located in northern Finland, Oulanka is known for its dramatic landscapes carved by the Oulankajoki River.

You can choose between shorter hikes and spending multiple days in nature by taking the iconic Karhunkierros trail, an 80-kilometer hiking route showcasing stunning river views and waterfalls. There are numerous stops with opportunities to stay overnight in a tent, hammock, or wicket with other hikers.

Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park:

Located in Finnish Lapland, this park showcases the stunning fell landscape of the Pallas and Ylläs regions. Hike the popular Hetta-Pallas Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the fells and the opportunity to stay overnight in wilderness huts.

Or experience the magical atmosphere of the Arctic wilderness during the snowy winter months. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities in this park.

Riisitunturi National Park:

This park has many rolling hills, marshes, and stunning autumn foliage.

Follow the trails that wind through the park’s unique forested mire landscape, and visit in autumn for vibrant colors.

Don’t miss the chance to witness the mesmerizing midnight sun during summer, either!

Landscape image of Lapland. Fronzen treese covered with snow


No matter where you choose to enjoy nature in Lapland, you will definitely experience the unique flora and fauna. You get to share your hike with the freely roaming reindeer and spot abundant bird species, a majestic elk, an elusive lynx, and many birds. 

Remember to keep your eyes open for the colorful and magnificent northern lights since they regularly appear everywhere in the north of Lapland, whether you’re in the city streets, standing in the middle of a forest, or even amid bustling ski resorts. 

And don’t forget to plan a visit to some of the reindeer or husky farms and get to know the Sámi history and culture

Day-tripping to National Parks

Everyone knows how Lapland has limitless opportunities to enjoy nature. Still, only a few foreigners know the fantastic locations in and around the most significant cities. No matter where in Finland you stay, there’s always a nature experience accessible and worth seeing.

Something worth knowing is that Finland’s Everyone’s Rights allows anyone to move and camp almost anywhere in the Finnish nature. However, National Parks might have some rules and limits, so research before making a fire or setting up your tent. 

Helsinki – the city of islands

Another fact that only some know is that there are around 300 islands in Finland’s capital city, Helsinki. While they are not open for visitors, there are still more than enough public islands to pick your favorite. 

A bridge connects some of the islands, while others are served by a ferry. Some islands are tiny islets that can only be reached by boat or kayak. Most islands – especially the bigger ones – have small supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, public saunas, outdoor activities, and other services.  

Organize an island hopping or visit the island separately – whatever fits your schedule the best. A few of the most popular islands are Suomenlinna, Vallisaari, Mustikkamaa, and Pihlajasaari. Still, you can find plenty of choices for your day trip. 

You can also find some great outdoor experiences inland and around Helsinki. For example, the National Park of Nuuksio is only an hour from the city center, offering beautiful views, hiking tracks, SUP-boarding, paddling, and guided tours.

Day trips from Tampere

Tampere has many natural areas within the town itself. However, it would be best to step outside the city to see the more extensive and older forests and national parks.

The leading national parks near Tampere are Seitseminen and Helvetinjärvi, both popular hiking destinations. 

Seitseminen National Park locates about 50 kilometers from Tampere, in the municipalities of Ylöjärvi and Ikaalinen, and it covers more than 45 square kilometers of forest and hiking trails. 

While hiking, you can visit the Seitseminen Nature Centre or travel back in time to Kovero Heritage Farm, where you can hang out with the farm animals and learn about the history of Seitseminen.

Helvetinjärvi National Park, which translates as “Hell’s Lake National Park,” is also about 50 km from Tampere, in Ruovesi. Helvetinjärvi is primarily known for its rugged landscapes, impressive gorges, and lakes surrounded by cliffs. 

Don’t let the rough name discourage you from visiting the park – it’s a family destination and will not disappoint you. 

A decorative image from the Turku archipelago.
A small cabin pictured in the Turku Archipelago

Turku – a mix of modern culture and history

Turku is the largest city in southwestern Finland, offering a beautiful view of the Aurajoki, which splits the city into two sides. The town is full of history, culture, and events for everyone. As well as Helsinki, Turku has a lot to offer for both tourists and locals.

You should spend your free time in Turku by island hopping or camping in Ruissalo, Vepsä, or Maisaari, checking out the 12 different nature reserves in the Turku City area, and experiencing the Kurjenrahka National Park and its multiple activities, such as berry picking, snowshoeing, geocaching or birdwatching. 

Natural experiences in Oulu

Oulu is located in Northern Finland, a short distance from Rovaniemi and Lapland, which opens up even more opportunities to enjoy nature on your weekend trips. 

However, you don’t have to travel far from the central city to reach the calming forests and relaxing beaches, such as the ones surrounding Oulujärvi. Beautiful sandy shores and unspoiled islands await boaters, rowers, and canoeists in their proud vessels or rented craft. The island of Manamansalo is one of the best places to start exploring. 

Additionally, there are dozens of hiking and biking trails and other activities to find the one you prefer. Remember to create unique memories by attending guided tours, trying hot air balloon flights taking an air guitar class, or enjoying public saunas.

Lake Saimaa is the perfect destination for a vacation

The boundary of Finland’s biggest lake, Saimaa, is not clear-cut, as it consists of several lake ridges, lake basins or parts of the lake connected by straits. Depending on the narrow channels separating them, Saimaa can be divided into nine or even 18 lakes or parts of lakes.

The Great Saimaa Ringed Seal, found only in Finland, makes its home in the pristine waters of Lake Saimaa, captivating those lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this rare creature. The surroundings of Saimaa are popular holiday destinations for Finns and something worth applying to a foreigner’s bucket list too. 

In Saimaa’s UNESCO Geopark, tourists can travel back even two billion years to admire the achievements of the most recent ice age, which ended around 10 000 years ago. There are various hiking trails, and the top 5 already give you a good view of the lake, its history, and its surroundings. You can let your feet rest for a while and continue exploring Saimaa on a cruise ship in Lappeenranta or Imatra region. 

Relocating lets you enjoy the nature of Finland all the time

If Finnish nature, with its pure and clean waters, healthy air, and limitless activities, sounds like something you would love to experience, it might be a great time to consider relocating to Finland.

Working in Finland has something in common with the country’s nature: there are no strict rules, hierarchies, or inequality, and the atmosphere is usually very relaxed and flexible – although Finns are as punctual and highly motivated employees as they are caring about their country’s nature.  

Barona is the best guide to start your relocating with! Read more about working in Finland, relocating, and our sincere support, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. 

A picture of people discussing in Finnish.


Living in Finland