It is hard not to sound like my high school biology teacher but national parks truly are the gateway to pristine Finnish nature and culture heritage. The oldest national parks date back to 1938 and nowadays there are 39 parks, sprinkled all around Finland.
National parks offer easy access to unbelievably beautiful landscapes. Through them, a visitor is able to capture a glance of raw Finnishness. Nature parks help both us, urbanized Finns, and others, to understand, why Finnish nature has inspired and is inspiring so many.
I understand that all that general praise may sound like a textbook. So hear me out once more. At least for me, it comes down to this:
A weekend spent in the forest is the equivalent of an entire holiday week.
After trekking, I guarantee it is hard to feel anything but relaxed and in sync with yourself. Remembering your login password at work may be a struggle. I challenge you to test this yourselves!
How to get there
There are natural parks in all regions of Finland. The easiest preparation ever is when you have a Finnish contact. You simply ask for a bit of help. You can pretty much reach out to any acquaintance and they will reply because it is an honor to fulfill this plea. Don’t be surprised when he prepares the perfect route for your trekking level with food and gear suggestions and offers to come with you.
If you can’t find a local for the job, it is simple to do the arrangements by yourself. Click the Finnish National parks -site, choose a park and a trail, rent a car and drive to the parking lot of the park.
What to take with you
A light 10 km (6 miles) day hike you are able to do in trainers and jogging pants if there is no risk of rain. Just take a backpack with a water bottle and snacks.
For longer routes and, especially if you stay overnight, opt for comfortable and functional shoes, quality outwear and a map. Remember to take enough food with you. The forest makes you hungry and it is also so much fun cooking outside. Nothing tastes as good as food in the wilderness!
One natural park that I can recommend for newbies is Repovesi, located a 3-hour drive away North-West from Helsinki. This Lakeland beauty has a hanging bridge and a hand-operated cable ferry on top of versatile forest and lake views. Trekking is made effortless, but not only by well-marked trails and camp sites (standard in all parks). In Repovesi, there are couple of wells from which to get drinking water, rentable huts and an even rarer feature; dry toilets on camp sites. There are several circle trails to choose. For example, you can hike a 5 km (3 miles) Fox trail or a 26 km (16 miles) trail called The Circle of a Red-throated diver. These photos are from the latter, our 2-day trekking trip with a one-night tent adventure on a camp site.
I would love to know if there is anything in specific you would like to know about trekking or hiking in Finland (e.g. how to plan a trip in detail, what to take, how to organize food)?