Finland is the perfect destination for those seeking tranquility and nature lovers. There are thousands of lakes and extensive forest and wetlands, most of which are located in the country's 40 national parks. In many places you can (wild) camp and pick wild. We went there by train, and completely relaxed. In this article we show 5 beautiful National parks in Finland to see you, including a beautiful video! Watch the video of our trip below:
By train (and boat)
It's not an obvious choice to go to Finland by train, but this trip is really worth it. Along the way you will pass Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm, nice cities that are perfect for a city trip† We left on a Saturday evening and arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday morning. In the afternoon we were already enjoying a vegetarian barbecue on the terrace of Hermans in Stockholm, overlooking Gamla Stan and the ferry terminal. From Stockholm we took the ferry to Finland. The entire crossing took about 10 to 11 hours, during which we made a two-day stop in Åland halfway through, a deservedly popular holiday destination for many Finns and Sweden.
From Åland the boat passed through the Archipelago National Park and, accompanied by Estonian music from the karaoke bar, we sailed through thousands of islands to the oldest city in Finland: Turku. From Turku we took the train via Helsinki to the town of Savonlinna in southeastern Finland. This journey took about 8 hours and meanwhile we enjoyed the beautiful forest areas and lakes on the border area of Russia and Finland. We found Savonlinna with its beautiful Olavinlinna castle and lively market surprisingly atmospheric (lunch tip: Kahvila Saima).
National Parks in Finland
1. Linnansaari National Park
In Savonlinna we were picked up by the 'safari bus' of the canoe rental. Accompanied by Finnish heavy metal we drove to Oravi, the starting point of our 9-day canoe trip. From Oravi we paddled south straight into Linnansaari National Park. This park is part of Finland's largest lake system, Lake Saimaa. In the national parks you are only allowed to spend the night at the designated camping spots, but we always found these very beautiful and remote. In addition, they are well equipped with a campfire pit, coppice and a compost toilet, a kind of wild camping deluxe. Every day we found a beautiful camping island, where we had nice evenings by the campfire and enjoyed the sunset with a drink.
2. Kolovesi National Park
Linnansaari is connected to the Kolovesi National Park through the Joutenvesi Nature Reserve. In Kolovesi it is even quieter than the rest of the lake area, because motorized traffic is not allowed. In this park we experienced a deafening silence, disturbed only by sounds from the Finnish wilderness. Binoculars and camera are a must as we have spotted ospreys and the rare freshwater Saimaa seal. The plaintive singing of the pearl divers and the crystal clear starry skies made for a surreal experience at night. We ended our trip again in Oravi, where we feasted on a lovely shower and an extensive lunch with grilled pike.
3. Koli National Park
From Oravi we got a special lift back to Savonlinna from a taciturn Finn in a self-refurbished Ford Gran Torino. In Savonlinna we rented a car with which we would continue our journey, because unfortunately there is no good train connection in the northeast of the country. Our next stop was Koli National Park. This park is especially famous for its cultural landscape, where old farming techniques are still preserved. We camped at .'s farm campsite Go ahead and from here took a walk to the famous viewpoint Ukko-Koli. This view is so breathtaking that it has inspired many Finnish painters and composers.
4. Syöte National Park
A bit further north we made a second stop in the Syöte National Park. Here we made a 2-day hiking trip to the beautiful Ahmatupa Hut, but you can safely walk here for several days. The park mainly consists of primary forests and extensive peat swamps, which we almost got lost in… Along the way we feasted on the much sought-after cloudberry and handfuls of blueberries. The area is also known for its cranes and cranberries (a crane is crane in English) and if you are lucky you can even see flying squirrels!
5. Oulanka National Park
Our final destination and also fifth National Park was Oulanka. From the town of Kuusamo we had to pay close attention while driving as there were many reindeer walking past and even on the road. In the middle of the park is the visitor center and a large nature campsite with good facilities and a number of curious reindeer. Oulanka consists largely of old-growth forest, through which the river Oulankajoki flows. We experienced the enormous power of the meandering water partly because of the many waterfalls and suspension bridges in the area. We walked a number of multi-day trips along the bear trail (Karhunkierros). This was very doable because of the central location of the campsite, spacious hikers' cabins along the route, and the bus connections in the park. Don't forget to stop by on the way home Leenan Koskitupac, where the friendly owner serves delicious blueberry pie, salmon soup and oat bread!
Back to Turku
Via the coast we drove back to Turku. On the way we visited Rauma, an old fishing village with Swedish influences and colored wooden houses. We explored Turku, a special mix of old and new. We took the ferry back to Stockholm, where we took a walk through Gamla Stan and stumbled upon a Jazz concert on a roof terrace. From Stockholm we had a very comfortable sleeper train back to Malmö, and a full day of trains later we were back in the Netherlands.
This is a guest blog written by world travelers Ties Blaauw and Krista van den Heuvel. You can follow them on social media for more beautiful photos and videos, the links can be found below!