During the Christmas holidays I have been glimpsing through photos about my hiking trips to Finnish national parks in 2016. These photos inspired me to plan new trips for next summer. Maybe you too?
The national parks I visited are located in the southern or central part of Finland :Kurjenrahka, Teijo, Liesjärvi, Pyhä-Häkki, Etelä-Konnevesi, Salamajärvi, Tiilikkajärvi, Helvetinjärvi, Selkämeri and Torronsuo ( see also www.luontoon.fi)
Most of my trips were rather short ( 2-4 hours) but I also made one over-night trip with my granddaughter. I focused on parks near to my house or summer cottage to avoid long driving distances. The hikeing trips are described in detail in my previous entries ( in Finnish) where you can also find more pictures of the national parks I visited.
Unfortunately, the vivid singing of the birds in the spring or the nice aroma of the forest just after rain cannot be delivered via photos but you will need to imagine those experiences.
Kurjenrahka National Park is about 40 km from Turku and you can reach it also by buss. In April the frogs were in a romantic mood.
Teijo National Park near Salo is one of the newest national parks. Nice hiking routes both in the spring and autumn.
Liesjärvi Natinal Park near highway 2 in Tammela celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016. Easy hiking routes and a nice old fashioned farm where different events are organised to show how things were done in the old days.
Pyhä-Häkki is a small national park in Central Finland near Viitasaari. Its speciality is the old forest where you can see very old pine trees- oldest ones being 400 years old.
National park of Etelä-Konnevesi presents Finnish lake nature and is perfect for paddling trips or sightseeing from a boat. The 4,7 km hiking trip we took on Kalaja-hill path ,was exhausting because the top of the Kalaja hill is about 80 m higher thant the lake beside it. But the scenery was definitely worth the effort.
Salamajärvi National Park was surprisingly versatile. I really enjoyed the full-day trip there and I'd like to make a little longer trip next year. All routes were clearly marked, there were plenty of places to make a fire and rest. It was also not too crowded like some of the bigger national parks but rahter quiet: I only met half a dozen people during the day. Suits me !Absolutely worth visiting again!
In Tiilikkajärvi National Park I took an 8 km hike called Uiton kierto. It takes you through a forest to a beautiful sand beach where you can cook a meal and put up a tent for camping. And that is what I plan to do next summer with our granddaughter. She will be 7 years old next summer and the route is easy but interestíng enough for her.
Helvetinjärvi National Park less than 50 km north of Tampere is very popular, especially the most famous part called Helvetinkolu. For me it was maybe too crowded, but of course the scenery was beautiful on a sunny October Sunday.
The National Park of Selkämeri covers wide sea areas at the west coast of Finland. however, for hikers there is a nice route in Yyteri near Pori. The eight kilometer route takes you through a forest to the seaside and sand dynes just south of the famous Yyteri beach. This is also a good place for bird watching both in spring time and in the autumn as a large variety of birds nests here.
In Torronsuo National park there is actually not much to see but if you like swamp areas you will like this one too. The bird watching tower is quite impressing too. As such the swamp in its autumn colours was quite charming. And if there were snow it would be nice to ski there too, I've been told. This national park may be threatened by some mining activity plans nearby in the future but let's hope it can be saved.
Next summer new attractions for example in Hiidenportti, Koli and Hossa in the eastern part of Finland... looking forward to new challenges!