When visiting Finland you should not miss our pristine, beautiful and diverse nature with its exquisite hiking destinations. This summer we wandered in the nature quite often and were lucky enough to visit some of the most interesting natural attractions. Finland has 38 national parks spread around the country, offering everything between short hour or two walks to 80 km hikes, but also plenty of natural formations for a shorter visit are available. Most of them even located near to bigger cities that travellers usually visit.
Astuvansalmi rock paintings, Ristiina (Eastern Finland)
One of the biggest rock painting sites in Nordic countries, Astuvansalmi is well preserved and mysteriously showing a part of our history. The oldest paintings in this site date all the way back to 2500-3000 BC. I remember visiting this site many times during my childhood and this summer after who knows how many years, I decided to go back. The site itself is quite easy to reach, during summer you can go there by boat as the paintings are located in a shore, or then hike there through a forest – which will take around 45 min to one hour, depending on how used you are to walking in the nature.
The rock paintings haven’t made it to UNESCO World Heritage list yet, even though they were submitted on the tentative list in 1990. Regardless, they are very impressive and should not be missed when visiting Saimaa lake district in Eastern Finland.
Can you see the elk?
Nuuksio National Park, Espoo (Southern Finland)
Located less than hour away from Helsinki centre and accessible by public transportation, Nuuksio National Park is easy choice for a daytrip – even though the national park offers a lot for a longer hikes too. It is popular among people living in the metropolitan area, who wish to escape the busy city life and enjoy a moment of silence in the nature.
The Finnish Nature Center Haltia is located in the borders of Nuuksio and also worth of a visit. Suitable for both kids and adults, it lets visitors experience nature from all over Finland under one roof. Haltia is also the first public building in Finland built entirely of wood.
Trails are usually well marked in Nuuksio
Sammallahdenmäki, Rauma (Western Finland)
Bronze age burial site of Sammallahdenmäki is another spectacular historic and natural attraction, which features more than 30 granite burial cairns. Burial site dates back to 1500-500 BC and can offer an excellent insight into the funerary practices and social and religious structures of northern Europe more than three millennia ago. Basically it’s just rocks lying around in a high place, probably placed so that deceased could be closer to their gods and the sky – I’m not an historian, so I don’t know the exact story behing these but needless to say, the burial sites are very impressive and interesting. Sammallahdenmäki is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites we have in Finland and easy to combine with a visit to Rauma city, where you can find another UNESCO site, The Old Rauma.
Rocks and more rocks
This summer I got see plenty, but there is still so much more to explore in this, northern and extraordinary country of ours. Next summer I hopefully will get the chance to visit Lapland and do some hikes in national parks there. Finland is definitely a destination for nature lovers, and many of the sites are easy to reach from cities, which makes it possible to combine a trip to nature with city holiday.
Just one more thing about visiting Finnish countryside – the everyman’s right. It allows people of all nationalities to enjoy Finnish nature freely, acting respectfully towards the nature, properties and other people of course. You can check the rights and responsibilities within everyman’s right here.