National parks in Finland

Pallas in winter

National parks in Finland are attracting millions of visitors every year. There are 40 national parks in Finland, all of them distinct from one another. Which are the most visited national parks in Finland? What are their special characteristics? When was the oldest national park established? Which is the biggest? Read more to find out which national park you should select as your next vacation destination!

The Finnish national parks are run by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland, which gets funding mainly from the national budget. In 2018, there were over 3.2 million visits to Finnish national parks. The most visited national parks in 2018 were Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Nuuksio National Park, Urho Kekkonen National Park, Oulanka National Park, and Koli National Park. Also Pyhä-Luosto National Park, Repovesi National Park, Teijo National Park, and Hossa National Park attracted over 100,000 yearly visitors each.

Here are all the national parks in Finland in a map:

The oldest and biggest national parks in Finland are in Lapland

  • Lemmenjoki National Park
  • Urho Kekkonen National Park
  • Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
  • Syöte National Park
  • Oulanka National Park
  • Bothnian Bay National Park
  • Pyhä-Luosto National Park
  • Riisitunturi National Park

The Lemmenjoki National Park is the biggest national park in Finland, covering an area of 2860 square kilometers in Lapland. It was established in 1956 and it is one of the most remote national parks in Finland and a homeland of Lapland’s indigenous Sámi People. There are only about 60 kilometers of marked trails accessible in summer and 25 kilometers of skiing tracks in Lemmenjoki National Park. Canoeing and fishing are popular in Lemmenjoki River and canoes and kayaks can be rented from local shops in Lemmenjoki.

Area: 2860 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 60 km
Ski trails: 25 km

The Urho Kekkonen National Park, named after former Finnish President, was established in 1983. The UKK National Park was the third most visited national park in Finland in 2018. This vast park, the second largest national park in Finland, extends east from Saariselkä resort through the wilderness of Finnish Lapland all the way to the Russian border. The remote and mysterious fell of Korvatunturi, known in Finland as the real home of Santa Claus, is one of many fells in the UKK National Park. The south part of the park consists of pine and spruce forests and fells. In addition to forests, in the south-west part of the park there are extensive open bogs.

Area: 2550 km2
Established: 1983
Summer trails: 70 km
Ski trails: 70 km

The Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park was the most visited national park in 2018, according to the Metsähallitus. It is also our third largest national park, consisting of over 1000 square kilometers in Enontekiö, Kittilä, Kolari and Muonio municipalities. The oldest national parks in Finland are Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park and Pyhä-Luosto National Park, which both celebrated their 80th birthday in 2018, being established in 1938. Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park was originally called Pallas-Ounastunturi National Park after the Pallas-Ounastunturi Fells, but in 2005 Ylläs-Aakenus Nature Reserve was joined to the area and the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park was created. The highlights of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park include Yllästunturi Fell and its surroundings, Pallas Fell and Lake Pallasjärvi, Aakenustunturi Fells, Ounasjoki River, Ounastunturi Fells, and Taivaskero, which is the highest summit in the Ounastunturi Fells. Pallas-Ylläs is especially popular among skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer and during autumn ruska. There are a total of 340 kilometres of marked summer trails in the Pallas-Yllästunturi area for short day trips and long hikes. In the winter there are over 500 kilometers of skiing trails and 100 kilometers of hiking trails. Check out our post about Punainenhiekka beach in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.

Area: 1020 km2
Established: 1938
Summer trails: 340 km
Ski trails: 500 km

The Syöte National Park borders Lapland and Oulu provinces. A challenging ascent up to Ahmakallio observation tower will reward its visitors with spectacular view. A nearby fell, Iso-Syöte, is Finland’s southernmost fell and a popular tourist destination. It hosts Syöte Visitor Centre, where many trails, including the one to Ahmakallio, start. Kaunislampi ravine lake and Pyhitys, the highest hill of Syöte National Park, are also popular destinations. Ahmavaara open wilderness hut hosts an exhibition of semi-precious stones. A canoeing route at Syöte is 22 km long.

Area: 300 km2
Established: 2000
Summer trails: 122 km
Ski trails: 33 km

The Oulanka National Park is located in Lapland and Oulu provinces. It was established in 1956 but has been expanded in 1982 and 1989. It borders the Paanajärvi National Park in Russia. The most well-known Finnish trekking route, Karhunkierros (80 km), is located in the Oulanka national park, and has amazing views all year round. There are also several shorter trails with equally breathtaking views at Oulanka. Canoeing routes at Ouland are 38 km long, and bicycle and snowroutes are also available. The trails at Oulanka are quite demanding in general due to terrain and changes in altitude, but there are also few accessible routes available.

Area: 290 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 160 km
Ski trails: 26 km

The Bothnian Bay National Park is located in the northern-most part of the Baltic Sea, in the outer archipelago of towns of Tornio and Kemi. The area can only be reached by boat or in winter across ice. It is one out of four national parks located mainly in the sea area. The park’s first island emerged from the sea 1,000 years ago. Today, there are thirty low-lying islands. Selkä-Sarvi, Pensaskari and Vähä-Huituri Islands are the most popular ones to visit. The Möyly grey seal protection area is within the boundaries of the national park. But there are restrictions for entering the Möyly area. There is an underwater nature trail for scuba divers in the national park, in front of the Selkä-Sarvi and Maasarvi Islands.

Area: 157 km2
Established: 1991
Summer trails: 1 km
Underwater trails: 0,8 km

The Pyhä-Luosto National Park has shorter trails than the bigger national parks in Lapland and it is therefore very suitable also for day trips. Nature Centre Naava welcomes visitors to Pyhä-Luosto and at Pyhä-Luosto National Park you can also find your own lucky stone at Lampivaara Amethyst Mine. Isokuru Gorge is Finland’s deepest gorge at 220 metres deep and a popular destination in summer at Pyhä-Luosto. Don’t forget the insect repellent. Check out our post on Pyhä-Luosto.

Area: 142 km2
Established: 1938
Summer trails: 75 km
Skiing trails: 120 km

The Riisitunturi National Park is not far from more famous Oulanka National Park and it is also recommended for hiking and trekking as well as skiing and snowshoeing. The Riisitunturi area is about 300 meters about sea level and photographers love Riisitunturi’s snowy sceneries in the winter. Major part of the park is formed by spruce forests, and there are also wetlands in its hills. In winter the moisture from the bogs raises and forms heavy snow on top of trees. One spruce can carry up to 3-4 tons of snow.

Area: 77 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 40 km
Ski trails: 23 km

The national parks in Oulu and Kainuu region

  • Hossa National Park
  • Hiidenportti National Park
  • Tiilikkajärvi National Park
  • Rokua National Park

The latest addition to this marvellous group of Finnish national parks is the Hossa National Park, which was established recently, in 2017. It is known for rock paintings of Julma-Ölkky and Värikallio, which are dating back thousands of years. The Julma-Ölkky canyon is a fracture valley that is several kilometres long. There is a small rock painting in the centre part of Julma-Ölkky. It is the northernmost rock painting found in Finland. The Värikallio rock paintings are at least 4,000 years old. There are more than 60 figures in the set of paintings, which deal with the fishing and hunting culture. There are many hiking, cycling, canoeing and skiing trails at the Hossa National Park, and not as many tourists as the national parks in Lapland or Southern part of the country.

Area: 110 km2
Established: 2017
Summer trails: 90 km
Ski trails: 40 km

The Hiidenportti National Park was established in 1982. The canyons of the Hiidenportti National Park are an impressive sight and many trekkers enjoy the Hiidenportti trails in the summer. Hiidenportti Gorge has vertical rock walls and is the top attraction of this national park. The Hiidenportti is also rich in cultural history. Tar burning was an important source of livelihood in the Kainuu region and several remnants of tar pits can still be seen at Hiidenportti. The name Hiidenportti originates in Finnish mythology as hiisi is a demon and portti means gate. According to a legend hiisi was horrified when Christianity was introduced to Finland. Hiisi first tried to throw rocks to a church but then gathered his livestock consisting of wolves, bears, lynx, and wolverine, and moved to Hiidenportti.

Area: 45 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 30 km

The Tiilikkajärvi National Park was established to preserve the lake, river and ecosystems around Lake Tiilikka. The lake also has a historical significance. According to the peace treaty of Täyssinä (1595), the border between Sweden and Russia cut through the Lake Tiilikka. Today there is a stone standing in the lake with carved markings indicating where the border used to be. The other main sights of the Tiilikkajärvi include Uiton kämppä wilderness hut and Tiilikanautio tenant farm. Venäjänhiekka near Uitto trail has a sandy beach, perfect for swimming in the summer.

Area: 34 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 20 km
Ski trails: 24 km

The Rokua National Park was established in 1956 and forms part of Finland’s first UNESCO Geopark. It has family-friendly skiing and hiking trails extending also outside of the national park area. Rokua is considered the most important protection area for cladina-type forests in Finland. Cladina means lichen, which in Rokua form massive white carpets in the forest. There is also an observation tower in Rokua. The 50 meters high observation tower at Rokua’s highest point in Pookivaara Hill is actually third tower in this location. The first fire guard’s tower was built in 193.

Area: 9 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 57 km

The national parks in Eastern Finland

  • Patvinsuo National Park
  • Linnasaari National Park
  • Koli National Park
  • Kolovesi National Park
  • Southern Konnevesi National Park
  • Petkeljärvi National Park

The Patvinsuo National Park is mainly a bog area and excellent location for birdwathing. Patvinsuo also has a thriving bear population, but it’s highly unlikely to spot one. Cloudberries and cranberries are the most favored gifts of this swamp. Note: One trail to Pirskanlampi camping leads through the Finnish Frontier Guard’s restricted military area and is closed for access on several occasions in 2019. Check out National Parks website by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland, for more detailed information.

Area: 105 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 80 km

The Linnansaari National Park is located in the middle of Lake Haukivesi, which is part of Lake Saimaa. It was established in 1956 to conserve the special features of Finnish lakeland. The Saimaa ringed seal (Phoca hispida saimensis) is an endangered lake seal subspecies only found in the Lake Saimaa. They might be spotted in Linnansaari National Park and Kolovesi National Park during summer season. Main sights in the Linnansaari National Park include a scenic lookout Linnavuori and Linnansaari Croft, which presents self-sufficient way of life of inhabitants in the old times. Ice skating route from Porosalmi to Oravi is 18 kilometers in one direction and one of the best ones on natural lake ice.

Area: 96 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 15 km
Ski trails: 20 km

The Koli National Park is among the most visited national parks in Finland because of its open views. The view opening up from Ukko-Koli Hill to Lake Pielinen is one of the most famous national landscapes in the country. There are several other views and lookout points that are totally worth the climb. Koli can be visited at any time of the year. Check out our post on Koli.

Area: 30 km2
Established: 1991
Summer trails: 80 km
Ski trails: 50 km

The Kolovesi National Park is one of the best places to spot the unique lake seals, the Saimaa ringed seals. It is suitable for summertime hiking only. In winter, entry to islands in Lake Kolovesi is forbidden and the roads are not maintained. Canoeing is popular in the Kolovesi National Park, and old rock paintings at Ukonvuori Hill can take you 5000 years back in time. The Ukonvuori Hill also has an old excavation site for quartz crystals. Nowadays it is forbidden to collect them from national parks. Ukonvuori Hill looks majestic from the lake, but it doesn’t have a lookout point on top.

Area: 23 km2
Established: 1990
Summer trails: 7 km

The Southern Konnevesi National Park was established in 2014 and it is located in Central Finland. The Southern Konnevesi is ideal for boat or canoe excursions and fishing but there are also trails and lean-to shelters in the area. Main sights at the Konnevesi are a well-known scenic spot Kalajanvuori Hill, rock painting, Konnekoski rapids, the Kodanovinen islands, and Käpynän Ukko mountain spirit rock formation. Some of these sights are can only be visited by a boat or canoe. Check out our post on Southern Konnevesi.

Area: 15 km2
Established: 2014
Summer trails: 22 km

The Petkeljärvi National Park is the smallest national park in Finland, covering only 6 square kilometers in Ilomantsi, close to the Russian border. There are partially restored battle structures from the Second World War (Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union 1939-40) at the Petkeljärvi, and in 1957 the work began to develop the area for recreational use. Today there are grand ridges, clear lakes and impressive old-growth pine forests, that daily visitors can see in the short trails. The longest hiking trail in North Karelia, Taitajan taival (35 km) also begins here.

Area: 6 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 10 km

The national parks in Western Finland

  • Bothnian Sea National Park
  • Archipelago National Park
  • Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park
  • Salamajärvi National Park
  • Lauhanvuori National Park
  • Helvetinjärvi National Park
  • Seitseminen National Park
  • Leivonmäki National Park
  • Kurjenrahka National Park
  • Puurijärvi-Isosuo National Park
  • Isojärvi National Park
  • Pyhä-Häkki National Park

The Bothnian Sea National Park is mainly formed by barren islets and small islands in the outermost archipelago. Boating, diving, and snorkeling are popular in this national park, which consists of areas that differ from each other in their physical geography: the Oura, Gummandoora and Pooskeri Archipelagos, Preiviikinlahti Bay and the Luvia, Rauma and Eurajoki, Uusikaupunki and Seksmiilari Archipelagos. These areas have rich range of sea birds and are internationally significant in terms of bird fauna. The Bothnian Sea is one of the best preserved sea areas on the Finnish coast.

Area: 913 km2
Established: 2011
Summer trails: 4,4 km

The Archipelago National Park in Southwestern Finland has more islands than any other archipelago in the world. It’s good representation of the Finnish archipelago in general. There are scheduled ferry services that allow island hopping close to the national park, but the park itself is only accessible by boats or canoes. There are nature trails in several islands, and also an underwater trail in Stora Hästö Island.

Area: 500 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 23 km

The Kauhaneva-Pohjakangas National Park is a bog area and excellent location for birdwathing. It also has few short trails and duckboards. Archaeologists have found many different signs of the long history of living and hunting in the national park area. The Kyrönkankaantie road is an old route of hunters, cavalrymen and postmen, and it still has signs from the past. One memorial states: “Juurakko Gustaf, b. 18.5.1808, d. 11.4.1868, starved to death on this spot.”

Area: 62 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 6,5 km

The landscape of the Salamajärvi National Park is dominated by mires, because it is located on a watershed, where differences in altitude are small. The Salamajärvi has 60 kilometers of trails and several wilderness huts and lean-to shelters to enjoy. Old tar pits, old floating dam and remains of old loggers’ cabin can be found here. Fauna of birds is impressive in this area.

Area: 62km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 60 km

The Lauhanvuori National Park also provides nice views as there is a scenic lookout tower at the top of Lauhanvuori Hill. Ancient shorelines circle the Lauhanvuori Hill. The largest of these stone fields, called Kivijata, is 800 metres long. Hiking over it is only allowed on duckboards. The bedrock at Lauhanvuori is sandstone, which is quite rare in Finland. On the lower slopes of the hill, the bedrock changes from sandstone to granite and massive boulders can be found. The most famous boulder is called Aumakivi Rock.

Area: 54 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 10 km
Ski trails: 18 km

The Helvetinjärvi National Park is known for Helvetinjärvi Lake (Hell’s Lake) and Helvetinkolu Gorge (Hell’s Hole). Helvetinkolu has been a well-known tourist attraction already in the 1800s, but the area has always been remote and sparsely populated. The trail from Kankimäki to Helvetinkolu Gorge is often quite clear around the year. Both Helvetinjärvi and Seitseminen are good starting points for Pirkan Taival trekking network (300 km).

Area: 50 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 22 km

The Seitseminen National Park has very popular trail network (60 km in total), and Kovero Heritage Farm provides an interesting historical glimpse to the area. The old Multiharju forest is the heart of the national park. It has been protected since 1910, even though the park was officially established in 1982. Half of the park consists of mires and there a duckboards to help keep your feet dry. Tar and coal burning were also practiced in Seitseminen. The Kovero tar pit was restored in 1993 and is today a tourist sight.

Area: 46 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 60 km
Ski trails: 45 km

The Leivonmäki National Park was established in 2003. It is located in Central Finland and it is especially popular among families and mountain bikers. There are a total of 28 kilometres of marked trails in the park with nice campfire sites. Main sights at the Leivonmäki are clear Rutajoki river with its foaming rapids and a visitor-friendly Joutsniemi ridge.

Area: 30 km2
Established: 2003
Summer trails: 28 km
Ski trails: 10 km

The Kurjenrahka National Park was established in 1998 and it can be easilly accessed from the historical city of Turku. The park is suitable for hiking, skiing, and geocatching. It’s main sights include old boundary rock formation Kuhankuono and the civil war memorial in Vähä-Välisaari. From Koivusaari observation tower you get a view over Kurjenrahka Mire, which is in its natural state with its puddles. Hopefully duckboards from Töykkälä to Kuhankuono get restored for summer 2019.

Area: 29 km2
Established: 1998
Summer trails: 200 km
Ski trails: 9 km

The Puurijärvi and Isosuo National Park is protecting the rich bird life in the bog and it has few short trails leading to birdwatching towers. The birdwatching tower on Kärjenkallio is one of the biggest in the Nordic countries. Hundreds of cranes and flocks of whooper swans rest in Lake Puurijärvi during their spring and autumn migrations. The bird fauna is diverse. The Puurijärvi Lake is one of the most important bird habitats in Finland.

Area: 27 km2
Established: 1993
Summer trails: 2 km

The Isojärvi National Park is located in Central Finland and provides many trails and lean-to shelters for hikers to enjoy. The highlights at Isojärvi include former lumberjacks’ cabins, beavers’ habitat, and a giant boulder called King of the Hill. There are large altitude differences at the Isojärvi National Park, and ancient forests in its Latokuusikko area. Check out our post on Isojärvi.

Area: 19 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 30 km

The Pyhä-Häkki National Park has a 30 km network of trails taking you back in time. The park’s most famous pine tree, the Big Old Tree, now just a snag, began growing in 1518. The giant’s diameter was 288 cm. The new Big Tree, still alive, dates back to 1641. One historical site in the Pyhä-Häkki is Poika-aho Crown Tenant Farm in the western part of the park. It was established in 1854.

Area: 13 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 30 km

The national parks in Southern Finland

  • Nuuksio National Park
  • Ekenäs Archipelago National Park
  • Teijo National Park
  • Torronsuo National Park
  • Sipoonkorpi National Park
  • Liesjärvi National Park
  • Valkmusa National Park
  • Repovesi National Park
  • The Päijänne National Park
  • Gulf of Finland National Park

The Nuuksio National Park in Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Vihti municipalities was established in 1994. This wilderness area is easilly accessible from the capital area, also by public transport. Easy access together with amazing nature made Nuuksio the second most visited national park in Finland in 2018. It has several beautiful lakes and a good variety of hiking, biking and horse riding trails. You are likely to bump into other hikers in Nuuksio. Haltia, the Finnish Nature Centre, hosts events and holds exhibitions in Nuuksio.

Area: 53 km2
Established: 1994
Summer trails: 30 km

The Ekenäs Archipelago National Park was established in 1989 to protect the natural features of the area, both under and above the water surface. There are short trails in Jussarö, Älgö and Modermagan islands that introduce the flora and fauna of the islands. Boating, canoeing and diving are the best ways to enjoy the Ekenäs Archipelago. Fishing is also popular here.

Area: 52 km2
Established: 1989
Summer trails: 12 km

The Teijo National Park was established in 2015 and it is also located in close proximity to the capital area. Teijo’s attractions include peaceful lakes and forests, as well as historic ironworks villages where traditional crafts still thrive. Mathildedal village is a cultural sight worth the visit, especially during summer or Christmas market. Check out our post on Teijo.

Area: 34 km2
Established: 2015
Summer trails: 50 km

The Torronsuo National Park, established in 1990, is located in Tammela, approximately 100 kilometers from Helsinki. Suo in Finnish means bog, and Torronsuo is known as the Finland’s deepest bog. It’s a popular place for birdwatching, hiking on duckboards, and skiing. You can also find cloudberries and cranberries, the Finnish superfood, in Torronsuo. Check out our post on Torronsuo.

Area: 30 km2
Established: 1990
Summer trails: 14,5 km
Ski trails: 45 km

The Sipoonkorvi National Park was established in 2011. Similarly to Nuuksio National Park, Sipoonkorvi National Park is located in the capital region, in Sipoo, Vantaa and Helsinki municipalities. It is liked by the locals but less crowded than Nuuksio. It can be accessed by public transport and it hosts two short trails and barbeque places. During summer there are horses in the area’s pastures. They help in the upkeep of the heritage landscape.

Area: 23 km2
Established: 2011
Summer trails: 6,2 km

The Liesjärvi National Park is located in Tammela, less than 100 km from Helsinki. Liesjärvi National Park highlights include a scenic Kyynäränharju ridge and Korteniemi Heritage Farm. It also has huge trees in the oldest part of the park, which was established in 1956. Despite its relatively small size, Liesjärvi National Park is truly rich in nature. Check out our post on Liesjärvi.

Area: 22 km2
Established: 1956
Summer trails: 30 km

The Valkmusa National Park is located in Southeast of Finland in Pyhtää and Kotka municipalities, and it was established in 1996. It has few short duckboard trails and a nature observation tower. As many as 45 different types of wetlands can be found in Valkmusa and the natural features of the mires are considered valuable. Valkmusa is also rich in bird and butterfly species, some of them very rare.

Area: 17 km2
Established: 1996
Summer trails: 2,5 km

The Repovesi National Park has fascinating views and diverse nature just few hours drive away from the capital area. The Repovesi National Park was established in 2003. Its main sights include Olhavanvuori Rock, Mustalamminvuori Hill, Katajavuori Hill. As you may have figured out from the names, there plenty of scenic places in Repovesi. Hiking routes are well-marked, and kayaking is popular here. There are also prehistoric rock paintings, found in 2000. The famous Lapinsalmi hanging bridge is unfortunately closed for repairs, but waterbuses transport tourists to the other side of the lake. Repovesi is a good destination for both day trips and overnight stays.

Area: 15 km2
Established: 2003
Summer trails: 45 km
Ski trails: 20 km

The Päijänne National Park is a small area of 14 square kilometers in southern part of Lake Päijänne, has been protecting Kelvenne island and especially the Lesser Black-backed Gull population since 1993. There are many trails around the Päijänne National Park area, connecting to Ilves trekking route.

Area: 14 km2
Established: 1993
Summer trails: 63 km
Ski trails: 14 km

The main sights at the Gulf of Finland National Park include a stone labyrinth in Mustaviiri Island, a part of Unesco World Heritage Site of Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations, and a historical stone engraving on Suuri-Pisi Island.

Area: 7 km2
Established: 1982
Summer trails: 4,6 km


Hopefully this inspires you to start planning your trips to the Finnish national parks! We will be publishing many more detailed posts about these locations in the future, and we also welcome new contributors to our site!

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