Liessaari island at Lohja is a small but versatile recreation area

Liessaari Lohja

A day before my friend and I decided to visit Liessaari island at Lohja, it snowed again. It had already been beautifully warm but alas, as always in Finland, “fool’s spring” or a cold spell had happened again. So, when we got to Liessaari in April, instead of seeing patches of snow in the forest, the ground was entirely covered in snow. Oh well, this is spring in Finland.

Thankfully, the sun was beaming down on us as we walked across the small isthmus to the island. Bits of the ice had already receded from the southernmost areas of the lake, and we crossed our fingers and hoped for spring to properly arrive soon. Liessaari is still popular so despite the snow, the trail was nicely maintained. The main nature trail at Liessaari is 2.4kms (1.5 miles).

Liessaari is an recreation area for summer and winter fun

Going past the beach and changing rooms, we saw that there are signs leading to the circular route around Liessaari island. Since most of the snow had recently melted but new snow had fallen on top of it, some of the trail was quite slippery. We were happy to see some railings at the steepest parts of the cliffs. The cliffs on the island are sheer, so we should really have been wearing proper shoes with ice studs.

Liessaari cliffs kalliot

There is a wonderful area at the highest part of Liessaari with some seating. We stopped to soak in the spring sunshine and just enjoy the slowly warming air and the open stretches of water in front of us. No wonder there are cottages all around the island and the greater Lohjanjärvi area.

Liessaari views

The lean-to shelters will make you work to see their beauty

We knew there would be two lean-to shelters (= laavu in Finnish) at the far end of Liessaari island. It did add 1.5kms (about 1 mile) to our trek, but the weather was nice so we wanted to try it. Since most of the time the snow was very shallow, we managed to walk around fairly easily. However, when we got to the end of the island, we realised that the lean-to shelter was by the lakeside… which meant going down a very steep downhill to get there. Here, the fresh snow caused problems and I decided I liked my joints and bones in their current condition, so I didn’t climb down. My friend had better gripping shoes on, so she braved the slippery snow-covered rocks to see what the lean-to looked like. Definitely a great place to visit when it’s not slippery even though the easiest way to reach the lean-to is by a rowboat!

Returning back along the singular main trail from the lean-to, we tried to guess how long it would take for all the snow in the forests to melt. The southern part of Liessaari island had a lot less snow on the ground due to the warming effects of the sun. I could almost see summer before my eyes: people crowding these great sandy beaches, seagulls screeching, and ice-cream melting in the soft sunshine. Renting a kayak would also be amazing to experience Lohjanjärvi lake in its magnificence. Definitely a place I need to return to in the summer!

Liessaari beach

The Liessaari nature trail has two different checkpoints

health checkpoint at Liessaari, Lohja

terveysluontopolun toiminnallinen rasti Liessaaressa, Lohjalla

Lohja municipality has created two types of checkpoints on Liessaari island. There are functional health trail checkpoints, which guide people to take full advantage of the nature to improve their health. These kind of health checkpoints are the first ones at Lohja, and they’re relatively new in Finland in general, too. There are fourteen (14) of these health checkpoints, and these wooden marker posts are scattered on Liessaari island. These checkpoints can only be experienced on Liessaari, out in the nature.

The other type of checkpoints are more traditional nature knowledge checkpoints, which offer information about the surrounding nature. There are sixteen (16) of these checkpoints, and they’re visible as numbered posts all over the trails. You should use a website to check out the information provided.

Map of Liessaari

This map provided by Lohja municipality shows the general route around Liessaari in orange. The red dotted line shows the way to the lean-to shelter (laavu) at the end of the island. The green dots are traditional nature checkpoints, the pink dots represent health trail checkpoints.

Directions to Liessaari

Address: You can type Haikarinkatu 17, Lohja in your navigator.

How to get there:

  • Car: There is a small car park by the entrance to Liessaari.
  • Bicycle: Cycling along Lohjanjärvi lake is a great experience. You can leave your bike at the bike racks at the beach.
  • Public transport: You can get to Liessaari by public transport. Type Haikarinkatu 17, Lohja on the Route Planner for timetables. The nearest bus stop called Haikarinkatu E is 1km from Liessaari island.

Accessibility: The cliffs on Liessaari island are steep and dangerous at all times, so make sure to take your time when hiking in the area. When there is no snow on the ground, the main beach area on Liessaari island has well-worn paths suitable for even those with limited mobility or children’s prams. The Liessaari nature trail is not very accessible but is suitable for sure-footed children. During snowy times, make sure to take your time hiking in the area as rocks, holes, and tree roots are hidden under the snow.

When to go: You can visit at any time of the year.

What to wear: Normal walking shoes are fine. Just notice that sometimes the nature path can get slippery. During snowy times, make sure to wear warm clothes and always take care hiking in snow. If the snow is soft, consider wearing snow shoes.

Facilities: There are no official facilities in the area outside the peak summer season.

Make sure you also check out

Since you’re already in the area, make sure to check out the versatile Lahokallio trails or the cup-marked stones at Lohja, or the giant’s kettles at Talvia. In the summertime, make sure to check the most beautiful tree in Finland by visiting Paavola oak.

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