Hiking in Finland

Finland's unspoilt forests and thousands of islands and lakes offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy beautiful natural surroundings. Hikers and cross-country skiers can roam the endless forests and wide-open northern fells, while the lakes and rivers of central and eastern Finland are ideal for canoeists, and the labyrinthine archipelagos of the Baltic are a sailor's paradise.

Patvinsuo National Park. Photo: Ismo Pekkarinen

In the wildest parts of northern Finland hikers can wander for hours - or even days - without seeing another soul, but even near towns and cities there are places where walkers or boaters can easily get close to nature for a few hours.

Many extensive areas of forest and open fell are owned by the State and managed by Metsähallitus, especially in Finnish Lapland.

In the south, more forests are owned by local people and managed to produce timber, but they still resemble natural forests. Finland's liberal laws of public access give everyone the right to roam the forests and countryside freely, no matter who owns the land.