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Explore Finland's famous archipelago using public ferries and boat services

6/26/17

Finland's coastal waters are dotted with thousands of fascinating and beautiful islands, whose many natural and cultural attractions include four archipelago national parks. It is today easier than ever to visit many of these islands without a boat of your own.

Archipelago National Park. Photo: Laura Lehtonen

Dozens of islands are now accessible to everyone, including some within easy reach of the cities of Helsinki and Turku. Some inhabited islands are even accessible all year round on ferries run for the benefit of their residents.

A new section of the website nationalparks.fi has been compiled by Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland to bring together in one place practical information and tips on how to get to some of our loveliest islands using public ferries and boat services.

In addition to convenient waterbus services, many islands also have services such as accommodation, catering and guided tours and activities, offered by local firms.  

Islands that have recently become increasingly popular with visitors due to improved access and services include:

  • Vallisaari, just 20 minutes by waterbus from Helsinki
  • Seili, near Turku
  • Säppi, near Pori
  • Örö – a former military island in the heart of the Archipelago Sea

 For more information:


National Park Bringing New Feeling of Optimism to Hossa

by Fran Weaver, August 2017

Lenny Daly of the local firm Hossan Lumo feels that the new Hossa National Park provides ideal settings for the trendy outdoor activity of SUP-boarding. The Daly family's dog Vicky is also on board. Photo: Maija Daly, Hossan Lumo

The opening in June 2017 of Finland's 40th national park at Hossa, to mark the centenary of the Finland's independence, has been a great boost for local entrepreneurs offering services related to nature tourism and outdoor recreation. New jobs and income are very welcome in this part of Finland's north-eastern borderlands, between the towns of Kuusamo and Suomussalmi.

The clear waters and sandy shores of Hossa National Park are particularly popular among paddlers. Visitors can rent kayaks from local firms or join guided paddling tours to discover the park's highlights. Photo: Hannu Huttu / Metsähallitus

Local firms are already providing a wider range of services for increasing numbers of visitors with different interests. The small family firm Hossan Lumo, run by locally born Maija Daly and her Irish husband Lenny Daly, rents out equipment including fat tyre mountain bikes, kayaks and SUP-boards, while also offering cosy cabin accommodation and lovely lakeside locations for tents and caravans.

Lenny Daly feels that Hossa provides ideal settings for many popular outdoor pursuits. "Hossa's clear blue lakes are great for paddling, and Finland is now also catching on to the international boom in SUP-boarding," he says. "The trails along Hossa's sandy ridges are likewise ideal for mountain biking or hiking." 

Hossa Reindeer Park gives visitors to the nearby national park a chance to get up close to reindeer. Raili Karvonen brings tasty snacks out to some of the park's residents. Photo: Sini Salmirinne

Maija Daly believes that especially for foreign visitors, Hossa's new status as a national park makes it much more attractive than its previous designation as a hiking area. 

"There's a new feeling of optimism as interest in Hossa increases, and people are getting keen to branch out and start new businesses and activities."  

Joga instructor, wilderness guide Saija Taivalmäki is one of the new entrepeuneurs working in Hossa National Park. Photo: Raili Takolander

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