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Easy Trips to Finland’s Famous Archipelago – Excellent New Services for Visitors Keen to Explore Islands in Beautiful National Parks

1/17/18

Services for visitors to Finland's famous islands have recently been greatly improved. It is today easier than ever to explore the archipelago – especially since comfortable accommodation is now available in lovingly restored historic buildings on many islands. This summer boat connections and lodgings will serve visitors to fascinating islands including Jussarö (in Ekenäs Archipelago National Park), Katanpää (in the Bothnian Sea National Park), and Bodö and Örö (in the Archipelago National Park). 

Photo: Metsähallitus / Ari Ahlfors

During the years 2018-20 Metsähallitus will invest around a million euros to improve facilities at harbours for visiting boats in these four islands, using funding from the EU's Central Baltic Programme. The project also aims to enhance environmental protection, and train the entrepreneurs who run the harbours. Bodö's harbour will be considerably enlarged, for instance, while the island's accommodation and opportunities for guided recreational activities will be already improved by the summer of 2018. Visitors without their own boat can reach Bodö on the ferry M/S Nordep, or by organising a pickup from the nearby island of Nötö. Kayaks and SUP paddling boards can be rented on Bodö.

A new boat service from Hanko to the island of Örö in the Archipelago National Park will improve connections between the region of Uusimaa and the southwestern archipelago. A new well-signposted coastal cycling route will encourage visitors to combine road cycling with island-hopping, by exploring a spectacular route starting from railheads in the historic towns of Raseborg or Hanko, before heading to the island of Örö, and then returning to the mainland to visit Teijo National Park, finally heading to Salo, which has train services to Helsinki and Turku. Improved ferry connections will also enable travellers to island-hop from Hanko via Örö and Korpoström to join the well-loved Archipelago Trail circular cycling and motoring route – ultimately linking the cities of Helsinki and Turku via these lovely islands.

A Night in a Tree Tent

This summer visitors to Teijo National Park will have the new option of an unforgettable night in a tree tent. The unique restaurant Kota (bookable in advance for groups) serves food in a natural setting in the heart of the national park. Weekly programmes for visitors to the Salo region offer activities every day, including canoeing on Lake Hamarijärvi in Teijo, or an unforgettable lakeside sauna.

Visitors can also sleep out in tree tents on the wooded island of Vallisaari, just 20 minutes from downtown Helsinki. Next summer visitors to Vallisaari will for the first time be able to rent kayaks, in addition to enjoying guided tours or cycling. The island also has excellent facilities for summertime meetings in facilities created in old buildings in this beautiful natural setting.

The World Heritage Site Kvarken Archipelago is the only UNESCO natural heritage site in Finland. In the summer of 2018 the new Visitor Centre "The World Heritage Gateway" will open at the Replot Bridge.  In the summertime day cruises to the islands of Mickelsörarna or Valsörarna offer a memorable experience in the archipelago on a boat.

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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

National parks, national hiking areas and other protected areas provide the visitors with unforgettable moments, best sceneries and hiking and skiing facilities. Read more about the self-guided tours.

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Photo and test: Finnish Forest Association

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