Gulf of Finland National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers and a great fishing destination. For those looking for culture, the park's islands have oodles of war history and numerous vibrant villages to explore.
Parts of the park are closed to the public during certain times of the year. Check them out on the map before heading for a trip. Please respect the signs!
The best way to explore the park is by boat. Whether you are into sailing or motorboats, the outlying islands of Finland's easternmost coastal regions offer exciting adventures far away from the mainland and people. Boats can be moored in marinas on the bigger islands of the park. Moorings and services for boaters are also available on the nearby islands of Tammio, Kaunissaari and Haapasaari. The nearest bigger ports are Kotka and Hamina. Read more about services for boaters.
There are also ways to explore the park if you do not own a boat: A regular ferry service operates between Hamina and Ulko-Tammio at weekends in June and July. There are also taxi and charter boats in the area.
Fishing is a great way to relax.
The eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland are famous for the many species of seabirds that nest there. The birdwatching tower on Ulko-Tammio Island is one of the best places in the park for listening to the sounds of beating wings and seeing the majestic spring migration when arctic waterfowl and waders flock northwards for the summer by the hundreds of thousands in May.
- Geocaching: The sea makes geocaching in the park especially exciting and challenging.
- Skiing: Skiing is the best way to explore the park in the winter. Watch out for thin ice!
- Nature Information Hut: Kaunissaari Nature Information Hut has an exhibition about the park. Haapasaari Nature Information Hut introduces visitors to the flora and fauna of the outlying islands and explains the implications of the park's location on the edges of Fennoscandia. The huts are open in the summer.
- Canoeing: There are no marked boating or canoeing routes in the park and canoeing is only recommended for experienced paddlers. You can bring your own tent and stay at a camping site or try the wilderness huts on the islands of Ulko-Tammio and Koivuluoto. Paddlers planning a longer excursion are advised to contact local canoeing clubs (www.melontajasoutuliitto.fi, in Finnish) for information beforehand.
- Sights and Scenery: For those interested in war history, there is a fortification from the days of the Continuation War (1941-1944) on Ulko-Tammio Island. The island's observation tower has magnificent views across the sea. The views from the observation tower on Mustaviiri Island are also breathtaking. Mustaviiri Island is home to a mysterious stone labyrinth and a tiny World Heritage Site: one of the original station points of Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations. The park also offers many other unforgettable experiences: Feel the power of the sea, watch the migration of arctic birds, visit vibrant villages on the islands, and learn about underwater flora and fauna, seals and the history of fishing, smuggling and seal hunting in the area.
- Walk on Marked Trails: Ulko-Tammio Nature Trail (3 km) showcases the park's flora and fauna and the area's history. Mustaviiri Nature Trail (1.6 km) teaches you about island ecosystems and the area's cultural heritage.
- Guided Group Tours: There are numerous entrepreneurs offering guided tours in the park.
- Diving: There is more to see under the surface! Diving is a great way to explore the underwater world.
- Voluntary Work: Volunteering in Gulf of Finland National Park is a great way to combine valuable work and spending time by the sea. One way to contribute to the park's maintenance is to come along to the annual hay-making event.