Punkaharju Nature Reserve

Sights and scenery Walking Canoeing Boating Fishing Pick berries and mushrooms Birdwatching Biking Ski cross-country on maintained trails Snowshoeing Tour skating
Photo: Auvo Sapattinen

Punkaharju esker ridge has been an internationally known tourist destination already for two hundred years due to the natural beauty of its landscape. It is one of Finland's national landscapes and the beautiful lake views seen between its majestic pines are still the biggest attraction of the area. The area's landscape is easy to explore along marked trails and the paths which crisscross along the ridge. The Puruvesi and Pihlajavesi lakes shimmer brightly between majestic pines on summer days. It is not difficult to understand why Punkaharju Esker draws visitors from one year to the next.

Punkaharju Esker Nature Reserve is an example of esker formation at its most beautiful. The peculiarity of this area is that it has such a long history as a tourist attraction and its cultural and historic sites. The area's natural features have been maintained with special emphasis on landscape values. The Kokonharju Old-growth Forest is the spot in the area, which is closest to its natural-state and no forestry or management is practiced there. Punkaharju Esker Nature Reserve is one of the world's oldest reserves, as the area was named a crown-owned park already in 1843. The area received its present status as a nature reserve in 1991. Management of the nature reserve was transferred from the Forest Research Institute to Metsähallitus at the beginning of 2008.