A Backpacker’s Guide: Must do things in Finland
A Backpacker’s Guide: Must do things in Finland
Travel hungry? Planning your bucket list? Try Finland!
1. Spend time Hiking one of Finland’s many national parks
Finland has a variety of national parks for you to explore! From dense snow-covered forests to ancient craggy hills and rushing river valleys. Plugging out and going on a hike to enjoy one of its many serene landscapes is on our must try list for avid nature lovers and adventurous city folk alike.
Our personal recommendation for a must hike is Repovesi National Park.
Sitting at just a couple of hours north of Finland’s capital, this ex-logging area has recovered and is now a pristine landscape brimming with an abundance of animals and pine trees. It features some of the highest rock climbing routes, amazing hanging bridges and a steady flow of lakes and streams. Best of all, if you ever so fancy a break, there’s a plethora of observation decks for you to enjoy the gorgeous landscape view.
If you ever feel the need to plug out and relax away from urban life, one of Finland’s many national parks has to be at the top of your list!
2. Go off the beaten path with Käsivarsi Wilderness Area
Fancy a wilderness hike or cross-country ski across the open landscape? Explore Käsivarsi Wilderness Area with its wide open landscapes dotted with mountainous peaks. The Käsivarsi Wilderness Area’s uplands are perfect for both true hiking enthusiasts and inexperienced hikers alike. Services along the larger Nordkalotten trail also ensure that new hikers can enjoy the wilderness.
Our personal recommendation is to try out cross-terrain skiing and ice fishing in the winter. While there are no marked ski trails, there are plenty of markings you can follow and the thick crust of snow usually is hard enough to ski anywhere. For a break, trying fishing for trout in still waters requires no permit, making it convenient with a true feeling of the wilderness. Don’t forget to grab a camera as the picturesque landscape dotted by the mountainous background is the perfect selfie.
If you can handle the cold, the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area with its well-groomed trails is a must try!
3. Camp under the Northern lights in Europe’s last wilderness, Lapland
Image: https:// visitfinland.com//
The higher up north you go the more likely it is to see Northern Lights. The colder temperatures in the north have resulted in lower population density and lower light pollution which makes it the perfect place to view the Northern Lights. Book a Northern Lights tour with huskies or camp out in the wilderness yourself to stand a chance to see the emerald green colours of the Norther Lights.
For those on a lower budget, we recommend you staying at Ivalo. This small town is accessible by both road and air and is high up north enough for you to stand a decent chance to see the Northern Lights nightly but also not so high up north that you have to spend a fortune just getting there. This place offers relatively cheap accommodation allowing you to enjoy the beautiful night sky with the warmth of a home.
A must have for every bucket list, visit Lapland to have the experience of a lifetime under the majestic Northern Lights.
4. Challenge yourself with the Hetta-Pallas Hiking Trail
One of Finland’s oldest hiking trails and first National parks, this hiking trail introduces to visitors some of the most beautiful sceneries Finland has to offer. Passing over fells and crossing down into ravines before giving hikers yet another breath-taking view over the top of the next fell. While Hetta-Pallas residing in the northernmost part of Finland gives hikers extremely good odds of seeing northern lights, freezing temperatures may deter naught but the hardiest of adventure seekers.
Taking an average of 4 days to cross from hut to hut and starting at the stunning Lake Ounasjärvi, hikers can choose to book a hut. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned hiker, you better be well-prepared to weather the unforgiving conditions that the Finish fells have to offer.
Challenge yourself and be rewarded with breath taking views atop Finland’s picturesque fells at Hetta-Pallas Hiking Trail.
5. Go on a Pilgrim Walk with St. Olav’s Way
Making up a total of 3000 kilometres of tranquil scenery through scenic villages brimming with cultural heritage, St Olav’s Way is Scandinavia’s network of Pilgrim hiking routes. Based on the historical routes of Saint Olav Haraldsson, one of Norway’s ancient kings and distant relative to present day King Harald V, this trek will surely bring you back to medieval days.
Not to be fooled, this will be no walk in the park. The different routes of St. Olav’s Way will pass through open grasslands and challenging mountain passes alike. You can opt for the easier 4-5 day hiking itineraries should you just want to see different cultural sites and mingle with some of the locals at the different hostels dotted along the route.
However, planning would be required should you seek the 4 week long challenging route. You’ll need to carry days’ worth of food at times as well as arrange ahead for accommodation at the various different hostels along your journey. This is not a common route and many places may not be prepared for a visitor to suddenly arrive. At the end of your journey, you will be rewarded with a letter of completion for your efforts.
If you have plenty of time off or wish to clear your mind before a life-changing event be sure to mark St Olav’s Way on your map and get your calendars ready!
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