Best hiking trails in Finland

Find out about the best hiking trails in Finland

|August 23, 2021

With no less than 40 national parks throughout Finland, the opportunities for spending time outdoors are limitless. A holiday in Finland is guaranteed to give you access to a wealth of spectacular walking routes and rewarding hiking trails.


woman hiking in front of the lake in summer

Trails for hiking are everywhere in Finland. Since they’re well marked and well maintained, you can have a truly amazing time exploring it on foot.

Getting started

With the majority of national parks in Finland having marked trails that vary in length, there is something for every level of walker. Nature trails provide information about the nature and history of the area and are shorter and less strenuous, while multi-day or even multi-week backpacking hiking experiences a perfect for anyone searching for a more robust hike.

map with the information for hiking in the forest

Check weather conditions before you plan a hike and research the trail to make sure you can travel there and back responsibly and safely.  

Permits for hiking in Finland are not required and national parks have no entrance fees.  

If you plan to camp, firstly find out whether it’s permitted where you plan to go. Also, make sure you have adequate supplies to camp safely.  

Solitary hiking isn’t recommended and you should make others aware of exactly where you plan to walk and when you plan to return.

Popular hiking areas

With a plethora of popular hiking regions and trails, here are some of the best:

Kuusamo’s karhunkierros

hiking bridge in oulanka national park

Often referred to as Bears Trail or Bear’s Ring, this is arguably the most popular hike in Finland. It takes you through and past some beautiful scenery in Oulanka National Park. With raging rivers and steep cliffs and canyons, the views aren’t for the fainthearted and you should always follow the orange paint that marks the trail. The longer route is 82 km and can take up to a week to complete.

Shorter Bear’s Trail

canyon river in autumn in oulanka park

An 82 km hike isn’t for everyone. This track is just 12 km long, takes up to 6 hours to complete, and still gives hikers amazing views and plenty of fresh air.

Oulanka National Park

This park can be a challenge if you’re not properly kitted out, but with the right boots and clothing, your hike will see you pass swamps, ancient forests, rocky pathways and steep, imposing cliffsides. 

With most trails easy to walk, some do present challenges in the form of rivers to cross and uphill terrain to ascend, but the additional effort is definitely worth it.

Weather conditions around Kuusamo

snowshoeing in sunny winter forest view in finland

With a more continental climate than the rest of Finland, this region often experiences snow on the ground for up to 200 days of the year. This needs to be accounted for if you’re planning to travel here. The highest levels of snowfall typically occur between February and March, and the temperature can fall dramatically to -25°C during the winter.  

The sun is often out and shining brightly 24 hours a day in June and July. Spring and autumn can bring many changeable weather conditions.

Hiking the fjells of Saariselka

forest hiking path in finland

Near Urho Kekkonen National Park, this hiking area is spectacularly scenic. Full of glistening lakes and fast-running rivers, you can even climb the peaks of Saariselka fjells to get a panoramic view. While not a national park itself, this area is definitely worth a visit and with more than 200 km of trails, it’s easy to make the transition to Urho Kekkonen National Park from here.

The trails of Nuuksio National Park

misty lake view in the summer morning in nuuksio national park

Just 30 km from Finland’s capital, Helsinki, getting to Nuuksio National Park is easy by road. Because it’s so close to the city, it’s perpetually popular with visitors. With crystal clear lakes and ponds, steep cliffsides and magical, ancient forests, trails are clearly marked and suitable for families with kids.  

A good first choice for novice hikers, the route of Maahisenkierros can also be accessed by wheelchair. There are also plenty of places to stop along the way and enjoy the scenery. At just 2 km long, you can venture further into the park should you wish.  

Opening up to ancient forests and swamps, the Punarinnankierros route enables you to spot endangered flora and fauna. Some species can only be found in this region. At 2 km in length, you can also take this hike further into the national park if you want to.

Nuuksio National Park

While generally easy to hike and trek, the trails in this park do feature some steep inclines and slippery downward slopes. Choose your trail wisely if you’re hiking as a family or are a beginner. Try to visit this park in the summer or autumn months, when both the weather and wildlife are at their best.  

As with many of the trails throughout Finland, there are opportunities to extend beyond the trail and create your own walking adventure. Just remember to tell others where you’re going and take appropriate clothing. There are also opportunities to try out rock climbing, bouldering, fishing and cave exploration.

The trails of Urho Kekkonen National Park

sunny wooden hiking path in urho kekkonen park

Nature is really in its purest form here in northern Lapland and this National Park offers hikers a wide variety of trails for all levels of experience and capabilities. There are shorter, circular trails such as Ahopää (14 km), Iisakkipää (3.7 km), Kirunapolku (6 km) and Luulammi (11 km), each of which are great for beginners and families with children. If you’re up for something more challenging, take a longer wilderness trail, and get off the beaten track for a few days. If you’re an experienced hiker, the Luirojärvi hiking tour (70-80 km) and the Ruijanpolku (35 km) trail might be a good choice to experience Finland’s true wilderness.  

When exploring here, skis can be used during the winter months, but your feet and a pair of sturdy hiking boots are more than suitable for the rest of the year.

Holin National Park and the Herajarvi Trail

Available only when the ground isn’t frozen during May and November, this trail isn’t for beginners and the full version is 61 km long. Made of two circular routes  the Northern Herajärvi Trail (35 km) and the Southern Herajärvi Trail (30 km)  you’ll need to allocate at least three days for the full distance. This trail takes you around Lake Herajärvi, over hills and through forests, and up the steep inclines. It will be worth the huff and the puff as you’re rewarded with amazing views from the top.

Pallas Yllästunturi National Park and the Hetta-Pallas Hiking Trail

Established in 1934, this trail is one of the oldest in Finland’s national parks. With the hiking season beginning at the end of June and lasting until mid-October, there are routes for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

 

For a truly memorable hiking experience, take a trip to Finland and visit any one (or all!) of its 40 national parks. You haven’t experienced the wilderness until you’ve experienced Finland’s wilderness!

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