Slow down – feel the nature

North Karelia provides excellent surroundings for recreation and relaxation for nature-lovers. Visitors to Karelia can find a broad spectrum of Finnish landscapes: rugged ridges, hills, marshes, backwoods, lakes and rivers with sandy beaches and islands galore. There are about 2000 lakes here, and about two-thirds of the area is covered with forests.


Four National Parks of North Karelia

Koli National Park, the official Finnish National Landscape is one of the most famous attractions in Finland. The landscape seems to continue forever and ever. But the options don’t end there. North Karelia is filled with beautiful nature and has several other National Parks too.

Petkeljärvi National Park, Patvinsuo National Park and Kolovesi National Park each have their own special nature and historical characteristics. Read more about each of them below.


Dive into the soul of Finnish Lakeland

North Karelia offers nature attractions for every taste. The hilly landscape hides hiking trails, year-round lake activities and  for example the Ruunaa Rapids that you can shoot with wooden boat in a traditional way. Whether you are searching for active holiday or relaxing atmosphere, let the professionals in our area take you to the adventure of your dreams!


In harmony with nature

For Karelians the natural environment has always been much more than merely a source of livelihood. In the ancient religions nature was sacred thing and the forces of the forests and waters were tangible things with which man had to live in harmony.

Everyman’s rights, the universal right of access enjoyed in Finland means freedom of movement in the countryside, including the right to pick wild berries and mushrooms. Some types of fishing are also included, but in many cases as hunting,  a license is required.

National Parks of North Karelia


Koli National Park

the official Finnish national landscape is one of the most famous attractions in Finland. There is a magnificent view over Lake Pielinen from the top of the Ukko-Koli hill. Koli provide fine settings for enjoyable outings and activities at any time of year.

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Petkeljärvi National Park

in Ilomantsi featuring forested sandy ridges among glimmering waterways offers excellent opportunities for canoeing, boating and hiking. There are also preserved military installations dating back to the Second World War.

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Patvinsuo National Park

in the areas of Lieksa and Ilomantsi is internationally important as a mire conservation and research area with old-growth forests and waterways with sandy shores. It is a peaceful hiking destination with about 80 kilometres of marked hiking trails.

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Kolovesi National Park

in Heinävesi is a paddler´s paradise. Rocky cliffs with ancient rock paintings rise over the picturesque narrow lake channel. If you are lucky you might see a Saimaa ringed Seal which is only found in the Saimaa lake district.

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Other nature attractions and activities


Herajärvi trail

runs on beautiful hills, woods and best lookout points. It goes through Koli National Park and around Lake Herajärvi. You can choose between 61 km, 35 km or 30 km trail. Hikers can admire on their way old farmyards, open fields and birch forests.

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Ruunaa Hiking Area

in Lieksa offers the magnificent Ruunaa Rapids and a large network of marked hiking trails. Enjoy an unforgettable adventure shooting the rapids! In Ruunaa, there is also a recreational fishing area.

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Taitajan Taival Hiking Trail

starts from the Petkeljärvi National Park and is 31 km long. Taitajan Taival is the oldest marked hiking route in North Karelia. It runs to Mekrijärvi village and from there, to lake Koitere.

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Hidden treasures of Koli

The national landscape of Koli is one of the most famous Finnish landscapes. However, the surroundings of Koli offer many other outstanding places. Take a look at these treasures of nature!

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From Guesthouse to Guesthouse

The Guesthouse to Guesthouse tour is a full service cross-country ski tour in North Karelia. Daily skiing distances are averaging 25 km. In this tour you get to see North Karelian countryside, local residents and culture. In the summer you can make the same tour by bike.

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Horse riding in North Karelia

Saddle up! North Karelian countryside has many stables where you can enjoy horse riding with Icelandic horses or the official Finnish breed, Finnhorse.

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