Koli, Lieksa, Juuka
Between the steep hills of Koli and the islands of Lake Pielinen are hidden some of Finland's most diverse nature attractions.
In addition to Finland's most beloved national landscape, Koli and the surrounding areaoffer many exceptional nature destinations and experiences.
Did you know, for example, that at least 4,078 different species have been found in Koli National Park, more than in any other Finnish National Park
Nature Attractions in Koli
Koli National Park
Welcome to the most famous national landscape in Finland! Breathtaking scenery, which has inspired many Finnish artists, white quartzite bedrock, majestic Lake Pielinen, landscape marked by traditional slash and burn agriculture practises combined with an extensive network of trails and services make Koli an ideal destination for a one day outings or longer exploration. Koli National Park hs about 80km of marked trails, including a 1.5km tour of the highest koli peaks and other nature trails and circuits ranging from 3 to 8 km in length. The Herajärvi Trail through the park consists of three circuits between 30 to 60 km in length, makingit possible to hike for several days.
Useful advice and information about hiking in the national park is available from the Koli Nature Centre Ukko, which offers tourist and hiking information, as well as information about other protected areas and nature attractions in the region. There are also exhibitions, a cafe, a souvenir shop, conference facilities. National Park’s rental hut reservations, and fishing licences.
The Most Famous National Landscape
Koli invites us from generation to generation to admire the symbol of Finnishness, the country's most famous and beloved national landscape. The iconic landscape of water, sky and forests can be enjoyed on the Koli National Park's core, the 1.4-kilometer Peak Tour, which goes through Koli's highest peaks, Ukko-Koli, Akka-Koli and Paha-Koli. The same route takes you to the highest point of southern Finland and the oldest soil in Europe, which tells us the evolutionary history of our planet over millions of years.
There is a network of marked trails in the Koli National Park and around it with a length of about 80 kilometers, which range from 1.5 to 61 kilometers. There are places for campfire, lean-tos and cabins along the routes. The Herajärvi Hiking Trail is the longest of the trails, the beauty among Finnish long hiking trails. It traverses the forest covered hills and rewards the hiker with a variety of landscapes. The scenery overlooks the great Lake Pielinen or the smaller Herajärvi.
Räsävaara View Tower
From Räsävaara view tower, the scenery is admired from more than 300 meters above sea level. The tower itself is only 18 meters high, but it is on the verge of a hill. The tower offers stunning views on the hills of Koli and on Lake Pielinen. From the tower you can visualize the whole Koli National Park better than anywhere else. Built in 1998, the tower is located about 5 km from the village of Koli. A great destination for a summer sunset!
The view tower is marked on the Koli Hiking Trails & Services map, which is sold at the tourist information points in the area.
Finland's fourth largest lake, Pielinen, is as integral part of Koli as the famous Koli hills. Explore the wilderness lake Pielinen by fishing, kayaking, boating and SUP boarding, and during the winter on the Koli–Vuonislahti Ice road, husky safaris or skiing.
The islands Pieni-Hölö and Iso-Hölö that rise from Pielinen in Koli are known as the most visited islands in Finland, and there is a long and narrow chain of esker islands in Koli. On the islands of Koli National Park, you can hike and camp in marked locations.
Devil’s Church (Pirunkirkko) is a 33-metre-long Z-shaped boulder cave. Here you can experience Koli’s geological history ranging millions of years. This natural landmark, a part of the national park, is next to Rantatie Road and close to Lake Pielinen, 11.5 km south of Koli Harbour. Many mystical beliefs are attached to the place. Pirunkirkko is marked on the Koli Hiking and Services Map, which is available from local information points. The cave is a natural attraction; visitors entering the cave do so at their own risk.
Waterfall Tarhapuro is nestled in the middle of a beautiful lush forest. The waterfall is most beautiful in the springtime. As you approach the waterfall, you can hear the rumble of water at hundreds of meters. When you get there, you can see the water flowing from the cliff over 15 meters high, though there is only a few meters of free fall. The path to Tarhapuro leaves from Rantatie, about a kilometer through the old forest. . It is marked on the Koli Hiking Trails and Services map, which is sold at the tourist information points in the area.
Sacrificial Crevice (uhrihalkeama), an ancient sacrificial site, is at the northern end of the Break Sokos Hotel Koli. Many coins have been thrown into the crevice, and on the rock surface, you can see drawings and names dating back a hundred years. The sacrificial site is protected by the Antiquities Act. Ylä-Kolintie 39, 83960 Koli.
Meadows and Cultural Environments
Real treasures in Koli are the meadows that are inheritances from the old farming era. The wild flowers blooming in the meadows of Mäkränaho, Purolanaho, Ikolanaho, Havukanaho and Mustaniityt fascinate the visitor with their beauty. Forests on the hills also contain valuable meadows, including Vaaralanaho, Turusenautio, Soikkeli and Upper and Lower Murhi. In many places you can still see stone foundations and other remains of old settled areas. You will find the most lively cultural environment in Ollila, Turula, Vaarala, Mattila and Lakkala, which are still managed by pasture farming, slash-and-burn agriculture and mowing.
Nature Attractions in Lieksa
Ruunaa Hiking Area
The Ruunaa hiking area in the eastern part of Lieksa near the eastern border of the country is a favorite destination for fishermen, rafters and hikers. The area receives nearly 80,000 visitors each year, and in 2017 more than 7,000 fishing and hunting permits were purchased. In the summer, Ruunaa specializes in white water rafting trips.
Ruunaa Hiking Centre, Neitikoskentie 47, 81750 Pankakoski, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 13 533 170, +358 405 795 684, nationalparks.fi/ruunaa
Patvinsuo National Park
A peaceful hiking destination and a wilderness area. Patvinsuo National Park is an internationally important mire conservation and research area, with old-growth forests and lakes with sandy shores. The area is best suited for one to two-day hikes or day trips. The emblem animal of Patvinsuo National Park, the Bear, tends to avoid people and is rarely seen, whereas beavers and their dams can be seen along almost all the park’s streams. Swans, cranes, geese, black grouse and other fowl, and birds of prey live in the park. Patvinsuo National Park has around 80 kilometres of marked, easy trails. More ambitious hikers can extend their hike on the Karelian Circuit trails. Patvinsuo a perfect place to observe the Finnish natural wilderness. Bird-watching towers and platforms can be found at Teretinniemi and Surkansuo.
The main information point is Suomu Nature Information Hut, which is open from May to September. See opening hours: www.nationalparks.fi. Suomuntie 54, 81650 Hattuvaara, tel. +358 20 639 5654.
Nature Attractions in Juuka
In Juuka, neighboring Koli, there are several nature and hiking attractions that are perfect for day trips. For example, Juukaharju with beautiful eskers and the peaceful surroundings of the Keihäsjoki Nature Reserve, or Vaikkojoki, known for kayaking and fishing, are great places to visit. Along the river you can visit the Myllykoski lean-to.
See more Nature Attractions in Juuka.