If you are searching for a destination where you can fully enjoy nature, consider Finland. This northern country has a special bond with nature.
With forests covering 70% of their landmass and more than 180 000 lakes, Finland’s nature makes up the largest number of national parks in Europe, covering more than 10 000 square kilometres.
According to the World Health Organisation, Finland has the cleanest air in Europe, and places 3rd in the world. Finland is one of the countries that has a rare possibility to truly coexist with nature. Given the relatively small population and the fact that 70% of the country is forested land, it seems only reasonable that Finns have a deep appreciation for their space and the nature in Finland!
Even in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, there are many lakes and green areas. Animals such as rabbits and squirrels live in proximity to people and are often seen on a daily basis.
In Finland, most of the electricity is produced in an environmentally friendly way. As countries around the world have set goals for reducing their carbon emissions in a joint effort to combat climate change; Finland’s goal is to create a carbon-neutral society by equalising carbon dioxide emissions and activities by the year 2050.
Sustainable tourism is thriving, as municipalities and the tourism industry work on a variety of initiatives. As nature areas and activities are a central aspect of Finnish culture, the possibilities truly are endless. Sustainable accommodation options are a complementary pairing to sustainable tourism, and there are some amazing options available in Finland.
The term, ‘Everyman’s right’ is a prime example of Finland’s ability to coexist with nature. In Finland, everyone has the right to enjoy nature. Land and waterways are accessible. Everyman’s right applies to the freedom granted that every person has the right to access nature, can pick the berries or mushrooms, as long as one respects the boundaries of private residences and posted restrictions. Example; picking berries and mushrooms in the forest or parks is permitted, but not allowed in another person’s residence area, or yard. This basic concept of freedom applies to all on Finnish soil.
Blueberry picking usually takes place late July through late August. If you go foraging for edible mushrooms, the season runs between mid-August through early November. The natural blueberries are small, but sweet and is a favourite baked in late summer blueberry pies. Picking berries is a Finnish pleasure, so do not be surprised to see a forest full of Finns with their buckets and baskets!
A few recommended spots for visiting nature in Finland are;
Nuuksio National Park
Nuuksio National Park is located in proximity to Helsinki, Finland’s capital city. Travel takes approximately 1 hour travel time using public transportation methods, from Helsinki. One can get there by taking transport from the Helsinki Central Station to the Espoo Station, and then a 30 minute bus ride to the national park.
Nuuksio National Park offers nice restaurants, information centres and well maintained trails that are in harmony with nature. In addition to trekking, there are also available canoe rentals. Swimming in the lake is permitted, and a sauna lodge is also provided so that guests are able to fully enjoy nature in Finnish style.
Berry picking is also possible at this national park. Everyman’s rights experienced first hand, when the author of this post went berry picking, outfitted in rubber boots and long trousers/long sleeves for a day in the nature of Finland. Blueberries can be difficult to find at first. Blueberries are low to the ground, and offer black fruits – many to a plant. These low lying plants are generally found on the sides of walking paths in nature and have many berries per plant.
One of the highlights of Nuuksio National Park is their ‘Eco Camp’. Also referred to as ‘Night in the Tree’, this is considered to be the most carbon-friendly campsite in the world! What makes this sustainable accommodation option so unique is that one is spending the night in a tent suspended in the trees! Seeming as something that would exist only in the imagination, sleeping while suspended high in the trees is something few actually get to experience, and a wonderful night to remember!
The 2020 season has availability starting 1 June, until 30 September. Reservations are required.
1-2 prs for 3 prs Stingray Tentsile tree tent+ Trillium Hammock 180 EUR
3 prs for 3 prs Stingray Tentsile tree tent+ Trillium Hammock 240 EUR.
・ Tree tent + hammock
・ Sleeping bag, sleeping bag sheet, towel
・ Breakfast at the restaurant Haltia
・ Tickets for the main and special exhibitions at the Finnish Nature Center Haltia
-Tent huts for common dwellings, campfire firewood, teapots, cups, plates, tea, mustards, serviettes, tables and benches for tent areas.
・ Indoor toilet and shower
・ Additional services:
Evening snack basket: water, sausage, mustard, sandwich, tea, chocolate, serviette. 20 EUR / 2 people.
Indian canoe rental for 2 people: 40 EUR / 3 hours
Click here for details!
Lake Saimaa is located in the southeastern area of Finland. This lake is quite famous for being the home of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. This rare species of seal lives only in this lake. There are currently only 310 of these animals, and there are various programmes and activities in the local area to increase that number.
As with all endangered species, keeping distance is necessary to avoid stressing the animals. Only electric boats are used for touring the lake, in order to minimise the impact on the seals as much as possible. By utilising electric boats, there are no additional environmental pollutants created and the sound is quiet. It is possible to rent an individual canoe, but one must be certain to observe them only from a sufficient distance away as to not create undue stress for the animal.
The month of May is considered to be the ideal time to observe the Saimaa ringed seals. In May, Finland is moving into maximum daylight hours, so even in the evenings visibility is still very clear. Lakeland GTE is the local tour operator. They use the electric boats and give careful attention to their impacts on nature and the environment.
Some tips for touring:
- Do not use disposable containers for meals
- Do not leave rubbish
- Strictly observe all rules of the national parks
- When it is necessary to use any kind of motor-based machine, use one with the lowest possible emissions and ensure that it has been properly maintained.
When visiting Finland, one may have images of Santa Claus and Moomins. There is more to the country than that. It is a highly conscientious country with a culture that coexists peacefully with the surrounding nature. Finland + nature = A truly unforgettable experience!
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