maalis 302024
Hiking and camping in Nuuksio National Park

One of the best things about visiting Helsinki, a modern capital, is that you can also go and see Finland’s nature while staying there. You don’t have to travel far away from the city.

There are some national parks that are good for a day trip and others that are best experienced on a camping trip.

Finland’s nature can be split into three main categories: forest and lakes, the coast, and the higher hills of Lapland.

You can experience two of those three while visiting Helsinki.

Nuuksio National Park

Nuuksio National Park is the best destination to experience the forest and lakes on a day trip from Helsinki, or on one or two night camping trip.

The main trails and the campfires on them can be busy especially on weekends, but if you go with a guide who takes you to the quiet side of the national park then it’s really, really good.

There is no point spending hours traveling further than Nuuksio for a day trip. It’s better to spend those hours relaxing in nature.

Nuuksio National Park hiking tour from Helsinki – Finnish Friend

Nuuksio National Park camping tour from Helsinki – Finnish Friend

Nuuksio National Park snowshoe hike in winter from Helsinki – Finnish Friend

Winter camping in Finland, Nuuksio National Park – Finnish Friend

Repovesi National Park

Repovesi National Park offers the best things in Southern Finland if you want to travel farther than Nuuksio and you want to spend few days camping in nature.

It has the best views from high rocks within few hours from Helsinki, you’d have to travel 5 to 6 hours from Helsinki to Koli to get better views than at Repovesi. Repovesi is in a region we call Lake Finland, because there are so many clear lakes.

Nuuksio is the place to go for a day hike from Helsinki and Repovesi is the place to go for three day camping trip from Helsinki.

In winter you can stay in traditional heated huts to have the luxury of a warm place to sleep in.

Repovesi National Park camping tour from Helsinki – Finnish Friend

Repovesi National Park winter camping with heated huts – Finnish Friend

Helsinki Archipelago – As Good As National Parks

The second type of nature in Finland is at the coast with it’s archipelago. You can experience that too while visiting Helsinki.

There is no national park at the coast around Helsinki, but there is one place that used to be one of the first national parks in Finland before the second world war, where you can do about 10 km long hike, and another place where you can do about 20 km hike.

These places are perfect for experiencing the archipelago atmoshpere on a day trip from Helsinki. You can also camp in these destinations.

Not many tourists visit these places on the coast in winter, but they can be really cool with the frozen sea and beautiful sunsets.

Helsinki archipelago hiking tour – Finnish Friend

Helsinki archipelago camping tour – Finnish Friend

Other National Parks

There are other national parks within two hour drive from Helsinki, but if you’re just visiting Helsinki for few days to a week and don’t plan to stay in other locations for longer, then I don’t think they are worth traveling to. I’ll explain below.

What you need to understand is that the national parks are protected areas that represent the local nature, they are not necessarily special in the context of the whole country.

What this means is that two different national parks can have the same kind of environment and atmosphere. Going an hour farther than Nuuksio doesn’t get you two times better experience, it’s still forest and lakes.

And if you’ve got limited amount of time to see Finland’s nature near Helsinki, then the ones above are what you should see.

All the national parks are worth a visit and they have their unique things, if you live here and have been to Nuuksio and Repovesi 100 times already. But if you’re just visiting Helsinki, choose wisely.

Sipoonkorpi National Park is nearest to Helsinki and kind of easy to get to by public transport. Why not go there instead of Nuuksio? Because it doesn’t have as many lakes and especially with clear water like in Nuuksio, as large quiet side or as nice wild swimming or campfire spots.

Liesjärvi National Park is one and half hour drive away from Helsinki. That means it should be quiet and better than Nuuksio, right? No, because there’s a main road going right next to the national park so even if you’ve gone far away from Helsinki, the road noises are still annoying. It’s worse than in Nuuksio because the road is so close by. Also there isn’t less people because it’s further away, you see every hiker in that region goes there. It can be quieter than the main trails in Nuuksio, but if you go to the quiet side of Nuuksio then it’s better.

Torronsuo National Park is next to Liesjärvi so the same bad things apply. What’s great at Torronsuo is that it’s a large bog so it’s different to Nuuksio, but it’s also less good for hiking and there are no lakes to enjoy.

Valkmusa National Park is one and half hours away from Helsinki and it’s a large bog. There’s a 2 km long boardwalk trail over the bog and that’s it. Bogs are cool but it’s not worth traveling from Helsinki.

Teijo National Park is two hour drive away from Helsinki and it’s the same forest and lakes as in Nuuksio. The trails or the lakes aren’t any better than in Nuuksio, in fact the opposite if you go on the quiet side of Nuuksio, but there is a cool cable ferry to an island. Unfortunately it doesn’t really warrant the long drive and in the opposite direction you get to Repovesi with the same effort, that also has a cable ferry and a lot better lakes and views.

Päijänne National Park is mostly islands on the lake Päijänne two hours away from Helsinki. The only possibility for hiking is on the largest island that has a 10 km trail, you have to take a ferry or have a boat to get to the island. Length of the trail would make this a day hike destination but it’s too far from Helsinki for that. Camping trip would be very relaxed with short hikes to the campsites from the ferry. Great destination if you live in the region and own a boat or a kayak.

Kurjenrahka National Park is another bog, over two hour drive from Helsinki. Nice destination if you live in the region or are traveling through, but not worth the journey from Helsinki.

Isojärvi National Park is like Nuuksio and Repovesi with it’s forest and lakes, about three hours from Helsinki. Too far away for a day trip and smaller than Repovesi for camping trip and doesn’t have the views from high rocks that Repovesi is known for.

Tammisaari National Park is in the archipelago, one and half hour drive from Helsinki and two hour ferry ride away. Because you need to combine different methods of transport and their schedules, it’s better destination if you’re going to stay in the city of Raasepori before and after the national park visit. It is cooler archipelago destination than the places around Helsinki, but the Helsinki ones are better for a day trip or for one night camping.

Happy trails to everyone in all national parks and keep in mind these opinions are based on the premise that someone is visiting Helsinki with a limited amount of time!

Helsinki National Park post on Finnish Friend