Nature Sites

Open Your Heart to the Beauty of Nature

Nature Sites on Via Karelia

Via Karelia is a feast for nature lovers. En route you can find fine cultural sights, untouched wilderness, short and longer hiking routes and nature trails, water routes and lake sceneries, and observation towers for birdwatching and enjoying the view from above.

Via Karelia runs some 750km from the Gulf of Finland to southern parts of Lapland, representing a cross-section of different natural and cultural characteristics.

North of Lappeenranta, Via Karelia runs along the route of the watershed between Finland and Russia, and the land becomes less inhabited and more rugged, the upper north you travel.

The change of seasons, too, has it's own rhythm. The winter lasts one or two months longer in the north, stealing time from the summer. Days are of different lengths as well. In the Midsummer, north of the Arctic Circle in Salla, the sun shines through the night, and fails to show at all around Christmas time, even though there's a lighter period of five hours daily.

Even though Midsummer Night is still light in the south, sun goes down for about five hours. On Christmas Day, the sun barely comes above the horizon for about the same time.

You have chosen a route that has plenty to offer. Take your time and stop for a while, and take in the beauty of nature manifesting itself in so many ways. Open your heart to the beauty of nature.

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Nature sites on map

List of nature sites

Pieni Ritojärvi Lake

Level: (*) one bear The Pieni Ritojärvi Lake is a lovely destination for a day trip. The round trip trail, Ritojärven kierto (5.2 km), is a nice way to see…

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Lentua Nature Reserve

Level: (* *) two bears Lake Lentua is the largest unregulated lake in the basin of the Oulujoki river, and the most valuable example of lakeland nature in Kainuu. The…

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Änäkäinen Recreational Area

Level: (* *) two bears The Änäkäinen area in Lieksa has recreational fishing grounds surrounded by forests. Trees are logged only moderately and respecting the recreational values. The area is…

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Raesärkät Trail

Level (*) One bear Raesärkät in Nurmes is a lovely spot for a day-trip in a scenery of rolling ridges. The area has been named after a narrow stretch of…

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Koitajoki Nature Reserve

Level: (* *) two bears Koitajoki Nature reserve, east of Hattuvaara village nearby the border zone, is an excellent hiking site for wilderness lovers. The Koitajoki River runs calmly through…

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Juortanansalo – Lapinsuo Mire Reserve

Level: (* *) two bears The Juortanansalo – Lapinsuo Mire Reserve represents the real wilds of the Friendship Park. It is a genuine find for hikers, who love mires and…

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The Friendship Park and the Friendship Nature Reserve

Friendship Park is a network of nature conservation areas established in the Kuhmo and Suomussalmi region. It has five Nature Reserves, each independently presented in this site. On Via Karelia,…

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Kieverrysjärvet

Level: (*) one bear Kieverrysjärvet is a recreational area in southern part of Kuhmo close to Via Karelia and where the Russian border reaches it’s most western spot. This is…

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Ruunaa Nature Reserve

Level (*) One bear The Ruunaa Nature Reserve, right next to the Russian border, on the other side of the Ruunaa Hiking Area and the Lieksajoki River, is mainly untouched…

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Ukonsärkkä

Level: ( * ) one bear Ukonsärkkä in the very eastern part of Lieksa is perfect for a day trip. There’s a lovely ridge and old forests. Ukonsärkkä is a…

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Koli National Park

Level: (* * *) Three bears The scenery over Lake Pielinen from the top of Koli is one of the most Finnish sights you can imagine. The area is also…

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Jauhovaara

Level: (*) one bear Recreational Forest of Jauhovaara is in south-western Kuhmo. Known as a vantage point, the peak of Jauhovaara is 253.2 metres above the sea level. The north…

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Jämäsvaara Recreation Area

Level (*) One bear Almost the entire catchment area of Lake Jämäsjärvi at the centre of the Jämäsvaara area is in it’s natural state; no logging or ditching. On the…

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Siikalahti

Level: ( * * *) three bears The Siikalahti wetland on lake Simpelejärvi is the most valuable bird wetland in inner Finland and an internationally appreciated site. In May and…

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Peurajärvi Recreational Area

Level: (* *) two bears Peurajärvi is the go-to place for families. The area is small and quiet enough for a day-trip, but there’s enough to see and do to…

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Mujejärvi Hiking Area

Level (* *) Two bears The Mujejärvi area in Nurmes is perfect for hikers after some peace and quiet. The area is close to Peurajärvi Recreational Area, but on the…

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Ruunaa Hiking Area

Level: (* *) two bears Ruunaa is best known for its rapids. The rapids on the Lieksanjoki River take you from Matkalahti to Ruunaa Nature Centre in Naarajoki over some…

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Murhisalo Nature Reserve

Level: (* * ) Two bears Murhisalo has forever been the hunting and gathering grounds for Finland’s only White Karelian villages, Kuivajärvi and Hietajärvi. There are still signs of hunting…

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Patvinsuo National Park

Level: * * * (three bears) Have you ever wandered on a large swamp? It’s an experience worth having. The size of the Patvinsuo swamp makes its horizon look like…

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Jonkerinsalo Nature Reserve

Level: (* *) two bears Jonkerinsalo Nature Reserve is in southern Kuhmo, on the western side of the canoeing route on river Jongunjoki. The area is ruggedly beautiful, characterized by…

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Iso-Palonen – Maariansärkät Nature Reserve

Level: (* * ) Two bears The Iso-Palonen – Maariansärkät Nature Reserve is one of the five nature reserves of the Friendship Park in Kuhmo. Situated in eastern Kuhmo, the…

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Reposuo Area

Level: (*) one bear Reposuo is a valuable bird area and a mire conservation site by the Pankakoski village. It’s a great place for observing bird nesting habits and migrating…

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Hiidenportti National Park

Level: (* * *) Three bears Hiidenportti National Park is situated between two water systems. The Park was established in 1982 to preserve the regional wilderness. The main attraction of…

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Petkeljärvi National Park

Level: (* * *) Three bears The Petkeljärvi National Park in Ilomantsi is the smallest one in Finland, but it’s packed with the best examples of ridges, pine heaths and…

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Teerisuo – Lososuo

Level: (* *) two bears Teerisuo – Lososuo Mire Reserve, south-west from Kuhmo is located by the road 5284 from Kuhmo to Valtimo. The area is a prime example of…

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Elimyssalo Nature Reserve

Level: ( * * ) Two bears Close to the national border, east of Kuhmo, Elimyssalo is the home of the second coming of wild forest raindeer. The species had…

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Säynäjäsuo – Matalasuo Mire Reserve

Level: (* *) two bears The area is one of the largest swamp areas in Kainuu, with very diversified bird species. Lake Säynäjärvi and smaller ponds add variety. The area…

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Lauttavaara Nature Study Forest

Level (*) One bear The Lauttavaara Nature Study Forest is used by Metsähallitus to give school groups and other visitors an insight into biodiversity and environmentally friendly forestry methods. You…

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