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.
Nature sites on map
List of nature sites
The round-trip trail runs in the surroundings of Kontiolahti church village and on the waterfront of lake Höytiäinen. You’ll see forest trail, duckboards, narrow roads and a stretch of the main village street.Read more
The Herajärvi Trail is a round-trip trail, starting from the peak of Ukko-Koli. The trail runs partly in the Koli National Park. The trail goes around lake Herajärvi, on the south side of Koli. Marked in blue, the trail is a demanding one because of great differences in height.Read more
There’s a vast network of hiking trails around the Joutseno population centre. Many trails run in the vicinity of Myllymäki ski centre. One trail runs via Hinkanranta, following the shoreline of Saimaa to the Imatra Spa. Another branch takes you via Kähärilä village to Soskua floodgate, the Saimaa Canal.Read more
Kurkela is the go-to place in Finland, if you’re after black stork, black kite and greater spotted eagle, all nesting on the other side of the border. The tower is a great place for observing the migration of Arctic waterfowl, and especially in autumn, that of the birds of prey.Read more
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,…Read more
Taitajan taival is a Hiking Trail starting from the Petkeljärvi National Park and running to Mekrijärvi village north of Ilomantsi, and more specifically to Sissola, the home of folklore singer Simana Sissonen. The trail does not enter the Ilomantsi village, but there’s a connecting path (8km) to Ilomantsi at Hirsijärvi lean-to.Read more
In mid 2000s Parikkala had a development project ”Liiku Lintuinmaan luonnossa”. It was about repairing and constructing hiking routes. There are about a hundred kilometres of trails altogether. They are divided in three distinctive parts, each separately introduced. The first part is the 30km stage, Pöröpeikon polku – Parikkala.Read more
A service station in Uuro, Kontiolahti, in the crossing of roads 6 and 73, is the starting point to the Kolinpolku Trail. The route passes via the Kolvananuuro Nature Reserve to Kiviniemi and joins the Herajärven kierros Trail to Koli. En route, there are about 15 resting spots, maintained by municipality of Kontiolahti.Read more