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This ‘land of a thousand lakes’ is a hiker’s dream, with swathes of wilderness and wetlands, fjells and forests, and the bonus of hardly another soul in sight. Walks in Finland have you warmed by the ethereal midnight sun, camping under the Aurora Borealis, roaming amongst forests that glow orange in autumn and striding out on boardwalks across vast marshes.
If it is a true connection to nature you’re hankering for, you’ve come to the right place. The ‘Everyman’s Right’ means that you can wild camp wherever you please in one of Finland’s 40 national parks. Experience the sight of reindeer and elk wandering the lonely, beautiful fjells from your sleeping bag.Discover a land forged by monumental glaciers during the last Ice Age, where wolves and brown bears still roam, where wilderness huts allow you to disappear off grid and where your only company is the evocative scent of the taiga forests. Hikes in Finland not only stir the soul, they leave it soaring.
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In fact, Finland has over 160,000 lakes. Many of the best hiking trails in Finland are found in the southern Lakeland region, where the blend of islands, forests and convoluted shores make for a beguiling spectacle. The remnants of the monumental glacial forces that dominated Finland in the last Ice Age, it is a uniquely lovely landscape.
From the national parks close to Helsinki, to the trails found around Saimaa, one of Europe’s largest lakes, accessibility is king. Nowhere are the strenuous uphills of some of its Scandinavian neighbours. Instead the hills are modest, the forests sublime and the views just as spectacular.
The thought of Lapland evokes something magical, perhaps due to its association with flying reindeers and labouring elves. Whilst there aren’t actually any elves and the reindeers are very much confined to the ground, Lapland is still a region that will have you giddy with childlike excitement.
Hikes in Finland don’t get much more intrepid than those found here. The sheer size of its national parks and wealth of irresistible trails mean that you are unlikely to meet many others during your adventures. What you will meet is stunning wildlife, from the many fish that swim the rivers and lakes to wolverines and elk amongst the trees. Accommodation ranges from rustic cabins to world-class spa resorts, so there’s something to suit every taste and bank balance.
Every season promises to spoil you with distinct phenomena. In the south, the main hiking season runs from May to September, when the trails are generally free of snow. Autumn is particularly spectacular; it is a time the Finns call ‘ruska’, when the low sun casts an orange glow across the woodlands.
In the north, the hiking season is limited to the summer months. In its upper extremes, the sun does not set for an incredible 73 days, so you won’t need your head torch. With the right equipment, such as crampons or spikes, it is possible to do some incredible winter walks in Finland. This is also the best time to marvel at the majesty of the Aurora Borealis.
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