Finland has some of the cleanest natural environments in the world. Eighty percent of Finland’s numerous lakes are rated ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for water quality and the World Health Organisation recently labelled Finland’s air quality as the best in the world. This means you can swim in Finland’s lakes or eat freshly caught lake fish without any fears of illness from pollution.
A large draw of summer activities in Finland is that they can take you deep into the unspoiled, remote countryside and almost entirely off the grid. Whether it’s kayaking to a distant island on the archipelago or hiking to a wilderness hut, you can completely immerse yourself in a natural landscape and relax far away from the stresses of modern life.
Finland’s everyman’s rights laws mean that you are free to hike, camp or pick wild berries or mushrooms anywhere in the country, even on privately owned land. If a road is blocked by a barrier then you are still free to cross it on foot or by bike. The only conditions are to respect the land, avoid people’s gardens or fields growing crops and to stay out of restricted areas that hold rare species or nesting birds. If you are brave enough, you are even free to go skinny-dipping in any form of water.
A remarkable thing about Finland is that even the largest cities have a lot of greenery and you are never too far away from the countryside even when you are in the middle of a city. Nuuksio National Park is only an hour away from Helsinki with regular coach services to the park, while the idyllic islands on the archipelago can be reached with a ferry connection from the south harbour next to the city centre. The city itself even has a large Central Park covering 1,000 hectares full of wildlife, nature trails and an ancient primeval forest.
Each of these national parks, nature trails and lakes offers a nearly endless amount of terrain to explore, ranging in everything from pine forests to swampland. There is a real sense of freedom while sailing, hiking or even just going for a stroll in the Finnish countryside and seeing where the trails will take you and what you will discover.
The natural, largely unspoiled sights are another large draw to Finland and provide an amazing backdrop to any summer activity. At the same time, while you are enjoying your chosen sport, you can take in green forests, clear lakes and towering mountains. Some of the best views in Finland can be reached by hiking at Koli National Park, kayaking across the Archipelago Sea or braving the steep rock faces at Repovesi National Park. At the end of the day, you can relax while taking in incredible sunsets or the unique beauty of the Midnight Sun.