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hiking in finland - the best trails | ridestore magazine

Finland is every adventurer’s dream. If you’re after a true connection to nature, you’ve picked the right place. Head to the Arctic North and tundra of Lapland. Or, go east, where Finland meets Russia for boreal forests and stunning lakes. Down south, there’s also the island-peppered Baltic sea. Whichever part of Finland you choose, it’s clear you’ll find a hike worth remembering.

Check out our guide if you need some help narrowing down where to go. We’ve pulled together our top 9 walking routes and hiking trails through wetlands, wilderness, forests, and fells. These incredible hikes are guaranteed to knock your socks off (metaphorically, of course). Now, let’s get trekking! 

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Finland's top 9 trails

About Finland

We’re here to talk about the hikes, but before we dive into our trail recommendations, we want to give you a quick run-down of what you can expect from Finland’s geography and weather, so you can be prepared and bring the right gear for your trip.

Landscape

During the last Ice Age, thick glaciers covered Finland – or Suomi as it's known in its native language. Today, the Finnish landscape is pretty flat, with very few hills or Arctic fjells (mountaintops). In fact, Finland’s highest point is just 1,324 metres above sea level. 

Altitude might not be Finland’s forte. However, it certainly knows a thing or two about lakes and forests. Finland is known as ‘the Land of a Thousand Lakes’. Well, 180,000 lakes, to be precise! 

Forest also covers 75% of this Northern European country, and there are more than enough marshes and low-lying hills to explore. And don't forget about the saunas when you want a break from adventuring! There are over one million to choose from. Hmm, maybe that should be our next guide …

But that’s not all. Finland also has a whopping 40 national parks. And the even better news? There are no entrance fees! Each national park has marked trails varying in length, so you’re sure to find something to suit every hiking level. It’s not just national parks you’ll find here, though. There is also a beautiful coastal area such as the Kvarken Archipelago, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.

If you’re looking to go more off the beaten track, Finland certainly has the goods. To say there’s vast wilderness to explore is an understatement. Finding yourself in the middle of nowhere is often easy, but don’t worry, even if no one else is around, there are often well-marked trails to point you in the right direction. You’ll also find hundreds of open lean-to shelters and wilderness huts. These are in place for hikers, walkers, and backpackers to take a break or even sleep in, and are free to use! 

landscape - unsplash

Our top tip? Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the Finnish "Everyman’s Right". These are the rights and responsibilities everyone has when moving through Finland’s nature and apply to both locals and visitors. Of course, our favourite part is that you can wild camp in Finland’s national parks wherever you like. 

Weather 

For the weather, it’s worth noting which area you’re travelling to. As the landscape varies greatly from arctic fells to deep woods and coastal areas, so does the weather. Kuusamo, for example, has a more continental climate than other Finnish areas, with snow on the ground for up to 200 days every year. Maximum snowfall is between February and March when the temperatures can fall to a spine-tingling -25 degrees Celsius. If you arrive during this time, swap your hiking boots for snowshoes or cross-country skis. 

A quarter of Finland sits within the Arctic Circle. So, a portion of the country is shrouded in semi-darkness for most of the year. This gets more extreme the further north you go. However, this offers the chance to spot something quite mind-blowing in the winter months, the magical Northern Lights. 

Summer is the best time to hike in Finland as there are plenty of daylight hours (over 20 if you’re lucky!). Have you ever considered hiking at midnight under the summer sun? Now might be the time to try it.

However, summer is a brief season here with sometimes unpredictable weather, including cold downpours. And although it’s often light at night, temperatures can still plummet. So, always check the forecast before starting your hike – and don’t forget to pack a reliable, warm jacket (yes, even in the summer months!).

Finland’s top 9 hiking trails 

Findland has so many wonderful trails to choose from that it can quickly be overwhelming. To make things easier, we've selected our favourites from all over the country with varying lengths and difficulties, so there's something for everyone.

Karhunkierros Trail (Bear’s Ring)

Karhunkierros Trail (Bear’s Ring) - unsplash

Trail length: 12km (approx. 6 hours)
Difficulty: Advanced to expert
Best for: Those after scenery and solitude
Region: Kuusamo

The Karhunkierros Trail has many nicknames: Kuusamo’s Karunkierros, Bear’s Trail or Bear’s Ring. Whichever name you choose, you’re sure to find fantastically wild landscapes in Oulanka National Park, which borders Russia’s dense forests. Pick this hike, and you’ll walk through some of Finland’s most mind-blowing scenery, far away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation. 

This popular hike isn’t for the fainthearted, though. You’ll follow the orange trail markers past raging rapids and rivers, gaping canyons and gorges, dense boreal forests, and steep cliffs.

The longest route is an extensive 82km. However, if you don’t fancy hiking for a full week, take the Shorter Bear’s Trail, only 12km in length. Don’t worry, you’ll still get those jaw-dropping views – and you might even spot a brown bear or two. 

Ridestore recommends: Bring binoculars. This trail’s remoteness is one of its biggest perks – and the wildlife loves it. Keep an eye out for reindeer, elk, or even wolverine. 

St Olav Waterway 

St Olav Waterway - unsplash

Trail length: 18km (8 hours) or 106km for the full trail (4-5 days)
Difficulty: Intermediate
Best for: Experiencing local Finnish culture
Region: Turku

How does a hike with saunas, sea views, and starry nights sound? That’s what you’ll find on the St. Olav Waterway, one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world. 

St. Olav Waterway is part of St. Olav’s Path, an old pilgrim route named after St Olav, an 11th-century Viking warrior and king and Norway’s patron saint. The complete trail takes you from the Finnish mainland, through the Finnish archipelago and Åland (Sweden’s islands of peace), to Trondheim, Norway. And if that sounds like too long a hike (well, it is 640 kilometres/350 miles!), don’t worry. You can just do the St Olav’s Waterway Trail, which starts in Turku Cathedral. 

You’ll start the 18-kilometre hike out of the city, through stunning woodland and into Kaarina. Then, it’s on to Parainen in the Turku Archipelago. You can either end the pilgrimage walk here or spend the night in a hotel before winding onwards to Nagu, 11 kilometres away. You’ll walk down country lanes and across the narrow waterways that separate these gorgeous neighbouring Baltic islands. 

Day three (should you choose to do it) is another 10 kilometres. You’ll walk through the countryside to Galtby on Korpo island. From here, you can catch a ferry and keep going or head back. Either way, this route offers some of the most charming scenery in Finland, with forested islands alongside the sapphire-blue ocean. 

Ridestore recommends: This hike is perfect for seeing Finland at its best – and unleashing your inner Viking. Hop from island to island on the free public ferries, stay in cosy, family-run B&Bs, and enjoy local, authentic cuisine. This is a hike to saviour rather than rush! 

Mount Halti

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Trail length: 14km (5-6 hours)
Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced
Best for: Views of two countries at the same time
Region: Lapland

Right, this might sound confusing but bear with us: Finland’s highest peak is – believe it or not – technically in Norway. Yes, Mount Halti is in the extreme northwest of Finnish Lapland, with most of the mountain lying in Finland. However, the actual summit of Ráisduattarháldi (1,365 metres) juts out over the Norwegian border. 

Even though it’s a bit of an anomaly, this place has a special aura to it, shining a light on the remote wilderness high above the Arctic Circle. It makes you think of something other-worldly. Well, the Finnish name for Mount Halti (Haltiatunturi) is fitting; it means ‘fairy mountain’. 

The day hike to the summit is pretty challenging. However, it’s at the top where the magic hits. You’ll gaze at the fells of Lapland and Norway’s sparkling Lyngen Fjord. It’s certainly epic seeing both countries at the same time. 

Ridestore recommends: Choose when you hike Mount Halti wisely. Your best bet is June to September. Go any time before, and it’s likely to be wet. However, go after, and you’ll find it’s freezing cold. Head there in early autumn, though, and you can snack on the wild bilberries. 

Pohjantikan Kierros

Pohjantikan Kierros - unsplash

Trail length: 3.7km (2 hours)
Difficulty: Easy
Best for: Stress-free strolling
Region: Tavastia Proper 

The Pohjantikan Kierros Trail is a really fun hike. Located in the small 22-square-kilometre Liesjärvi National Park, it’s a simple, flat and easy-to-follow trail. With no gnarly gradient or sketchy terrain, it’s a perfect hike for switching off, strolling through the woods and admiring the beauty. 

Hike along trails and across boardwalks through white spruce and pine. As you pass the vibrant green moss and mushroom circles, you'll feel like you’re in a fairytale. The route then opens into a small meadow and to the shores of Lake Liesjärvi, complete with its own beach. An end-of-hike swim is a must if you’re hiking this trail in summer. 

Ridestore recommends: Pick up fresh produce at the old farm where the trail ends. It’s the perfect spot if you’re camping nearby and need to stock up on yummy supplies. Grab some Ruisleipä if they have it (classic Finnish rye bread).  

Urho Kekkonen National Park

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Trail length: Between 3.7-14km (1-9 hours)
Difficulty: Easy to intermediate 
Best for: Hiking through Finland’s national treasure 
Region: Lapland 

Head to northern Lapland and discover nature in its purest form. The Urho Kekkonen National Park is ‌a national treasure in Finland. This is where to go if you’re looking for a wide variety of trails for all hiking abilities. 

For experienced hikers, there’s the Luirojärvi hiking tour (70-80 km) and the Ruijanpolku (35 km) trail – perfect for throwing yourself into Finland’s real wilderness. If you’re after shorter, circular trails, our favourites include:

  • Iisakkipää (3.7 km)
  • Kirunapolku (6 km)
  • Luulammi (11 km)
  • Ahopää (14 km)

Urho Kekkonen National Park really does have it all. Trek through the fells, past rivers and lakes, and admire the incredible views throughout. 

Ridestore recommends: If you’re in Finland, a sauna has to be done! There are open wilderness saunas throughout the national park, available to use for a small fee (7 euros for adults, 4 euros for children). 

Saana Fell Trail

Saana Fell Trail - unsplash

Trail length: 8km (4 hours)
Difficulty: Intermediate
Best for: Jaw-dropping views of Finland
Region: North Lapland

Want your hike with a healthy dose of jaw-dropping vistas? Then, discover the Saana Fell Trail. You’ll start near the village of Kilpisjärvi, close to the borders of Norway and Sweden, before tackling Saana Fell.

Sanna Fell is one of the highest points in Finland, at 1,029 metres above sea level. But it’s an accessible peak with a fairly doable ascent to the top. And where there’s height, there are views. You’ll see one of Finland’s mirror-calm lakes from the top: Saana Lake. It’s easy to see why this is one of the country’s most stunning hikes. 

Ridestore recommends: Head to the summit at midnight during summer. The sun barely sets, but you’ll catch a semi-sunrise from the top. Trust us, it makes for extra breathtaking views. 

Seitseminen National Park

Seitseminen National Park - unsplash

Trail length: 1.8km (1 hour)
Difficulty: Easy
Best for: Walking through the heart of Seitseminen
Region: Ikaalinen and Yläjärvi 

Seitseminen National Park is bursting with lush boreal forests – so why not walk through them with our next hiking pick? Take on the easy 1.8-km Circle Route on the Aarnipolju trail, and you’ll enter ‌the enchanting depths of the Multiharju forest. There, you’ll wind through pine trees, aspen, and spruce in the heart of Seitseminen. 

Ridestore recommends: Stop by the Kovero Heritage Farm for a glimpse into how life was in the early 20th century. 

Tulliniemi Nature Path

Tulliniemi Nature Path - unsplash

Trail length: 3.4km (1-2 hours)
Difficulty: Easy
Best for: Beach lovers and birdwatchers
Region: Hanko

Head for the southernmost point of Finland on the Tulliniemi Nature Path. Here, you’ll walk along the coast to Cape Tulliniemi through a conservation area with beautiful sea views on your right. 

You’re bound to be accompanied by wildlife during your hike. This area is a protected bird sanctuary and part of Finland’s Natura 2000 network, so stick to the designated path so as not to disturb the birds and animals. There’s also shelter for many endangered species at the tip of the cape of Hanko. 

Ridestore recommends: Pack a picnic for the end of the trail. The cape delivers an incredible vista and a couple of tables – perfect for pitching up and snacking next to the sea.

Ukko-Luosto Fell

Ukko-Luosto Fell - unsplash

Trail length: 5km
Difficulty: Expert/Advanced
Best for: Catching the Northern Lights
Region: Lapland

If you’re after something a bit atmospheric on your hike – and why wouldn’t you be? – Pyhä-Luosto National Park i‌s the place to pick. It’s brimming with ancient woodland, deep gorges, and rugged hillsides. But, our favourite bit about it? It’s a good spot for seeing the Northern Lights!‌

The best way to explore this national park is to head out on the trail to Ukko-Luosto, one of the park’s highest points. You’ll start from Luoston portti and wind through trees before climbing a stairway to the top of the fell. 

We’re not going to sugar-coat it: it’s a challenging trek to the top. But, once you’re at the summit, the Lapland views below make it all worth it. You’ll be struck by prime Lapland wilderness, seeing as far as the five summits of the Pyhätunturi Fell Range on a clear day. 

Ridestore recommends: There are 670 steps to climb on your way to the summit, so maybe have a Stairmaster workout or two planned for practice!

Wrapping up

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Step onto a hiking trail in Finland and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world. This vast Nordic country offers some of the most stunning scenery you’ll ever see, alongside freeing remoteness and mind-cleansing journeys.  

Take a gentle stroll on the nature trails (while learning about the area and its history), or take on a more strenuous multi-day or multi-week hike. Whatever outdoor experience you’re after, Finland has the hike to ignite your soul – and leave it in orbit. We’ll see you there.

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