The Finnish landscape is very varied, as Finland is over 1 000 kilometres long. Its northernmost parts lie above the Arctic Circle with vast wilderness areas and rolling fells. In the southernmost part, there is the archipelago with thousands of islands and islets. In between, vast forested areas and mires cover most of Finland’s surface area. Tens of thousands of lakes intersperse with these forests forming a typical landscape of Finland.

Finland’s natural features are conserved in protected areas that cover nearly 5,6 million hectares (14 %) of the country’s total surface area of 39 million hectares. Approximately 14 % of land and inland water surface is protected as well as 11 % of marine areas. Protected areas are mostly in state ownership and management, but 6-7% of the protected area surface is privately owned. State-owned protected areas are managed by Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland

There are several different categories of protected areas in Finland. These guarantee the conservation of the most unique parts of Finnish nature. National parks (1 million ha) and wilderness reserves (1,5 million ha) are the most important parts of the protected area network in Finland. These are included in the European Union’s network of Natura 2000 areas. Finland’s protected areas are an essential part of the international network of protected areas

Finland’s 40 national parks protect archipelago, lake, mire, forest and fell landscapes and the associated species as well as provide recreational opportunities for people. In Lapland, a dozen of special wilderness reserves has been established to preserve the wilderness character of these areas and to safeguard the indigenous Saami culture and their nature-based forms of livelihood.

Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland has set up, a special website for nature lovers. It is available in Finnish, Swedish and English and partly in two Saami languages, Russian and Chinese.

Protected Areas in Finland

Vätsäri Wilderness Area

In Vätsäri you can experience the astonishing silence of a wilderness in its natural state. The eastern parts of Lake Inarijärvi with their rugged shores and numerous islands belong to Vätsäri Wilderness Area, as well as the large forests with water areas between the Norwegian and the ...

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Käsivarsi Wilderness Area

Finland's wild northwestern arm – Käsivarsi – has the country's most mountainous scenery. Halti Fell, the highest peak in Finland, can be reached all year round along the challenging Nordkalottleden Trail. A shorter walk from Kilpisjärvi village takes you to the top of the iconic Saana F ...

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Koli National Park

When you take in the marvellous view over Lake Pielinen from the top of Ukko-Koli hill, it's easy to see why this spot has attracted so many Finnish artists, photographers and nature-lovers over the centuries. The splendid scenery always instills a sense of serenity and wonder in visitors. Koli's hills and la ...

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Syöte National Park

The wild wooded hills of Syöte provide an ideal setting for many activities. Ski-trek through the magical snow-covered winter forests or pedal up hill and down dale along the park's fine mountain-biking routes. The log cabin sauna at Ahmatupa in the heart of the park is a great place to soothe your body ...

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Oulanka National Park

In the rugged landscape of the Karhunkierros Trail, you will observe the power of water. The many trail options and hanging bridges of the Oulanka National Park will take you to the most impressive waterfalls in Finland. The jumps of wild brown trout, the dives of European dippers, the unlimited beauty of t ...

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Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

Trek from hilltop to hilltop through the arctic fells along Finland's first hiking trail. Here you can enjoy hiking or skiing through the wilds, but still find welcoming lodgings for comfortable overnight stays in historic Lappish villages. This part of Lapland has the freshest air in the world. On dark night ...

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