Koli National Park - Kolin kansallispuisto
Koli National Park is truly one of the trademarks of Finland, and I can highly recommend it for all kind of travellers and hikers. The hiking routes range from easy strolls that you can do with strollers or with wheelchair to a multi-day hikes with full camping gear. Koli has been an inspiration for lots of Finnish fine artist from composer Jean Sibelius to painter Eero Järnefelt . The Koli area was also an inspiration for the romantic nationalism in the years preceding Finlands independence. So hiking in the beautiful Finnish natural landscape is the best way to celebrate Finlands 100 years of independency.
Arriving to Koli
Koli National Park is located in Eastern-Finland, 75km north from Joensuu city, where the nearest airport is located. You can also reach the Koli from Helsinki by taking train to Joensuu or by car from Helsinki. The car drive from Helsinki takes about 6 hours, depending on the driving conditions.
If you arrive by airplane or by train to Joensuu, you have to get an shuttle-taxi, more information: http://www.taksikoli.fi/en/shuttle-taxi Remember to book the shuttle-taxi a day before.
If you arrive by car, the parking lot is located inside the national park, near the highest peak in Koli. From the car park you can take a free rail-lift to the Koli Nature Centre
In the middle of the National park is a hotel from where you can reach the highest sightseeing spot in 5 minutes. So you can go and see the sunrise straight from your room and have the breakfast after that (depending on the time of the year). There is also a restaurant, karaoke bar and a spa in the hotel.
The Koli National Park is located on the west side of the lake Pielinen and the highest fjell peak in the Koli National park, Ukko-Koli rises from the shore of the Pielinen. The second highest peak, Akka-Koli, is next to the Ukko-Koli. You can reach these sightseeing spots on several hiking routes. When hiking around the National Park you can also learn about the slash-and-burn agriculture that was typical for the area. The marked hiking routes range from 2,5km to 60km.
You can check the hiking routes from the Finnish National Parks-website: http://www.nationalparks.fi/kolinp/trails
Wintertime, next to the hotel in the Koli, you can downhill ski and snowboard. The ski resort has couple maintained ski slopes and lifts. Also snowshoeing around the National Park is possible.
The lake Pielinen next to the National Park offers fishing possibilities around the year and canoeing, sailing and swimming in the summertime.
Hope this small guide was helpful and inspires you to check out the iconic Finnish national landscape!