This Has To Be The Most Beautiful National Park In This Underrated European Country

Travelers who take time to enjoy a getaway to Finland are always in for a scenic treat. Whether it's mountainside pine trees covered in snow in the winter you're after, or green rolling hills to enjoy in the warm weather months, you'll find them all here. Of course, you're sure to be inspired by the many lakes, rivers, and lush coastlines scattered throughout the country as well.

The natural wonders of Finland have long been worth admiring and protecting. According to Visit Finland, the very first national parks were established back in 1938, and today, there are more than 41 nature-filled designated locations for visitors and locals alike to explore. Among them is a park that is frequently highlighted as one of the most beautiful destinations for outdoor enthusiasts to experience. If it's truly incredible views you're looking for, you'll find them without fail at Koli National Park.

Adorned with gently sloping fjells (mountains), gorgeous lakes, and lush pine forests, Koli National Park provides its guests with a picture-perfect place to soak up the sights no matter when they drop by. You'll find Koli National Park on the west side of Lake Pelinen, just about an hour north of Joensuu. The entrance is located off of Highway 6, making it easy to access if you're driving in. There are also options to pre-book transportation from Joensuu to Koli National Park through Kolin Taksipalvelu when you want to take time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Summer fun that highlights the view

Europe is filled with spectacular national parks to explore, but Finland's Koli National Park is a unique destination you won't want to miss. The park encompasses North Karelian hills as well as old-growth forests that provide important habitats for wildlife and plants of all kinds. The national park status effectively protects these vital ecosystems and makes them available for visitors to enjoy in all seasons.

If your plans bring you to Koli National Park in the summertime, there are plenty of options for outdoor fun that highlight the gorgeous terrain. This park is a great place for canoeing and kayaking, whether you choose to spend your time on Lake Pielinen or explore nearby Lake Herajarvi. While many visitors bring their own gear, there are also kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddle board rentals available through Polar Adventures at Koli Harbor.

Visitors looking to trek their way through a visit will find Koli National Park is home to three scenic nature trails ranging in length from 1.5 to 3 miles. Guided hikes and tours can be set up through the Koli Nature Centre Ukko, but there are also options to explore the trails here on horseback or by bike. Bird-watching, swimming, and sailing are among the many other outdoor recreational activities that showcase Koli National Park's breathtaking and varied landscapes.

Winter activities with inspiring vistas

If you're the type of traveler who is always searching for the best places to ski, no matter where in the world you roam, a winter trip to Koli National Park will never disappoint. Here, you can spend time at Ukko-Koli and maximize your downhill adventures at one of the most popular ski resorts in all of Southern Finland. The six slopes can be accessed from the nature center, and the chairlift runs to the summit from the shores of Lake Pielinen. 

Snowshoeing is another popular wintertime activity at Koli National Park for those who prefer to explore wintery terrain at their own pace. The park is outfitted with well-marked dedicated snowshoeing routes that take you along scenic wooded paths and provide opportunities for winter birding along the way. If you're looking forward to spending time admiring the views from cross-country skis instead, there are more than 31 miles of meticulously maintained trails to explore.

Ice fishing on Lake Pielinen is another option to add to your winter itinerary when you want to cast a line and enjoy frozen lake views. Native species range from pike, common whitefish, grayling, pikeperch, and perch to brown trout, arctic char, and salmon. Winter net fishing is the preferred approach to reeling in something exciting this time of year. While hook-and-line angling doesn't require a license, you'll want to double-check current regulations around the fisheries management fee that's implemented in Finland before you head out.