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The 10 BEST Free Walking Tours in North Karelia

The Best Free Walking Tours and Pub Crawls

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Welcome to the captivating region of North Karelia in Finland! If you’re a nature lover and enjoy exploring on foot, you’re in for a treat. North Karelia offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, enchanting forests, and serene lakes, making it an ideal destination for walking tours. In this article, we’ll guide you through the essentials of planning and experiencing memorable walking tours in North Karelia.

Why Choose North Karelia for Walking Tours

North Karelia boasts stunning natural beauty, with its vast forests, clear lakes, and rolling hills. The region is home to several national parks, such as Koli National Park and Patvinsuo National Park, offering diverse ecosystems and an abundance of flora and fauna. With well-marked trails, North Karelia provides an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and discover the true essence of Finland.

When to Visit

The best time to embark on walking tours in North Karelia depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. Summer, from June to August, offers pleasant weather and longer daylight hours, making it ideal for exploring the trails. Autumn, from September to October, showcases beautiful foliage, creating a picturesque setting. Winter provides a unique experience, with opportunities for snowshoeing and winter hiking. Spring, from April to May, brings new life to the forests as the flora awakens.

Popular Walking Routes

1. Koli National Park:

Koli National Park is renowned for its mesmerizing landscapes and offers a variety of routes suitable for different fitness levels. The Herajärvi Circuit Trail, a 30-kilometer loop, takes you through pristine forests, tranquil lakeshores, and scenic viewpoints. For a more challenging hike, consider climbing to the top of Ukko-Koli Hill for panoramic views.

2. Patvinsuo National Park:

Patvinsuo National Park features an extensive network of trails, allowing you to explore its marshes, old-growth forests, and wetlands. The 18-kilometer Hiidenkierros Trail offers an unforgettable journey through this diverse landscape. Keep an eye out for rare bird species and unique flora.

3. Ruunaa Hiking Area:

If you’re seeking a more remote and rugged experience, the Ruunaa Hiking Area is perfect for you. With its rapids, waterfalls, and untouched wilderness, it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The Ruunaa Circuit Trail, approximately 17 kilometers long, showcases the area’s natural wonders.

Tips for a Successful Walking Tour

1. Plan Your Route

Prior to embarking on a walking tour, plan your route and familiarize yourself with the trail maps. Consider your fitness level and choose a route that matches your abilities. Additionally, check the weather forecast to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

2. Dress Appropriately

Wear comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing and suitable footwear. Layer your clothing to adapt to changing weather conditions. It’s also essential to bring a waterproof jacket and pants, as rain showers are common in Finland.

3. Stay Hydrated and Fuelled

Carry enough water to stay hydrated during your walk. Pack energy-rich snacks like nuts, granola bars, and fruits to keep your energy levels up. Depending on the route, you might find wilderness huts or designated picnic areas where you can take a break and enjoy a meal amidst nature.

4. Respect Nature and Wildlife

When exploring North Karelia’s trails, it’s vital to respect the environment and wildlife. Stay on marked paths to minimize your impact on fragile ecosystems. Avoid littering and taking anything with you, as it’s important to leave the environment untouched for future visitors and wildlife.

5. Safety Precautions

Inform someone about your planned route and estimated return time, especially if you’re venturing into more remote areas. Carry a map, compass, and a charged cell phone for emergencies. It’s advisable to have appropriate travel insurance coverage when participating in outdoor activities.


North Karelia in Finland offers an awe-inspiring backdrop for unforgettable walking tours. Immerse yourself in the region’s natural wonders, explore the national parks, and forge a deeper connection with nature. By planning your route, being properly prepared, and respecting the environment, you’ll have a remarkable experience exploring the walking trails of North Karelia.