Exploring Finland: Nuuksio National Park of Espoo

Nuuksio National Park Espoo, Southern Finland

Thoughts of our unplanned “expedition” to the magical forest of Jämsä made me want to go back. Unfortunately, it was impossible since we live in Espoo. But at that point it didn’t really matter where we go, I just wanted to go out, to go for a walk in the woods. I wanted to be close to nature. I wanted to feel like an explorer once again.

I shared my thoughts with my husband and asked him where we could go. “To Nuuksio National Park”, was his answer. I had no ideas what kind of park it is, where it’s located and what’s so special about it. I was not sure whether it is possible to find as wild and extraordinary beauty in the Southern Finland as I’ve seen it in Central Finland. But one thing I was absolutely certain about, Finnish nature is amazing, and it never disappoints me. Therefore, I agreed to the suggestion without hesitation. And half an hour later we were already leaving the house.

Established in 1994 Nuuksio National Park is the second-closest national park to the capital. Thousands of people are visiting it every year. The park can easily be reached by public transportation, a bus 245A. It leaves from Espoon keskus; you can check the schedule on hsl.fi.

Nuuksio is a home to many animals and birds. Some of them are on the verge of extinction. Like flying squirrel, for example. It is also a symbol of the national park.

* * *

We visited Information centre before going into the wild. Here you can relax, have a tea or coffee, buy souvenirs (most popular is a flying squirrel stuffed toy, of course), take free brochures and maps of the area, get information about the routes and fill your water bottles.

There are no restaurants or eateries in Nuuksio, but you can bring the food with you and have a picnic in the wilderness. Finnish people are usually cooking sausages over the campfire. It is very popular and easy food during summer. You can find grillimakkara in every food market in Finland.

Main campfire sites are often equipped with wooden tables and benches, where you can dine with the whole family.

You can pick mushrooms and berries, there are plenty in the forest when the season is right. But if you are not sure what is eatable and what’s not, then better to skip this activity altogether.

It’s not allowed to pick flowers and break branches. As for campfire, you should use ready-made logs of wood, they are folded in the special sheds. And please, respect the nature and don’t be a litterbug.

There are few different marked trails for hiking. They vary in length and difficulty. Shortest and easiest is 2 km long. I think it’s perfect for beginners and families with children, strollers and wheelchairs. It stretches along the shore of Black lake (Mustalampi). In addition, there are 30 km of biking trails and 22 km of horse-riding trails.

The route of each trail is marked with a coloured wooden rhombus (red, blue, etc.). They are attached to the trees with an interval of one hundred to two hundred meters, so you can easily follow the chosen trail. I think it’s a great solution for people like me, who are unable to navigate the terrain and get lost occasionally.

We chose a four-kilometre long trail Haukankierros (blue rhombus), a circle route that goes around the Hawk lake (Haukkalampi). Note: it might be a bit challenging for beginners due to height difference.

I was completely astonished by Nuuksio! The beauty of Finnish landscapes is truly mesmerizing and breath-taking. It enchanted me and turned me into someone else, someone who still believes in miracles, elves and forest fairies. I was jumping from one rock to another like a mountain goat, coming dangerously close to the edge of the 30-meter high cliff. My husband on the other hand didn’t share my excitement and he wasn’t feeling very happy seeing me performing this kind of stunts. And every few minutes he was loudly repeating same words over and over again, “Be careful!”, “Don’t go there, you might fall down!”, “Get away from the abyss!”, etc. Just like an annoyed grouchy mother would do. Sometimes he even had to dragged me away. I guess I was so overwhelmed with excitement that I didn’t notice any danger whatsoever. Only thing I could see was the picturesque scenery.

It’s not the first time when I am confessing my love to Finland and its beautiful and calmful nature. And I highly doubt it will be the last one.

* * *

What is Nuuksio? It’s a combination of bare rocks and steep cliffs, gleaming lakes and old-growth forest, ravines and valleys, boulders covered with moss and tree roots that are curling between the stones like snakes. Nuuksio is a stunning masterpiece created by the Ice Age.

Hope you enjoyed it!

TWVera

* for more information visit http://www.nationalparks.fi

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