Pack your bags full of comfortable travel clothes and hop on the train!
The route goes from Turku and Vaasa to Oulu, from where the rails carry you all the way down to coastal Helsinki.
Turku and the Aura River valley
The Aura River is dozens of kilometres long and it winds its way through downtown Turku and into the Archipelago Sea. The Aura River valley is a Finnish national landscape where there you can observe signs of life spanning centuries. If you wish to make the most of your riverside-life experience, book a hotel room on a ship or enjoy a supper on an atmospheric riverboat.
Tampere and the rapids of Tammerkoski
Tammerkoski is known for the surrounding industrial area where you can find gorgeous old red-tiled textile factories. Tammerkoski is located in the heart of Tampere, and you can marvel at the roaring rapids from the many bridges that span it. You may want to grab a couple of sugary doughnuts from Pyynikki and head for the rapids where you can see the roaring waters.
The expanses of Seinäjoki
The flat expanses and fields that seem to go on forever are characteristic of the landscape of Pohjanmaa. A branch of the river Kyröjoki flows through the centre of Seinäjoki, and if you continue following the river further on, you will end up in the expanses of Seinäjoki. The expanses come into their bloom as the picturesque field landscape reaches its full colour splendor after nature awakens from winter hibernation.
Vaasa and the Kvarken archipelago
Vaasa has often been titled the sunniest town in Finland. The coastal trails of Finland’s first Unesco world heritage site, the Kvarken archipelago, are all you need to enjoy a perfect day. There are hiking trails for everyone’s tastes and there are various accommodation options to choose from. For example, you can choose between a charming wooden cabin or a modern villa for your accommodation.
Oulu and Pikisaari
Facing the centre of Oulu, the old industrial area of Pikisaari represents old timber building. Currently, Pikisaari serves as an area for artists, where there has been craftsmanship from the 17th century onward, e.g. in the form of shipbuilding.
If you are interested in the history and harbour life of Pikisaari, you should visit the local Sailor’s Home Museum. The museum is like a journey to a time when, in all likelihood, almost every person you came across in town was a sailor.
Lapinlahti and Väisänlänmäki
Väisälänmäki represents the forested hill landscape characteristic to North Karelia. The Väisänlänmäki national landscape has inspired many Finnish artistists in their works, with Eero Järnefelt’s painting from the late 19th century, “Burning the Brushwood”, undoubtedly being the most famous one. The painting depicts burn-beating in a Finland plagued by famine, and the melancholic blonde girl in the foreground draws in the viewer’s gaze. Järnefelt visited Väisälänmäki on numerous occasions to work on the painting.
Nurmes and the villages in the fells
The villages in the fells are a traditional landscape characteristic to North Karelia. Burn-beating, animal husbandry and grain farming are what characterise the variety of villages in Nurmes, as depicted by Järnefelt. The villages in the fells are picturesque landscapes that can make you momentarily forget you are in the 21st century Finland.
Savonlinna and Olavinlinna
The national landscape of Savonlinna can be seen near Pihlajanvesi, where there are beautiful Finnish lake vistas to behold. Olavinlinna is the pride of Savonlinna, and many curious people are eager to explore the over 700-year-old castle every summer. If you are interested in active holidays in addition to the exploration of history, you should rent a kayak and paddle around the waters of Pihlajanvesi. This way, you get to take in the national landscape from a whole new perspective.
Suomenlinna and the surrounding coastal Helsinki are a most fitting way to end the tour of Finnish landscapes. The journey to Suomenlinna takes only around 10 minutes by ferry from the Market Square. If you have time before your ferry departs, have a traditional Market Square coffee while you wait. You may spot notable Finnish figures from politicians to the president himself.
If you wish to enjoy a more presidential atmosphere in the evening as well, you can stay at the Grand Central hotel, which was renovated from VR’s former headquarters. The luxurious hotel is located at the railway station, naturally.
- Marja is a sharp-witted multi-expert on content creation with a knack for writing.