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Nature and National Parks Close to You
Finland is home to beautiful nature everywhere, but I dare to say that in Häme, the nature is uniquely beautiful. There are plenty of forests and hiking trails, and in addition to walking and trail running, you can also travel from forest to forest by mountain bike or kayak. Visiting the Häme region and its nature and national parks is an absolute must on your to do list when you visit Finland and take a day trip from Helsinki, for example – we are after all only an hours’ drive away.
Who are you and where do you come from? When travelling abroad with my backpack, I often get asked these questions and I enjoy more than anything describing the region that I come from with all its beautiful shores and wonderful forests.
People’s expressions are unforgettable when I say that I grew up in Tammela, which has only approximately 6,000 inhabitants but more than 200 lakes and ponds; there are 785 lakes in the whole of Häme. Travelling the world is great, but in the end, I always miss the peace and quiet of Finnish nature.
When my new travel friends finally realise that I am really talking about hundreds, not dozens of waterways, I continue by telling them that in the Häme region we also have two national parks, more than 20 other beautiful nature excursion destinations and numerous hiking trails.
“I have to go there one day” is what I most commonly hear at the end of the conversation – believe me when I say that I have had many such conversations.
Where to Go When Visiting Häme?
I always recommend starting at Torronsuo National Park. There is no better way to start the day than to climb to a high viewing point and admire how the first rays of light travel across Finland’s deepest swamp.
While walking along the duckboards, you can stop to explore the unique flora of the swamp while tasting delicious cloudberries and tangy cranberries. I know that some people also pack some caramel (toffee) sauce in their backpack and enjoy a delicious dessert while having a break.
The atmosphere and scenery in Torronsuo are as they are in Lapland, especially in the winter, and you can ski on marked trails or try snowshoeing with the guidance of a wilderness guide. If you happen to be there at the right time, you can sign up for a guided moonlight ski tour.
When visiting Tammela, you should definitely head to the Liesjärvi National Park; it is right next door to Torronsuo national park.
You can walk, mountain bike or kayak in Liesjärvi. Signposted trails and the marked routes of the Digitrail mobile application make it almost impossible to get lost.
Despite its small size, Lake Liesjärvi has plenty of surrounding unspoilt forest, campfire and resting sites and a few wilderness huts.
I can tell you from experience that it is amazingly awesome to wake up in the morning in a tent, fill your lungs full of fresh air and walk barefoot to the lake for a morning swim.
Moreover, did you know that there is enough sunlight in the Finnish forests throughout the night during the summer for you to see by? You can admire the beauty of nature around the clock if you wish.
Trails for Everyone
A good thing about Häme’s forests is that there are trails and things to do for everyone. Shorter routes and campfire sites near the allocated car parking areas are a great destination for families with children, as well as for older people.
You can also enjoy nature in the vicinity of the cities, as the cities of Häme are known for being lively but also green. There are plenty of parks in and around Forssa and Hämeenlinna that are ideal to go to for a picnic, for example.
If you want to go for a longer hike, you can follow the Häme Ilvesreitti trail. The marked hiking trail connects Hämeenlinna’s Ahvenisto, Tammela’s national parks and Riihimäki’s Riutta to the Häme lake highlands, an area with great recreational and nature attractions.
The Ilvesreitti trail has a total length of 250 kilometres and there are almost 1,500 kilometres of camping and hiking trails throughout Häme, so there is plenty to cover and explore.
Oh, and did I remember to tell you that our forests are full of mushrooms and berries! Anyone roaming the forest can pick them. Thus, you should pack a mushroom guide in your backpack in case you come across these delicacies during your hike. Be careful though, you should never eat mushrooms or berries unless you are absolutely sure that it is safe to do so.