The Koli Nation­al Park is locat­ed in the munic­i­pal­i­ties of Joen­suu, Liek­sa and Kon­ti­o­lahti in North Kare­lia (East­ern Fin­land), on the west­ern shore of Lake Pieli­nen. Estab­lished in 1991 on an area of ​​3,000 hectares, the extra­or­di­nar­i­ly beau­ti­ful nation­al park is man­aged by the Finnish For­est Research Insti­tute (Met­la) and is a pop­u­lar win­ter tourist des­ti­na­tion.

koli park in finland

Entry relat­ed to place: Europe

When Fin­land first formed its nation­al iden­ti­ty at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry, Koli inspired many artists and com­posers, such as Jean Sibelius, Juhani Aho and Eero Järne­felt. Koli has become Fin­land’s most famous nation­al land­scape. The large land­scape of Koli Park was cre­at­ed by Eero Järne­felt in 1911 in a restau­rant at the Helsin­ki rail­way sta­tion.

Koli is in inner Fin­land, with some­what warmer sum­mers and cold­er win­ters com­pared to Helsin­ki, but the chance of extreme weath­er is low. The ski sea­son lasts from mid-Feb­ru­ary to April. School trips are orga­nized in the park in May. The sum­mer sea­son starts in the mid­dle of sum­mer and lasts until the end of August.

As is the case with oth­er Nation­al Parks in Fin­land, there is no fee for hik­ing in Koli Park. Here you can either spend the night in your tent or stay at the hotel. Fish­ing is also allowed, but fish­ing per­mits must be obtained by pay­ing a fee. There is an exten­sive net­work of hik­ing trails, includ­ing sev­er­al nature trails equipped with infor­ma­tion boards. The park also has sev­er­al roads, but park­ing is only allowed in des­ig­nat­ed areas. Bicy­cles are allowed on some routes. Alpine ski­ing and snow­board­ing are pro­hib­it­ed on the nat­ur­al slopes of Ukko-Koli, Akka-Koli and Pakha-Koli.

See also
2012 National Geographic Photo Contest Winners and Competitors

Koli Park has many inter­est­ing sights. The pur­pose of the Koli Nation­al Park is not to pre­serve wildlife, but to care­ful­ly pre­serve the tra­di­tion­al agri­cul­tur­al her­itage of the region. Some fields are con­stant­ly re-cul­ti­vat­ed, hay is har­vest­ed annu­al­ly. Tra­di­tion­al Finnish breeds of cows and sheep graze in the Koli mead­ows. The park’s most famous attrac­tion is the Ukko-Koli above Lake Pieli­nen, with a beau­ti­ful view to the east.

Next to the cen­ter is the Ukko Her­itage Cen­tre. There are also many caves in the Koli area, such as Pirunk­erkko (“Dev­il’s Church”) 34 meters long and 1–7 meters high. There are two ski resorts in the Koli area: Loma Koli for fam­i­lies and Ukko Koli for more advanced ski­ing. Ukko-Koli has three ski lifts and six ski slopes. The largest ver­ti­cal descent is 230 m, and the ski runs are 800–1,500 m long. Loma Koli has four ski lifts and six ski slopes. There are also snow cas­tles for chil­dren.