August is the best holiday month in Northern Europe. Locals are about to start a new academic year, yet the weather is still warm, and the mosquitoes are already gone. Blueberries and raspberries are ready to be gathered in the vast forests, water in the thousands of lakes is smooth like silk and as warm as the summer evening breeze. Nightless, and therefore sometimes also sleepless, nights are over; in August we Finns admire sunsets and stargaze.
Anyone, Finns and foreigners alike, may explore Finland’s forests or countryside freely thanks to a legal concept, Everyman’s Right, unique to the Nordic countries. Picking wild berries and tasty mushrooms and fishing with a simple rod and line are allowed to everyone, but making a campfire or driving a motor vehicle off the road will require landowners permission. Fish and hunt are only allowed with appropriate permits. With rights come responsibilities – respecting others and nature!
National parks are Finland’s national treasures and ideal sites for hikers, climbers and animal spotters. All forty of them have marked hiking routes, nature trails, information boards and picnic sites. Only a few national parks and popular recreational areas have particular trails designated for mountain biking though, and off-road cycling is generally not permitted to prevent harmful erosion. The photo was taken at Hiidenportti National Park in Sotkamo.
Regardless, Finland offers excellent opportunities for biking in diverse and changing sceneries. A unique nationwide network of well-maintained and uncrowded roads is highly suitable for bicycle touring. Visit Finland’s Pyöräillen Suomessa, a website dedicated to cycling in Finland offers a vast amount of information including guides, maps, and biking routes. Pedaling is an economical way of moving around and sightseeing!
Another fun activity in nature for all ages is a modern treasure hunt – Geocaching. All you need for this fun sport are a device or a smartphone suitable for GPS positioning and a web connection. Anyone can register free of charge at the website of the worldwide geocaching community at www.geocaching.com. In case you’d like a tech-free holiday, search for geocaches with the help of a simple map is a viable option.
A well-liked activity of us northerners including a map and a compass is orienteering. Orienteering clubs arrange recreational orienteering events mainly from April to October. More precise information on these events can be found in Rastilippu service at www.rastilippu.fi. You need to create a user profile in order to use the service.
- Pick berries or mushrooms.
- Go fishing.
- Hike in a forest.
- Visit a national park.
- Go Geocaching.
- Try orienteering.
- Swim in a lake.
- Admire a sunset by a lake.