Finnish nature photographer Tea Karvinen shares her list of Finland’s ten most beautiful landscapes. Utö, Finland’s southernmost inhabited island is a very unusual place. Travelling there by car and boat from Helsinki takes just as long as flying to New York from Helsinki, even though the distance to Utö is a mere fraction of a trip to the United States.
Yet many Finns prefer to visit the island of Utö, especially during the winter or in the spring and autumn to watch the migration of the birds. The rocky island is just over one square kilometre in size and only about 50 people live there all year round – the number triples during the summer. After the Finnish Armed Forces vacated the island in 2005, their premises were taken over by locals that are now rented out as accommodation for tourists.
Jurmo, an island village close to Utö, is also worth visiting for those wishing to gain a glimpse into the nature and life on the Finnish archipelago, which is one of the world’s largest island clusters. Koli in northern Karelia is Finland’s most well-known national landscape. Imagine the blue (white in winter) of Lake Pielisjärvi, speckled with its many islands and the rocky summit of the Ukko-Koli Mountain soaring above you. This is surrounded by beautiful hills covered with tall candle-shaped spruce trees. This amazing landscape is only a short 10-minute walk from the Koli Hotel.
In Koli National Park, you can walk to a wide variety of natural wonders: traditional gardens, ancient forests, hilly scenery covered with trees, flowery meadows, sheep grazing areas, and lush groves. Over 100 years ago, Finnish artists and nature enthusiasts, such as classical composer Jean Sibelius, writer Juhani Aho and painter Eero Järnefelt, began elevating Koli’s status as an important national landscape.