Lonely Planet Writer

Finland's newest national park is opening this week as the country celebrates 100 years of independence

Finland is a country well-known for its beautiful environment, and now there’s a new place for travellers to explore as the country’s 40th national park opens this week.

Hossa National Park will hold an opening ceremony on 17 June. The new park comes in the year Finland marks 100 years of independence, after centuries of struggle for the territory between Russia and Sweden.

Julma-Ölkky canyon lake in Hossa National Park.
Julma-Ölkky canyon lake in Hossa National Park. Image by Vastavalo Suomussalmi Municipality

With centennial celebrations happening in Finland through the year, it was ranked the third best country to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet.

Finland is opening its 40th national park.
Finland is opening its 40th national park. Image by Vastavalo Suomussalmi Municipality

The new park covers 11,000 hectares near the Suomussalmi, Kuusamo and Taivalkoski municipalities in the northeast of Finland. Around the park, 1200 hectares of state-owned land and water will be excluded from the park, but used for tourism, fishing and more, according to the Finnish environment ministry.

Maastopyöräilyä Hossassa Metsähallitus Taneli Kaakinen,
The park is expecting to attract hikers, cyclists and more. Image by Hossa Visitor Centre

Hossa is described by the ministry as “a realm of primeval twilight forests with decaying trees lying on the ground and abundant growth of various species of lichen, providing it with a very special nature conservation value”. It is also home to the amazing Julma-Ölkky canyon lake, which is the largest in Finland. There you can also see ancient rock paintings created by the region’s Stone Age settlers, painted in blood and red ochre.

Hossa National Park will host an opening ceremony on 17 June.
Hossa National Park will host an opening ceremony on 17 June. Image by VisitFinland

The park will draw in hikers, fishers and canoers who want to explore the forests, lakes and trails. It is located close to the airports of Kuusamo and Kajaani, according to Visit Finland. Public transportation can take visitors as far as the resort area, but getting into the park will require renting a car or a taxi.

A serene lake awaits at Hossa National Park.
A serene lake awaits at Hossa National Park. Image by VisitFinland

Once there, guests can visit the Hossa Nature Centre, which can teach visitors about the history of the park and information on how best to explore. The new park will be marked with an opening ceremony on 17 June, along with a wide variety of activities, like meals, music and midnight bike rides.