Our national parks are places where nature, serenity and stunning scenery dominate. You can escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre to no less than three national parks conveniently by public transport. Well-maintained trails and rest areas invite us to enjoy a carefree hike to strengthen our connection to nature and simply feel good!
Two of Finland’s national parks are located within the Helsinki metropolitan area, Nuuksio and Sipoonkorpi, both of which are easy to get to by public transport. A short distance to the northwest you will find a third national park, Liesjärvi, that you can get to by express bus. All three national parks offer the chance to enjoy a daytrip or camp overnight.
Nuuksio National Park
With its rugged terrain and limited access by road, Nuuksio has remained delightfully uninhabited for hikers to enjoy. Yet it’s still easy to get to by bus. Established in 1994, Nuuksio is one of the most popular national parks in Finland, and it’s also home to the superb Finnish Nature Centre Haltia.
To Haltia and Kattila: Bus 245 from Espoon keskus
The easiest way to get to Nuuksio is by public transport. Simply take a commuter train to Espoon keskus and then get on bus 245 – you can also catch the bus from outside Ikea. If this is your first visit to Nuuksio, get off the bus at Haltia and visit the modern nature centre for tips on where to go. Bus 245 also makes it possible to avoid hiking in loops, for example by getting off at Kattila and then hiking along the trails aback to Haltia.
To Luukki: Bus 345 from Elielinaukio (Helsinki city centre)
This route takes you through the Kettukorpi wilderness area of the national park. The Luukki recreational area has its own network of trails with a connecting trail to Nuuksio. For example, you can hike via Velskola to Haltia, where you can catch a bus back to Helsinki. Starting at Luukki lets you explore the less-visited eastern parts of Nuuksio, where you will find the beautiful Kaitalampi lake, the overhanging caves at the Meerlampi lake, and the campfire areas at Vääräjärvi and Urja.
To Veikkola: Bus 280 from Kamppi (Helsinki city centre)
Bus 280 departs from the Kamppi bus terminal in the centre of Helsinki and gets you to Veikkola in half an hour. From there it’s just over a kilometre to Soidentaantie and access to Nuuksio National Park. You can hike along the 2.7-kilometre Kaarniaispolku trail, which is a loop that lets you admire handsome spruce forests and moss-covered granite boulders. You can also walk across duckboards and admire the wetlands at Haaversopakko. The Veikkola-Siikajärvi connecting trail provides access to other parts of the national park, such as the 4-kilometre Soidinkierros circle trail or the popular Korpinkierros circle trail.
For adventurous types: Bus 244 from Espoon keskus
This route is the right choice if you want to discover new sides of the popular national park. The last stop at Siikaniemi provides easy access to arguably the most beautiful campfire places in Nuuksio by the Kolmoislammit and Holma-Saarijärvi lakes, which most visitors to the national park don’t get to see. You can return from the same bus stop or continue onwards to Veikkola or Haltia and return from there.
You can participate on different guided tours during summer or just enjoy self-guided summer excursions. Read more about Nuuksio area's weekly program on Visit Espoo's pages.
Sipoonkorpi National Park
Sipoonkorpi is the newest of our urban national parks, having been established as recently as 2011. Sipoonkorpi is situated partly in Helsinki and partly in the neighbouring municipality of Sipoo, and it is even more peaceful than Nuuksio.
To Kuusijärvi: Bus 739 from Railway Square (Helsinki city centre)
The Kuusijärvi lake is situated along the western border of Sipoonkorpi National Park and is a lovely place to begin and end your hike, especially since there is a swimming beach and even a smoke sauna. There is a trail around the lake that is not part of the national park. If you want a quiet walk, cross the Vanha Porvoontie road and head into the national park. Points of interest there include the Bisajärvi lake and Brännbergen giant’s kettle. From Kuusijärvi it is possible to follow the trails to the most remote reaches of Sipoonkorpi.
To the southern parts of Sipoonkorpi and Sotunki: Bus 717 from Railway Square (Helsinki city centre)
The Kalkinpolttajanpolku (formerly Kalkkiruukinpolku) trail in Sotunki takes you through challenging forest terrain and across granite outcrops. The trail is five kilometres long, and there is a campfire site and lean-to. Points of interest along the trail include an old limestone quarry and the heritage landscape of the old farming village in Sotunki. From the highest point of the trail at Hörberget you can see all the way to Vuosaari Harbour.
To the northern parts of Sipoonkorpi: Bus 785, 787 or 788 from Railway Square (Helsinki city centre)
Get off at the Länsitie stop on Jokivarrentie and walk down Länsitie, which gives you easy access to the northern parts of Sipoonkorpi. The Ponun Perinnepostia (Ponu’s Heritage Post) Nature Trail features six post boxes that have within them fun post cards from different eras addressed from one forest animal to another. Many other trails crisscross the area, so there is plenty to explore.
Liesjärvi National Park
Liesjärvi National Park is surprisingly easy to get to by public transport from the centre of Helsinki, and it takes just over an hour to get there. Liesjärvi has a great selection of trails to choose from, and its best-known points of interest include the narrow Kyynäränharju ridge and the picturesque Korteniemi Heritage Farm.
To Kyynärä and Häme Nature Centre: Bus to Forssa
Buses from Helsinki to Forssa are the easiest way to get to Liesjärvi. Simply get off at either the Kyynärä or Eerikkilä bus stop on Route 2 and your adventure can begin.
The truly impressive Kyynäränharju ridge is around 1.5 kilometres from the Kyynärä bus stop. The extremely narrow ridge winds across the lake and is perfect for walking from one end to the other. Naturally, you can also follow the trails to the other parts of the national park. You can even follow the Ilvesreitti trail all the way to the neighbouring national park at Torronsuo, which is the deepest bog in Finland.
The Häme Nature Centre is a couple of kilometres from the Eerikkilä bus stop. Managed by the Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort, the nature centre provides useful tips for visiting both the Liesjärvi and Torronsuo national parks. Even better, the nature centre is surrounded by the truly charming Ruostejärvi recreational area, complete with hiking trails, campfire places and swimming beaches. You can hike from the nature centre to the Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort along a narrow ridge surrounded on both sides by lakes.
Bonus destination: Porkkalanniemi
Even though Porkkala is no longer a national park, it was up until the Second World War. Perhaps one day it will be added again to the impressive list of Finnish national parks; in fact, it almost made it onto the list in 2016, but the place went to Hossa instead. The Porkkalanniemi peninsula is a beautiful place, and its hiking facilities have recently been renovated by the Uusimaa Recreational Area Association.
To get there from Helsinki, first take the U commuter train to Kirkkonummi and then take bus 902K to Porkkalaniemi.
Surrounded by the sea, Porkkalanniemi lets you enjoy majestic granite shores, crooked archipelago pines and a fresh breeze. There are numerous rest areas and countless trails in addition to its official hiking trails, such as the Teleberget circle trail and the Vetokannaksen taival trail.
Find out more
In order to best discover Helsinki by foot, click here to find the best routes!