Koli National Park in Finland


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.

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.