Tampere boasts plenty of urban nature and lake nature in and around the city centre, but if you wish to see some gorges or ancient woods, you’ll have to go a bit further from the city. There are two big national parks in the vicinity of Tampere: Seitseminen and Helvetinjärvi. Only a little bit further away, there are also the Puurijärvi and Isosuo as well as Isojärvi national parks.
Seitseminen national park is located in Ruovesi, about 50 kilometers from Tampere. The connections to Seitseminen with public transport are not too good, especially in the summertime, so the best way to reach the park is to drive there. If this is your first trip to Seitseminen, it’s worthwhile to start your visit at the Seitseminen Nature Centre, where you can get information about the park and the trails, and learn about the park’s flora and fauna before heading out. Especially the kids will enjoy to spend time at the Nature Centre, and there’s also a café-restaurant in there in case you get peckish before or after a day out in the lovely nature.
There are several different types of trails to take in Seitseminen, ranging from an hours walk to a whole day’s hikes. Most of the trails are forest paths and wood paths over the marsh areas, but for example the vantage point at Saari-Soljanen or the Kovero crown tenant farm are accessible also with a wheelchair or a buggy. In the winter there are separate cross country skiing tracks and in the summertime you can head to see the views also with your bike.
To find out more about the Seitseminen national park, its services and trails go to nationalparks.fi pages.
Quite close to Seitseminen and also some 50 kilometer from Tampere you can find Helvetinjärvi national park. Helvetinjärvi (Finnish for Hell’s lake) is also best reached with a car, as there are no public transport connections taking closer than 10 km from the park.
What makes Helvetinjärvi a really interesting place to visit are the gorges, which have been dominating the landscape for millions of years. The landmark of the park is Helvetinkolu gorge, and the lakes surrounded by steep cliffs are amazing to see as well. The most epic view opens from the upper landing of the rugged Helvetinkolu to the bottom of the gorge and over Iso Helvetinjärvi Lake. The main trail at Helvetinjärvi national park, named aptly Helvetistä Itään (East of Hell), is about 4 kilometers long and along the route there’s also the restaurant Helvetin Portti (Gateway to Hell). There are other trails as well, some longer and some shorter, and you can start following the larger hiking route network of Pirkan Taival from there too. Pirkan Taival also connects Helvetinjärvi national park to that of Seitseminen.
Get more information about Helvetinjärvi national park at www.nationalparks.fi
Just over an hours drive from Tampere, along the Kokemäenjoki river, is located the Puurijärvi and Isosuo national park. Luontoon.fi describes the area consisting of vast marsh areas nad the shallow, green Puurijärvi lake, which is an internationally important bird lake. Puurijärvi and Isosuo national park opens a unique natural landscape at the heart of a historical cultural area. The area is perfect for a day trip.
Puurijärvi-Isosuo national park has three marked routes (0,5–2 km) leading to the birdwatching towers. Wetland bird habitats and natural state of the mires make the area unique, and here you might be able to see cranes, dragonflies and even the rare European beaver!
Reached from Tampere in about one and a half hours by car, the Isojärvi national park is located in Kuhmoinen.
Luontoon.fi site tells us, that the wooded hills and valleys around Lake Isojärvi bear traces left by both two-legged and four-legged loggers. Old cycle paths lead to former lumberjacks’ cabins and croft houses. The only loggers working in the park today are beavers. It’s hard to spot these shy animals, but you can’t miss the impressive results of their labours. Keep an ear out for the red-throated diver and try to spot the rift valleys, formed in faults in the bedrock.
There are several marked trails that can be combined into circular trails (4.5–11km), two nature trails (3–3.5km). The trail from Heretty to the Kannuslahti campfire site (500m) is suitable for visitors with prams. If you’re visiting Isojärvi in the summertime, stop by at the Heretty cabin summer café!