After spending two days in Helsinki it was time for me to explore more of Finland. Together with five other bloggers I travelled north to Koli National Park. Here you’ll find beautiful forests and sceneries, and the view that used to be the face of Finland.
How to get here
This was a post-trip organised by PING and sadly we flew from Helsinki. Flying within a country is something I am highly against so this did not sit well with me, but on a press trip there’s not much you can do to affect details like this unless you’re a part of it during the planning stage.
But if you like me want to travel here in a more sustainable way you take a train to Joensuu and then a bus to Koli.
Upon arrival we met up with our guide and headed into the forest. She told us the history of the place and the story behind the three hills Akka, Ukko and Paha (mother, father and child).
“In an age of rapid technological advances and the increasing exploitation of natural resources people began to yearn for the simpler pleasure of nature. This was a time of political tension, and the rise of Finnish nationalism was also reflected in the arts. Koli’s landscapes began to symbolise the face of Finland. Landscape paintings from this period also express contemporary perceptions of nature and the need for conservation.”
Lake Pielinen – The Face of Finland
The view over the lake have been captured by many different artists, capturing the spirit of the place. Inspired by an artwork of Lake Pielinen by Eero Järnefelt, the head of the Finnish forest administration ensured that the hills of Koli where purchased for the state in 1907.
We stopped at the top of Ukko-Koli to enjoy the view so many have seen before us, and we also had a few cups of refreshing Finnish birch water, freshly tapped from the trees.
The cups come from Kupilka – a Finnish company that produces the cups using natural fibre composite: Eco-friendly cellulose fibres from certified Finnish forests reinforce the material with FDA approved polypropylene used as an adhesive.
Hurray for sustainable options and innovations!
We stayed at a beautiful hotel only 300 meters from the forest which is precisely how I like my hotels; situated in a calm, secluded area in a nordic forest.
After our hike we all enjoyed a powerful yoga session before hitting the spa where we relaxed while the fir trees swayed outside the windows and all was silent. After traveling back and forth and attending PING it was nice to slow down with a glass of bubbel in the jacuzzi overlooking the forest.
After relaxing in the spa it was time for dinner.
Besides the hotel and outdoor centre, there’s is nothing but nature here (which I love!), and so dinner took place in the hotel’s own restaurant. And this I have zero complaints about since the food was outstanding and the service wonderful.
During the dinner we all spoke about our previous travels, what country we liked the most and where we’ve had our most amazing experience. The other bloggers had traveled far and wide and had a lot of amazing stories to tell.
What was my answer?
Standing outside my house in Sweden on a dark, quiet winter night watching the northern lights dance across the skies while the sound of a fox echoed through the forest.
When the dinner was done and the sun started to set, I decided to make use of the fact that the hotel is so close to the forest and the national park. I changed into my plaid, put on my hat and headed out to watch the world go to sleep together with this years first mosquitoes.
Thank you Koli National Park, you are beautiful and I understand why you were the face of Finland.