Sights and scenery Walking Canoeing Boating Fishing Pick berries and mushrooms Birdwatching Biking Ski cross-country on maintained trails Snowshoeing Tour skating

What can one do in Punkaharju Esker Nature Reserve?

Walk on Marked Trails

Punkaharju Esker Nature Reserve has an abundant network of trails. Some of these trails are wide sand-based trails and roads which are in good condition and can therefore be travelled by wheelchair.

The Harjureitti trail is 4 km long. Photo: Anne Pyykönen

Go Canoeing and Rowing

It is worthwhile to observe Punkaharju's landscape from the water. The area has canoe and rowing routes also suitable for beginners. Local entrepreneurs offer equipment rental and other services.

Go Sailing or Motor Boating

Visitors can admire the national landscape from boats. On the west side of the esker ridge a ship lane traverses the area between Vaahersalo Island and the ridge. There are services for boaters in the area.

Go Bird Watching

Bird enthusiasts can view typical species found in pine forests in the area. Visitors may have the chance to see the Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis), the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), the Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), the Nubian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) in the area. The Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica), the Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) and the Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) thrive in the area's shore waters. The Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) can be spotted in the Siberian pine forest in Laukansaari area.

See the Sights and Scenery

The area's scenery and unique nature should be experienced on foot along the trails which zigzag on the esker ridge. From the ridge visitors can admire the surrounding national landscape of Finland. The sights in the area are linked to the area's history and nature.

Photo: Anne Pyykönen

Ski Cross-country on Maintained Trails

In wintertime there are numerous ski trails (www.harjureitit.net) in the nature reserve and in its surrounding area. They are maintained by the Länsi-Punkaharju village association.

Snowshoe walking

You can experience winter nature in Punkaharju also by snowshoe walking. There are many marked snowshoe trails in different levels.

Go Fishing

  • Hook and line fishing and ice fishing
    • Hook and line fishing and ice fishing are both permitted in the area as Everyman's Rights (www.ymparisto.fi)
  • Lure Fishing
  • Trap Fishing
    • All 18 to 64 year-olds who wish to trap fish must pay the annual national fishing management fee (www.eraluvat.fi). In addition to this, a Metsähallitus fishing permit is required. Fishing on the southwest side of the Punkaharju-Savonlinna road requires a Pihlajavesi fishing permit (Permit area 7009, www.eraluvat.fi, in Finnish) and on the northeast side a Puruvesi fishing permit (Permit area 7014, www.eräluvat.fi, in Finnish). Permits can also be purchased by phone at +358 (0)20 69 2424.
  • Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).

Go Cycling

The ridge landscape is easy to explore by bicycle. Cycling is allowed on the area's roads and on trails separately marked for this purpose. Local entrepreneurs rent out bicycles.

Go Berry and Mushroom Picking

Picking berries and mushrooms is permitted in the area as Everyman's Rights. The area has an abundant crop of blueberries for example.

Chantarelles to table, Photo: Tiina Linsén

Go Swimming

There are excellent swimming spots at Cape Kuikonniemi and Cape Mustaniemi. There are changing booths at Kuikonniemi. There is no official swimming spot in the area.

Go Tour Skating

In Punkaharju area visitors can try out long-distance skating on maintained natural ice in winter. You can set off on skating excursions from Tuunaansaari village. The route is maintained and ice skates are rented out by Harjun Portti (harjunportti.net).