Exploring Repovesi National Park in Finland
Repovesi National Park has become a popular destination in Finland due to the area being successfully transformed from an intensive commercial forestry zone into a pristine national park with pine trees, birch trees, and beautiful blue lakes. We decided to explore Repovesi National Park like Pocahontas – by canoe, so read on for information on where to rent canoes, what you can expect to see at the park and practical information regarding camping, eating, and transportation.
Canoe Rental in Repovesi National Park
For non-Finnish speakers, the canoe rental company Seikkailuviikari is probably your best (or only) option. You can count on Henna to discuss canoeing options and bookings in English.
Seikkailuviikari (we never succeeded to pronounce it right) can be reached by bus from Kouvola and jumping off at ‘station’ Hillosensalmi Asema. The journey from Kouvola to Hiilosensalmi Asema takes around one hour and costs €5 (no reservations possible, nor needed).
Once you reach the station, cross the railway tracks to discover the hidden canoe rental location, but don’t expect to see any clear signage. Rental equipment from Seikkailuviikari comes with life vests, a plastic map of the Repovesi National Park area and a watertight barrel for keeping valuables.
Being canoe rookies, we zig-zagged through the first few miles, only to discover that we had been circling around the same island for an hour! But we didn’t care because the sun was shining and as Dan Elden once said; “The journey is the destination”.
In the summer months, you can easily paddle in daylight until 10pm and an average pace of 2-3 mph should be doable, so depending on how many breaks you take and your general health condition, distances of 5-10 miles a day should be possible for novice canoe’ers.
Nature at Repovesi National Park
Finland’s nature in Repovesi National Park and the whole south of the country consists of an abundance of lush green countryside and crystal-clear lakes. With daily rain showers, even in summer, you’ll soon figure out where all the lake water comes from. But all this rain does not spoil the fun of exploring Repovesi National Park by canoe – when paddling in the midst of these epic lakes and rocky islands, you’ll soon forget about a few rain drops. And the weather at Repovesi National Park can suddenly change so the sun is never far away.
A highlight of Repovesi National Park is being able to float in your canoe, close your eyes and hear absolutely nothing. These moments of pure zen are incredible and joyful experiences to share with your partner, family or friends. Combine those peaceful times with late night laughs while drinking hot cocoa by your crackling private campfire and your batteries will be recharged in no time.
Repovesi National Park Camping, Eating, and Transportation
Camping is only possible in designated areas so we camped at the sites of Lojukoski, Maakija and Kapiavesi. Even in the most remote Repovesi National Park spots, its popularity means you won’t be the only camper at any of the camping sites. Some camping sites offer drinking water and a campfire (chopped wood) for free but beware that there are no shops or places to eat nearby so pack everything you need to eat and bring it with you.
We brought muesli and milk (powder + sanitized water) for breakfasts, knäckebröd crackers with berry jam for lunch, a recovery bar for an afternoon snack and dried meats for the evening meals. Good preparation is key when visiting Repovesi National Park, so check out our ultimate checklist on ‘what to pack’!
Apart from birdlife such as the red-throated diver, grebe, and raven, we didn’t encounter much in the way of extraordinary wildlife, however, bears, foxes, and fish eagles have been spotted in this area.
Fishing for pike only resulted in catching some small bass which are not worth eating, but other hikers we met managed to catch more substantial fish. We did manage to harvest some delicious wild berries and mushrooms, however, you should be confident you’re picking and eating the right ones to avoid trippy nightmares!
Getting From Helsinki to Repovesi National Park
Getting from Helsinki to Repovesi National Park is fairly easy by public transport:
- Trains stop in the municipality center of Mäntyharju and the town of Kouvola. Trains no longer stop in Hillosensalmi. If you need to buy supplies for an overnight trip, Kouvola is your best option. Gas stations offer camping gas and supermarkets are located near the station. Also, the connection with the bus is better in Kouvola. We stayed at the value hotel Touristihovi. Don’t let the exterior put you off 🙂
- Coaches travel daily in summer from the town of Kouvola to Lapinsalmi parking area. Check for timetables.
If you want to reconnect with nature but without being too far away from civilization, Repovesi National Park is the place to go!
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About the Author
Adventures Like You is a Belgian blog collective inspiring their followers to travel beyond their comfort zone and choose awesome, non-mainstream locations and activities. Exciting experiences create long-lasting memories, so go ahead and explore your next adventure with Adventures Like You!