The enchanting Patvinsuo National Park

I’d thought about visiting this place for a long time now.

Through a series of fortunate events this dream came true late June of 2017.

I took off from Kangasala early in the morning on a Wednesday and picked my friend Asta along from Joensuu. Mother Nature was looking mighty fine even through the car window.

The plan was to spend three days outdoors and focus on enjoying this unfamiliar national park and make moderate hikes per day. We’d do the Suomunkierto route and do a trip to Teretinniemi birdwatch tower.

We started off with the most vital part: food!

We cooked lunch on the Kurkilahti bay campfire, which is conveniently accessible by car. Beautiful white sand covers the bay and as we discovered, there are a bunch of these amazing beaches all over Patvinsuo.

After lunch we hiked to the tower through a few mires.

The landscape was phenomenal. The mires stretched as far as the eye can see on both sides of the boardwalks with marsh Labrador tea and cottongrass glowing all over the place. The sun shined and made the whole scenery look so pretty.

We both kept saying “Look!” and “Oh man, it’s so beautiful!”. Needless to say, we were smitten.


The boardwalks were in good condition and birdsong filled the air. We found out later that the more vocal ones were sandpipers and golden plovers. Because I still have the vegetation exam in August, I kept an extra eye on the greens. I’m glad to say I found a few that will be in the test.

The Teretinniemi birdwatch tower was a lovely little place and the area also had a lean-to. The condition of the rest stops was consistently good and they always had sticks for sausage roasting, waste bins and toilet paper in the outhouses.


On our way back the sky fell down on us and continued way past when we arrived on the camping area at Suomu.

Suomu nature hut and camping area

They have this little hut that provides information about local nature and history and that also sells lovely little handmade items and also coffee and pastries. You can also book a sauna, kayaks, rowboats and accommodation. A charming little spot!

I fell in love with a pair of wool socks but they only accepted cash so I had to leave them behind. However, the host asked me to take off my sunglasses and said:

“You have honest eyes. Take them and pay the amount on my bank account when you get the chance.”

How awesome was that! What hospitality!

We pitched our tent on the designated area. There was a lot of space and privacy for each group. Then again there was only one other group of people so it was pretty quiet.

Suomu also has a cooking shelter, outhouses, a station for washing dished and a firepit. And a long beach with a rental sauna on the cape.

A good alternative is to set up your HQ here and make day trips to other destinations.

Come sundown, we made some Trangia pizza under the cooking shelter and talked and talked. When the rainfall stopped, we headed into the tent convinced that this trip would only get better.

Suomunkierto route

The following morning we had a peaceful breakfast on the sun-kissed beach and even went swimming! After that we packed out things and continued on. The terrain was easy and beautiful, mainly pine trees, small mires, ponds and streams. Not to mention the breath-taking view of the lake. There were plenty of mosquitoes but bug repellent kept them in check.

The day couldn’t have been more beautiful. We ran into a few fellow hikers who weren’t from around here.

We had a longer break at the Pokkaniemi campsite, which was surrounded by the lake on all fronts. We journeyed on to Virtaniemi, which is in the half-way mark of the route (15 km).

Leading to Virtaniemi is a gorgeous gray bridge and a lovely trail.

First we had to have a refreshing swim. Just as we got our tents upright, two guys in full fishing gear arrived on the beach. They were going to try their fishing luck  later that night. It was pleasant to see again how love for nature unites people.

After a nice dinner we went for a walk to see the flowers and tree roots serpenting on the ground.


Sunrays woke us up the next morning and after another serene breakfast we were on our way. A nice breeze kept the bugs away.

The pine woods became thicker and the sandy beaches longer.

Before too long we arrived at the Suomu nature hut, jumped in the water again and made some coffee.

Patvinsuo National Park surprised us, in a good way.

The local nature was spectacular and everything was well-maintained. I could see myself spending a longer period of time here, maybe go kayaking. You can also combine this route to Patvinkierros (30km). But should you choose to do this, you need to take the Hiienvaara shooting range into consideration. It’s located between the Lahnalampi parking lot and the Pirskanlampi pond. During shooring rehearsals it’s it’s prohibited to walk in the area.

In winter time I could see myself skiing here and with just this one trip, I’m more than willing to recommend this beautiful destination.

In addition to nature’s beauty it was lovely to experience the social aspect of the outdoors.

My hiking buddy Asta is a summer job coworker from 15 years ago and everything on this trip went better than I ever could’ve hoped.



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