national park by the Finnish coast
Europe > Nordic countries > Finland > West Coast (Finland) > Bothnian Sea National Park

Bothnian Sea National Park (Finnish: Selkämeren kansallispuisto) is a maritime National Park in South-West Finland. About 98 % of the park consists of sea and most of it is accessible only by boat.

Bothnian Sea National Park has no specific information hut or nature cabinet. The national park customer service may be contacted by phone +358 206 39 4620 or e-mail rannikko@metsa.fi.

There is a virtual tour to the national park here (in Finnish only).

UnderstandEdit

 
The Isokari village in the 1890s

The Bothnian Sea National Park was established in 2011. The main idea is to preserve the underwater nature in the northern Baltic Sea as well as some important nesting sites for pelagic birds. The park is 160 km long in North-South direction but only some 10-20 kilometers wide in West-East direction. The bays, islands, islets and skerries in the park are notable for their birdlife. Also the grey seals are common.

Some islands have remarkable maritime or naval history, Katanpää and Isokari being perhaps the most important ones.

Get inEdit

 
The pier at Säppi

The park consist mostly of open sea and small islands. Only 1 Preiviikinlahti area in Pori and 2 Salttöö in Merikarvia can be reached by car. Pori local bus network between the centre and Yyteri pass by the Preiviikinlahti area. The bay is within walking distance from the road.

If you have a boat there are excursion harbours and three guest marinas on the larger islands. The excursion harbours have just dry toilets and fireplaces, while guest marinas are operated by local entrepreneurs and offer at least some more services (see section sleep).

Local entrepreneurs arrange boat trips and guided tours

There are several daily coach connections from Turku to Uusikaupunki as well as from Tampere to Pori. There are daily coaches along E8 between Turku and Oulu with stops at Rauma, Pori, Luvia and Merikarvia. You may need to call a taxi or use a bike to get forward.

You can also get to Pori by train from Tampere. In summer there are local buses from Pori railway station straight to Yyteri.

Fees and permitsEdit

There are no fees for entrance, boating, hiking or camping with tent. There are some services available for fees like transportation to the islands, lodging, meals, boat rental and guided tours.

This is a national park so right to access is limited. Picking berries and edible mushrooms is allowed but otherwise nothing may be taken out, damaged or moved around. Making a fire is allowed only on official campfire sites. These are shown on the maps and equipped with firewood, except on Munakari and Nirvo. Making a fire is forbidden if a wildfire warning is in effect.

Dogs must be kept on leash all the time.

Scuba diving is permitted as most of the nature here is underwater. Biking is permitted but the bikers must stay on trails.

Angling and ice fishing are permitted as everyman's rights. For fishing with reel and lure, paying the national fishing fee is required. Most other fishing requires additional permits.

Hunting the waterfowl and seals is allowed within certain areas. All hunting activities require a permit.

Get aroundEdit

See also: Boating in Finland, Sea kayaking
 
Map of Bothnian Sea National Park

Getting around this national park mostly require some sort of boat. There are easy nature trails in the Preiviikinlahti area. Otherwise the easiest way is to participate in some guided tour from mainland towns. The bird watching towers Eteläranta and Lankoori in Preiviikinlahti area are accessible also by wheelchair (only the latter one is inside the national park).

The area is shown on Finnish Nautical Chart Folio E 1:50 000. The islands themselves are small enough to be explored without a map.

Beware bird nesting islets and avoid approaching or landing on those.

SeeEdit

 
Atrillery piece hidden in the bedrock on Kuuskajaskari

The main attractions are the vivid birdlife, the lighthouse islands – and the sea, of course. In addition to seabirds the gray seal is abundant.

There are a number of bird watching towers around Preiviikinlahti bay in Pori. Of these Leveäkari, Huhtala and Lankoori are located inside the national park. The number of nesting water fowls is notable but during the spring and autumn there are literally thousands of migrating pelagic birds. The Preiviikinlahti has also notable flora with some rare aquatic and semi-aquatic species.

Marked nature trails on the islands Iso-Enskari, Säppi and Kuuskajaskari, and a trail network in the Preiviikinlahti-Yyteri area on the mainland are easy to walk. The nature trail on the Isokari island is mostly outside the national park itself.

The lighthouses on Kylmäpihlaja, Isokari and Säppi may be visited with guided tours. Kuuskajaskari and Katanpää islands are former military fortresses, the latter one being used until 1999. Katanpää has also served as a prison. Most of these islands have several services including lodging and restaurant. If you are travelling with your own yacht the price for a lighthouse visit only is around €10-15/person. Otherwise it might be more convenient to take an arranged tour including meals and transportation from the mainland.

  • 1 Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse, +358 45 175 0619, . June-August. The lighthouse has been turned into a hotel and restaurant. Access to the observation deck. A return ticket for a trip to the island €28/adult. The vessel leaves from and arrives to Poroholma Holiday Resort, some 2 km from the centre of Rauma.
  • 2 Isokari lighthouse, +358 40 1866 350, . daily late-June to mid-August. The tallest lighthouse in Bothnian Bay is still working as a maritime safety equipment. A cruise with M/S Kerttu from Uusikaupunki include a guided tour to the island, warm lunch and a visit to the lighthouse. The stairs in the lighthouse have about 170 steps. M/S Kerttu operates from Uusikaupunki harbour in the middle of town. adults €10, children €5; cruise+tour €65/adult, €29/child.
  • 3 [dead link] Säppi lighthouse, +358 50 387 9102, . A day trip from Laitakari in Luvia (5 km off town) every Sunday in July €35/adult, €15/child. From Kuuminainen Cape in Pori (25 km off town) Wed & Sun in July-August €30/adult, €10/child. €30-35 (including trasportation).
  • A small group of feral mouflons are living on Säppi island.
  • 4 Putsaari hidden chapel (Putsaaren piilokirkko). A small wooden chapel, just few meters across, hidden in the forest on Putsaari. Lots of inscriptions by visitors the oldest one from 1684. The surrounding ground has been used as a graveyard. free.

The Satakunta Museum has the Nature House Arkki in downtown Pori representing local nature including the Bothnian Sea.

DoEdit

 
Bothnian tussock grass by the shore on Säppi
 
Flora on a Kylmäpihlaja beach

Birdwatching, hiking, swimming, snorkling, scuba diving, boating.

BuyEdit

The cafées on Isokari, Kylmäpihlaja and Katanpää can be used for coffee, breweries and snacks. They also have some souvenirs. There are no grocery stores on the islands.

EatEdit

There are booking restaurants on Isokari and Katanpää. Meals are served mostly for groups and/or if ordered in advance. Restaurant in Kylmäpihlaja serve breakfast, lunch, and has à la carte. Some snacks are available at the cafées on Isokari, Kylmäpihlaja and Katanpää.

For a guided tour to Säppi you need to bring your own packed lunch.

Using a camping stove is allowed also during wildfire warnings, provided due care. You should have water at hand.

There are dry toilets on some of the islands. There are no waste bins, you are expected to take all your waste with you.

DrinkEdit

The natural water in the area is generally not potable. Check if there is a tap on the island. Otherwise you must bring the water with you of buy some from the cafées.

SleepEdit

LodgingEdit

There are lodging facilities on Isokari, Kylmäpihlaja, Kuuskajaskari and Katanpää islands.

Guest marinasEdit

Excursion harboursEdit

The excursion harbours don't have any other facilities but a dry toilet and a campfire site. In Nirvo and Munakari you need to bring your own firewood.

  • 8 Pihlus excursion harbour
  • 9 Nirvo excursion harbour
  • 10 Säppi excursion harbour
  • 11 Iso-Enskeri excursion harbour
  • 12 Seliskeri excursion harbour
  • 13 Munakari excursion harbour

CampingEdit

Short term camping on the islands is permitted but there are no specific camping sites. On some islands there are wooden pallets to be placed under the tent.

Stay safeEdit

Ticks are common and carry both borreliosis and TBE. Also snakes are common on the islands. Wet rocks, especially with algae on their surface, are truly slippery. Some areas have poor mobile phone network.

Go nextEdit


This park travel guide to Bothnian Sea National Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.