Welcome to the ruggedly beautiful archipelago renowned for its birds!

The Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park comprises about 100 islands and islets. In the midst of the rugged islands with a few pine trees, reindeer lichen and small bushes of common juniper clinging to cracks in the smooth bedrock, lay hidden some of the most charming green groves as well. Far away from the busy and crowded cities, you can find a private nook of peace, where you can enjoy the beautiful nature and the soothing sound of waves.

In spring, you can witness the greatest natural drama in Europe when millions of arctic birds fly over the area on their migration toward their nesting grounds in the north. Stories based on real life – and the fishermen’s tales – on the military history, marine trade and smuggling operations in the region will inspire your imagination.

But beware the rocks and glacial erratics hiding right under the surface!

A reed bed turning yellow is reflected on the surface of a dark-watered pond. In the background, there are bare trees and trees with leaves turned red by the autumn.
The colours of autumn reflected on the surface of a small pond.

A trip to the east is what every nature and history buff needs

The national park may look barren and stark on the first glance, but adventurers will be surprised by its biodiversity and the rich and eventful local history. The park is especially known for its diverse avian population, but also includes an enticing combination of other natural wonders and traces of history.

On the Mustaviiri island, trekkers can visit the survey triangulation point belonging to the Struve Geodetic Arc, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Struve Geodetic Arc was a method for measuring meridians in the 1800s. The park also features the best-preserved stone labyrinths, called jatulintarha in Finnish (giant’s garden), that were believed to be made by giants.

The lush groves of European ash trees, flower fields and coastal meadows on the Ristisaari island were used for livestock grazing in the past. Today, Ristisaari is a popular spot especially for birdwatchers. On the austere islands of Koivuluoto and Huovari right inside the Finnish–Russian border zone, fishing huts still stand as reminders of the region’s history of fishing, and the fishing trips of times past that sometimes lasted for weeks.

The region’s military history and the diversity of its nature are clearly visible on the islands of Ulko-Tammio and Kilpisaari. On the Suuri-Pisi island, also located right on the border, the monogram of Gustav III of Sweden is engraved on a piece of bedrock in remembrance of the King’s visit in 1777.

Pitkäviiri, an esker jutting out from the sea, is a popular destination for families in the summer due to its shallow sandy beaches.

But where did the smugglers hide their contraband?

 A small marina in a small bay on the shore of a forest island. Sun glitter can be seen out on the sea.
Ulko-Tammio island was used as an outpost during the Second World War. Today, the island is a beautiful travel destination.

Mesmerising sights under the surface

The underwater ecosystem of the eastern Gulf of Finland is a diverse mosaic including both marine and freshwater species.

The sea hides a variety of different habitats: glaciated rock and reefs with patches of bladder wracks, rocks of all shapes and sizes, sandy habitat overrun by vascular plants, gravel locked in a perpetual vortex, and calm muddy bays. The water in the outer archipelago can often be very clear, which makes diving in the area a world-class experience.

The calm bays of the outer archipelago offer shelter from predators, which is important for the numerous fish larvae swimming around in the Baltic Sea. The importance of the eastern Gulf of Finland has been internationally recognised: the region has been designated as an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area (EBSA) by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 The rocky shore of an islet, rocks breaking the surface of the water.
Calm autumn landscape in the outer archipelago.

How to visit

The Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park is easiest to access with a private boat or a kayak suitable for the open sea. Commuter ferries operate throughout the year between the mainland and the islands Kaunissaari and Haapasaari, located near the national park.

Maps and transportation options 

Read about the services and marinas in the area

In the summer, Ulko-Tammio can be reached during weekends with a scheduled boat from Hamina. The boat's schedule in Finnish. 

The islands in the national park can also be accessed with a boat taxi from Hamina:

Boat taxi, max. 12 persons, queries: Jyrki Laamanen, tel. +358 40 5483 182.

Boat taxi, max. 8 or 6 persons, TakSea ky in Finnish or in Russian.