It’s mid-July and the first Mustikat begins to ripen and show their characteristic dark blue color between the conifer trees and the marshes. It’s the start of the berry-picking season and one of my favorite places to find blueberries is the Nuuksio National Park.
Nuuksion kansallispuisto was established in 1994. It’s only 30 km from the city center of Helsinki and easy to reach with public transport. From Aalto University you can take the metro and bus to Esbo and from there the 245A bus will take you right to the start of Nuuksio’s hiking trails.
The trails have a big variety from short 1.5 km strolls to more challenging 17 km long hikes. There are also several designated spots for camping and grilling for everyone who wants to make the most out of their visit. My favorite spot for camping is Iso-Holma. From above, the curved lake in the middle of the park reminds me of a hammerhead shark. Within an ocean of trees, this winding creature of a lake creates a beautiful peninsula. On the eastern shore, you will find two camping and campfires sites, free wood for your bonfire, a simple outdoor toilet, and great spots for swimming.
But the park is not only a retreat for busy students, it’s also a refuge for many endangered species. If you are really lucky you can spot the Siberian flying squirrel during the twilight hours. These aerial acrobats can glide up to 75 meters and are the proud emblem of the National Park.
If you want to learn more about the wild side of Nuuksio, I can recommend a stop at Haltia – the Finnish Nature Centre at the entrance of the National Park.
But for me, the very best part of a trip to Nuuksio will always be the nights at the hammerhead shark lake where the flying squirrels live. Especially on a cool September evening, when you are sitting next to a crackling bonfire, wrapped up in your sleeping bag and with your mouth full of freshly picked blueberries.