Discover some of the hidden gems and offbeat experiences for families in the Finnish side of Kvarken.

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When it comes to cultural experiences and nature, Kvarken has lots of things to offer for the whole family and the easiest way to get around is by car.

So, Let’s explore some of the offbeat experiences in the Finnish side of Kvarken!

If you arrive with the Wasaline ferry to the shore of Vaasa on the Finnish side of Kvarken, you will immediately notice its beautiful archipelago. Hundreds of islands and islets have been exposed as the land continuously rises, creating a beautiful, ever changing landscape.

Take a drive to the bigger islands outside the city centre of Vaasa, to explore and discover this unique landscape. There are lots of bridges connecting the islands, and you will pass over Replot Bridge, one of the architectural wonders of this road construction project. 

The Replot Bridgeconnects the island of Replot with the mainland in Korsholm near Vaasa. The bridge is 1,045 meters long and the longest bridge in Finland. Photo: Keneth Nedergård


Drive towards the island of Björkö towards Svedjehamn and take a stroll around the Saltkaret hiking area. Climb the observation tower there for a magnificent view over De Geers moraines as they rise higher and higher above the surface of the sea, creating a unique pattern across the land.

Copyright: Janicke Hansen / Kvarken Destinations

Saltkaret lookout tower at the UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo: Janicke Hansen / Kvarken Destinations


To fully experience the beauty and wildness of this part of the archipelago, drive to the island of Börsskäret, towards Klobbskätt village to reach Kalles Inn, where you can stay for the night in one of several glass house cabins right in the heart of nature close to the Bothnian sea.  

Driving north from Vaasa along the coast, you will reach the Jakobstad Region, which is perfect to explore with its many hidden cultural experiences. Nanoq is a small and very interesting museum built to resemble a living Arctic village with many small huts, in which you can get acquainted with Arctic cultures and customs, and hear interesting stories about famous expeditions to both the North and South Poles. Nanoq Museum has actually been chosen as the most interesting tourist destination in Finland.


Copyright: Janicke Hansen / Kvarken Destinations

The founder of Nanoq Pentti Kronqvist,made numerous excursions including to Svalbard Greenland and Siberia. Photo: Janicke Hansen / Kvarken Destinations


Another small, but very interesting location perfect for a road trip stop in this region is Tyynelän Tontut. Get to know the local craft and visit the elves’ house and workshops. Don’t forget to buy your favorite handmade elf to join you on the rest of the trip and bring home as a unique souvenir. 


All elves at Tyynelä are handmade, from the body up to the clothing, by the owner Eija Porkola. They have their own personality, their own name and work in the farmhouse. Photo: Tyynelän Tontut


For a tranquil and quiet overnight experience, stay in a spacious treehouse in the Finnish woods at Emmes Retreat, and rejuvenate with activities like forest bathing, forest yoga, kayaking and sauna.


Photo: LOLA AKINMADE AKERSTROM / Kvarken Destinations Contnentbank

Beautiful nature with forests and a pristine lake right at the doorstep to your tree house- or your Tentsile tree tent, that you also can find at Emmes Retreat! Photo: Lola Akinmade Akerstrom


Driving further north along the coast, you will reach Kokkola, one of the charming wooden towns of Kvarken. Kokkola´s old town Neristan is one of Finland’s most valuable and best-preserved historical wooden urban districts. Take a stroll between the colorful blocks of houses that used to be residential areas for craftsmen and seafarers.

From Kokkola, you can go by ferry to one of the remote islands called Tankar Island. On the island, there is a nice small village with wooden buildings, a church, some holiday homes and a cafe. During the summer, it’s possible to stay in a simple hut overnight. The most iconic building on the island is its red lighthouse.

In summer it is possible to spend the night in a simple hut on the islands of Tankar. The most iconic building on the island is the red white lighthouse: Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

After exploring the northern coastal area of Kvarken, it’s time to head inland and southeast towards Seinäjoki. This area is perfect for a few days of amusement and fun, as you find both Ähtäri Zoo and amusement park Powerpark here.


The Ähtäri Zoo is a close-to-nature zoo and it has a huge collection of Nordic animals. Foto: Ähtäri Zoo


International species conservation projects are also an important part of the Ähäri Zoo park’s work, and that’s the reason why you can meet giant pandas in the park. There’s also a small petting farm where children can get close to farm animals. I


f you’re looking for an adrenaline rush after a long day driving through Finnish nature, try out the treetop climbing facilities at Flowpark. Great fun for both children and adults.Photo: Photo: Lola Akinmade Akerstrom


For even more adrenaline, head to the Powerpark which offers over 40 rides and an outdoor go-karting track amongst other things. Powerpark has been ranked five times the best amusement park in Finland, so don’t miss it when in this area of Kvarken.


A fantasy world for pleasure seekers of all ages. The karting track is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Photo: PowerPark

If you are interested in discovering one of Finland’s most famous architects, a guided tour at the Alvar Alto centre is recommended. Closeness to nature and intriguing lines are characteristic of Alvar Alto’s organic designs and architecture, and you can discover a collection of his buildings in Seinäjoki’s administration and cultural centre. Spend the night at charming Hotel Alma in the city centre or at Hotel Kivitippu, a family-friendly hotel located along the shores of the largest impact crater lake in Europe – Lappajärvi.


Right at the edge of crater laket, Hotel Kivitippu offers a variety of activities, such as Sauna experiences, cruises on the lake, SUP paddling, golf, fishing. In addition, with the help of virtual reality, you can experience the last moments of the meteorite before it crashed to the earth’s surface about 78 million years ago. Foto: Kivitippu


After amusement and cultural experiences, head towards the Finnish coast in the southern part of Kvarken to Kristinestad. Driving through beautiful nature from the inland towards the coast is a scenic ride passing through open farmland and picturesque villages. Reaching Kristinestad, the road leads you directly to the heart of town.

Kristinestad is one of the well preserved wooden towns of Kvarken with a long tradition in ship building and maritime activities. Walk between rows of colorful yet simple wooden houses or stroll along the seaside with impressive Empire-style merchants’ trade buildings.

Spend the night in one of its historical buildings at Hotel Krepelin an atmospheric apartment hotel with a sense of history located in the center of Kristinestad. The hotel is located in a 200 year old wooden sea merchant residence. Its external facades have been preserved in their original state, but internally, some renovations have been made to its historic interiors into nine different kinds of apartments with antique furnishings. The hotel is perfect for families as apartments have equipped kitchens, a small private seating area outside, and a bigger common area for the guests to use.


Apartmenthotel Krepelin is located in the center of Kristinestad. Photo Hotel Krepelin


Another great option for your overnight stay is at Wanha Tupa, a cosy renovated farmhouse in the countryside just outside the town of Kristinestad. Here, you can enjoy the ambience of rural life with the entire family with access to a traditional Finnish wooden sauna and a covered barbecue area in the open courtyard.


Copyright: LOLA AKINMADE AKERSTROM / Kvarken Destinations

A traditional Finnish hot sauna and a summer kitchen with barbecue facilities are available to guests of the Wanha Tupa. Photo: Lola Akinmade Akerstrom


Head north following the coastline towards Vaasa again if you wish to explore even more exciting nature and culture in Kvarken. The fast and easy way to cross over the Bothnian sea is by taking the Wasaline ferry.

And as the ferry transports you across the sea, you can enjoy a meal in its restaurants, relax in the bar area and enjoy the soothing view, while kids can play in the designated play area.


Daily departures, from Umeå to Vaasa and vice versa, with the world’s northernmostall  year-round passenger route. Photo: Wasaline