For us, as for many others, this year has been a year of inner peace. We used our house on wheels for short trips in spring, summer and autumn. One of the highlights was a trip to Ostrobothnia, which we made at the beginning of the summer.
The main reason was to get to know the family and we also appreciated what the environment had to offer.
Caravan trip to Ostrobothnia
Ostrobothnia in Finland is very popular with tourists. Along the way we explored nature and visited national parks and places like this one.
In addition, Ostrobothnia has many old red buildings and beautiful postcard coastal towns. So, on the way home, we watched them. And walked along the beaches and sand dunes along the coast.
So this is what Ostrobothnia, the Finnish West, has to offer tourists. To locate you and the map, I’ll show you our route first:
Ostrobothnia Road Route
On the way up we took the inner road, where there are beautiful national parks, and went for a walk on the duck loop:
Hiking in Kauhaneva Pohyankangas National Park, Finland
Then we drove north to the town of Kokkola and back along the main coastal road 8.
Here you can see it on a Google map:
Our itinerary Ostrobothnia on the map
So for the most part they were good straight main roads, but not always. In the whistles, the streets were like this:
Can we go this way or not?
One of us took the lead in controlling this lumberjack road. Shouldn’t we just give up and go back?
But we’ve come all this way, and we’ve come all this way:
Kauhaneva-Podjankangas National Park
Kauhaneva, one of Finland’s 40 national parks.
Because we have been mainly abroad for many years, we have never heard of this national park. Until I found him at Instagram. You had to see this place!
So we left and left our house on wheels in the middle of the forest, a few steps from the entrance of the Nordpark. Because it was not too late, there was still time for an evening walk to Lake Kauhalampi, the largest lake in the national park.
Hiking around Kauhalampi, Kauhaneva-Podjankangas National Park
Besides the Kauhalampi there are hundreds of small lakes in the park, which look like small swampy ponds.
The length of the route is 4.5 km plus 1 km to get to and from the starting point. They are usually duckbills and they walk very well.
Then we threw ourselves into a dark lake, they built the perfect swimming spot for it.
Pictures of the hike and the campsite where we spent the night:
Kauhaneva Podjankangas National Park in pictures
More information about this South Ostrobothnia National Park can be found on the website of the Finnish National Park Luontoon.fi On the same website you will also find a map of Kauhaneva Podjankangas Park and information about another adjacent national park – Lauhanvuori.
Camping Nummikangas, Kauhaneva Podjankangas National Park.
contains two other articles on Finnish national parks, the summer article on Konnevesi National Park in Southern Central Finland and the winter article on Urho Kekkonen National Park in Lapland.
Katikankanjoni, Ostrobothnia: Sand ridges and old forest
The next morning it was cloudy and even rainy. So we went to a separate part of the same national park, half an hour’s drive.
Katicankanjoni (Katika Canyon) is an old fairytale forest with high, narrow ridges, which originated in the ice age. There are deep gorges between the ridges, and a wild stream runs underneath.
To see the forest, it is necessary to walk on the ridges and gorges for 2 km. In places like this:
Photo tour in the forest of Katicankanjoni
The highest point is called Klementulenlakki, the cap of the three winds. Three Winds Cap lies on a high triangular sand ridge with steep walls (left hand side picture).
The Dreiwindmütze, like the entire gorge, has a long tradition as a magical place for its inhabitants.
Even in light rain, a fairytale walk of 2 kilometers through the forest was very nice, except for the hundreds of mosquitoes that were bothering us from start to finish. But because there were no mosquitoes the night before, we weren’t prepared for that.
The magical flow of Ostrobothnia: Katikankanjoni
The gorge has a fairly large parking lot at the edge of the forest where the path starts, but it’s not exactly where I prefer to spend the night. So we continued walking and soon we arrived in a long green valley:
Green fields Hyypänjokilaakso, South Ostrobothnia
The Kauhajoki district hides a wide valley with rolling fields, red country houses and quiet villages. The map shows that there are more gorges in the valley, but less than the one we were in.
We loved the valley we happened to find. There was a sign that the Hyypänjoki Valley is a legacy of the traditional landscape.
Then the valley ended with several other historic buildings:
Ostrobothnia on the motorhome: two granaries in Ostrobothnia
It is an old farmhouse in Hämez-Havunen, which is no longer in use today, but where the local food markets are located. All farm buildings are painted red, which is very typical for Ostrobothnia, Finland and Sweden.
Redwood buildings Hyames-Havunen, Kauhajoki
The special color they use is called Falun red, after a pigment that comes from Falun copper mines in Dalarna, Sweden.
Traditionally, colours are baked outdoors by mixing rye flour, linseed oil, water and pigments. Today, however, most artists buy their paintings.
Red Falu allows the house to breathe and stay healthy, and the most important thing is that repainting houses is super easy. All you have to do is remove the paint that came off, and then you paint.
Apple blossoms and Falu houses in Ostrobothnia, Finland.
Now begins the real plain of Ostrobothnia, of which Seinäjoki is the capital. North of Seinyayoki, between the main roads, there is an open air swamp area, the Spiderworm:
Ornithological Tour Paukaneva Tower north of Seinäjoki
Park your car on the main road, then walk a few meters and you’ll end up in another world! Bird songs instead of street noise, walking on the beach instead of a paved road, wild swamp nearby.
On the banks of the Spider Marsh is a forest of tall pines and firs. After the dive the trees are smaller until there are no trees left at all in the central area. This is what the swamps of Black Botnia look like.
Travel to Ostrobothnia: Walks on the beach and spider marsh plants
On a 5 km walk along the promenade or the platypus you will see all kinds of swamps. Either you walk a 7 km long loop around the swamp, or you just make a short tour, like a bird watching tower. In this case it is available until the end.
From the bird watching tower you can observe hundreds of birds during migration (spring and autumn).
In summer there are fewer birds, but more marsh plants such as dwarf birch, mulberry and strawberry. Tufted cotton and Labrador swamp tea are also grown here.
Travel to Ostrobothnia: Migrations in the spider worm
Pukaneva is a protected area and is part of the EU programme for the establishment of a network of nature conservation organisations Natura 2000.
To plan your trip, make a spider card: Spiders on the reply card.
It was a part about nature, now about the Ostrobothnic cities:
Finland in a caravan: Neristan, Kokkola.
The coastal town of Kokkola (Carlebi in Swedish) is an old town proud of its 400th birthday. Kokkola was founded in 1620 by the King of Sweden and has a long and important history as a city of sailors, shipbuilders and resin traders.
Neristan (in the centre of town) is a place where sailors have lived. 12 blocks of well-preserved wooden houses, where wild poppy seeds rest in cellars in summer:
In Neristan, Kokkola is one of the largest old towns in Finland.
The traders again lived in Oppistan (on the outskirts of the city). It is a modern part where there are not many old buildings. Instead, there are still many old merchant villas outside the centre.
Kokkola has a large community with beautiful wooden villas. It’s a place where shopkeepers and the rich spend the summer.
Car trip to Ostrobothnia with a caravan: Tankar Lighthouse, Kokkola.
There is also a network of beacons along the Ostrobottian coast to help sailors find their way back. That’s why Kokkola, as a maritime city, has a lighthouse on the remote island of Tankar.
In summer you can cruise to the deserted Tanker Island, see the red-and-white lighthouse and walk around the island where seal hunters and fishermen lived and worked.
Learn more about Tancar: The oil tanker Coccola
Learn more about Kokkol: Visit to Kokkola
Spicy road trips in a house on wheels: Where to stay
Highlights of caravan travel: Evenings in remote ports
So, where did we spend the night? We preferred remote fishing ports and sandy beaches.
Because I love places like this. When I spend the night by the sea, I can sit in my house on wheels and watch the waves. In the morning I wake up with the fishermen and the seagulls. But above all, nothing beats the sunrises and sunsets that can be seen in these places.
However, the only problem is how to park the car to get the best view, taking into account what you want to see from the kitchen, the sofa, the dining room and the bedroom.
Because the Finnish summer evenings are white, all you have to do is look at the view, maybe all night long. Don’t do that, get some sleep!
For example, it was our night vision from Oya, west of Kokkola:
Night view of Öja in the archipelago of the 7 bridges
Öja is a rural community on the nearby islands of Kokkola and Jakobstad, which is called the Archipelago of the 7 Bridges.
The small coastal village has a harbour for visitors and a sandy beach, both with several old buildings that have been brought here from other places as part of a joint project. There is also a forest trail in Öja.
Ostrobothian Summer Night
They even have a summer cafe that’s open until late. Café Bryggan serves coffee and other things in the traditional lumberhouse:
Cafe Brigan in the traditional logging house.
The nearest town in the south is Jacobstad (in Finnish Pietarsaari).
Jacobstad is also a city with a maritime tradition and has a well-preserved old quarter with wooden houses. In addition, there are several well-maintained parks in the city centre.
From Jacobstad we went to the sandy coast of the city. First we walk, then we spend the night.
The soft sands of Feboda, Jacobstad…
This is what Fyaboda looks like. It is a recreational area 10 km from Jacobstad, which is dominated by three large beaches, one of which resembles a lagoon. All the beaches, Storzend, Lilsand and the beach bars are clean and flat and are ideal for families outdoors.
Between the two there are rocks with paths and carefully organized walks. As you walk through it, you have a breathtaking view of the sea and breathe the fresh, pure sea air, while you can walk even more in the forest.
Feboda, the charm of every journey through Ostrobothnia.
All this makes Fäboda a local favourite, and many people can sit on the pipes. But come here in the middle of the week, out of season, and you’ll find a place where you can dream of spending the night.
How would you feel if you woke up on a sunny morning in a place like this? With those cans?
Phyaboda on the pictures
Fyaboda also has its own culture. There’s a museum: Nanok – Arctic Museum. Nanok is a polar bear from Greenland, and the museum looks like a house on the grass, straight from North Greenland!
It’s a summer morning in February: Travel is life!
More about Fyabod and Jacobstad Visit Jacobstad Pietarsaari
Dinner at sunset on the dunes of Storzand, Ostrobothnia.
There’s another beach in the south with the same name, Storsend. This short sand (large sand) located between Nykarlebi and Vaasa is even bigger and wider.
Nykarleby Storsand consists of long, wide sand dunes supported by a pine forest and marked paths. Here the parking is the ideal place to spend the night in the house on wheels.
The only disadvantage is the long road to Main Road 8 on narrow and winding roads. Despite the fact that Storing really should resign…
To find out more about these enormous dunes and other Finnish campers, please visit Facebook.
And now the red Ostrobothnic houses and traditional buildings: Clemetzgaardarna, Stromse and Perth:
Klemetsgardarna, Ostrobothnia, Finland
Between Jacobstad and Vaasa you will see the red houses of Falu, perhaps less on the main road, but more on all other roads.
Wherever we travel, we are always looking for things that are typical of the region. That’s why we always try to follow the back roads.
Typical two-storey houses in Ostrobothnia
But Clemetzgardaran is right behind the main road, so you can’t miss it.
Klemetsgardaran is a group of houses from the 18th century. They were built by a local public association as a mansion museum.
You can walk among the old houses. I wonder why these houses in Ostrobothnia are so high compared to what is being built in other parts of Finland.
Journey to the small museums of Ostrobothnia
This small real estate museum is located in Maxmo between Jacobstad and Vaasa. Then, north of Vaasa, Stromsa follows:
The style of the Ostrobothnic villa: Stromse, Vaasa
Decorated villa in Stroms, again not on the main road. To visit this villa and its gardens, you have to make a detour to a small coastal village called Wästerwick.
This tastefully furnished villa, famous for TV shows on home economics, cooking and gardening, is situated on a hill overlooking the surrounding garden and the sea.
Greetings from Stromce and Westerwick!
The Villa Stromse is about 160 years old. At the time of construction, the villa was one of the first to be built outside Vaasa.
For almost 100 years Stromse was the summer residence of a family of merchants. Generations of families have spent most of their summers here. They always came until the middle of summer and left until the end of August.
Straw door with wire
Think of all the wires they made and look at the wires on the doors! This fantastic villa is like an Ostrobothnic dream, neat, well painted and well maintained.
Read more about Vaasa and electricity: Visit to Vaasa
A study of Ostrobothnia in a house on wheels: Perthomas Local History Museum
Then there will be more old buildings, this time directly at Main Road 8. It is located in Dalbeken, 3 km north of the small village of Pörtom.
It is a museum of local history with typical buildings brought to the same place. All buildings have been moved from nearby places such as Ahlholma Manor and Småttgården Farm. There is also an art studio and a school museum.
Some details about the Perthom Museum of Local Customs:
Ancient wooden buildings of the Perthomsk Museum of Local History
Read more about Perthomas and the city south of it, Narpes: Visit Närpes : Perthomas Local History Museum.
Some of the 150 stables in the church of Närpes.
Närpes is a town known for its tomato production and church stables. The attraction is the old church, which dates from the 15th century. It has been expanded several times in the last century.
The special thing about the church is that it is surrounded by numerous stables. The red wooden stables are everywhere, in long clean rows. The church in Närpes has 150 stables, which all look the same:
150 stables in the church of Närpes
What are these stables for? Shelters for the horses. They were created for this purpose in the 18th century. Built for centuries.
I wish one of these stables could house us on wheels instead of horses! One, and they’d still have 149. Anyway, these stables aren’t even big enough for a house on wheels.
Coffee break in Närpes: Stables of the church
Read more about the church stables and places of interest in Närpes: Visit Närpes.
Our journey must now continue in a rural setting and we will visit two idyllic coastal towns: Casco and Kirstineshtad.
Kaskinen in Finnish, Kasko in Swedish, bilingual like all the coastal towns of Ostrobothnia. Casco is an island town located on the island of Pukkisaari. The smallest town in Finland and very similar to a postcard. So, some postcards from the airframe:
Kaskinen, Finland’s smallest city.
Kaskinen was founded in 1785 and still looks the same. Long, wide and quiet streets with wooden villas and large gardens.
On a sunny summer day there are no traffic jams, only the occasional cyclist and a lazy cat sleeping on the main road.
The seashore of Cascinna and the nearest island, Jarvon.
Because Cascinne is an island town, the sea is everywhere.
More information about Caskinen, Cascot : Visit Cascinenne.
Ulrika Eleanor Christian City Church
Then our last destination on our way to Kristinestad (Kristiinankaupunki in Finnish), where 6,800 people live. Christinestad is even older than the Cascinena, founded in 1649, it is named after Queen Christina of Sweden.
Because Christinstad escaped the fires that destroyed many wooden cities, the historical area is exceptional. Everything is so well preserved that there are still almost 300 old buildings, all under protection.
Caskinen has wide streets, but Christi-town doesn’t. There are only narrow alleys, some of which are so narrow that if you go through the centre, you can almost reach the walls of the house on both sides. The most famous avenue is Katpiskarranden (three pictures below):
The idyllic town of Christin City, Ostrobothnia, Finland.
Christinstad was the first Finnish city to join the international Cittaslow network of cities founded in Italy.
Cittaslow wants to improve and slow down the quality of life in the cities. Slowing down food, reducing traffic and slowing down traffic. Just like the blades of that windmill in Christinstad:
More information about Kristinestad can be found on the website of Kristinestad.
Christinstad has just completed his journey through Ostrobothnia. I hope you enjoyed your participation in our motorhome in West Finland and that I have given you inspiration and ideas for your future travels!
More information about travelling to Finland
If you travel to Finland in the summer and want to see something interesting, we recommend that you visit our page about ionization:
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