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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-mailing .

There is a virtual tour of the national park here[dead link] (in Finnish only).


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 km 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 in[edit]

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 permits[edit]

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" (right to access). 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 around[edit]

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 (covering the coast of the Bothnian Sea, 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.


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[dead link] 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, the islands by own boat. 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, Kylmäpihlaja, +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. Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse (Q11873937) on Wikidata Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse on Wikipedia
  • 2 Isokari lighthouse (Enskärs fyr), Isokari, +358 40-186-6350, . Daily late-June to mid-August. The tallest lighthouse in Bothnian Bay is still working as a maritime safety equipment. The island is reasonably large 180 hectares (440 acres), and was used as pasture from the 1600s. The lighthouse was built in the 1830s as symbol of the might of the empire, with stairs suitable for a visit of the emperor. 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. Tours also from Kustavi in July. Adults €10, children €5; cruise+tour €65/adult, €29/child. Isokari lighthouse (Q31825396) on Wikidata
  • 3 Säppi lighthouse (Sebbskärs fyr), +358 50-387-9102, . Lighthouse. A small group of feral mouflons are living on the island. A day trip from Laitakari in Luvia (5 km from town) every Sunday in July €35/adult, €15/child. From Kuuminainen Cape in Pori (25 km from town) Wednesday and Sunday in July-August €30/adult, €10/child. €30–35 (including transportation). Säppi lighthouse (Q17497139) on Wikidata Säppi Lighthouse on Wikipedia
  • 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.


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

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


The cafés 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.


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.


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.



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

Guest marinas[edit]

Excursion harbours[edit]

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


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 safe[edit]

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 next[edit]

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.