The Republic of Karelia

The untouched nature of Arctic Karelia

The world's deepest lakelet, spruce, moss and mountains near the Arctic Circle

05.07.2022 // In the very north of Karelia, on the border with Finland and the Murmansk Region, Paanajarvi National Park was established on 20 May 1992. The main goal of its foundation is to preserve the pristine beauty of Arctic Karelia. After all, here, near the Arctic Circle, you can see northern nature as it was before the time of man.

More than half of the 104,000 hectares of the reserve are covered by virgin forests, where no timber logging has ever been carried out.

The undisturbed forests are incredibly picturesque: lichen envelops the trees like a white blanket, stone blocks are covered with moss, and huge anthills rise up among the spiky spruce. Hundreds of lakes shine like mirrors, surrounded by magnificent mountain peaks, and amazing hanging bogs can be seen here and there on the steep mountain slopes looking as if they are floating in the air. In Paanajarvi, the lake, to which the park owes its beautiful melodious name, deserves special attention.

Paanajarvi National Park is open to tourists, but it is still a protected area, so you can't just walk into it. Before starting the hike, you need to buy an entrance ticket and coordinate the route in the visitor's centre of the park. It won't take long, because it's easy to get to. It is located in the Pyaozersky settlement. It can be reached by route taxi from the nearest railway station, Loukhi. An unpaved road leads from the Pyaozersky settlement to the park. The distance is about 60 km.

After all, it is the deepest lakelet, not only in Fennoscandia but in the whole world. With a length of 24 km, Paanajarvi Lake is 128 m deep, so the Karelian lake is often called a mini Baikal Lake. It is hidden in a deep ravine and looks incredibly picturesque from the heights of the surrounding mountains. And if you go down to the clear water surface, you can sail around Paanajarvi Lake on a real wooden boat.

One of the park's amazing natural attractions is the Kivakkakoski Waterfall on the Olanga River.

This is the largest of all the waterfalls in Karelia. The waters of the river fall from a height of 12 m, forming seven cascades.

There are other waterfalls in the park — Mutkakoski, Mäntyukoski, and Selkäkoski. It is very convenient to visit all the park's sights: visitors can use ecological trails and routes with information boards, as well as constructed bridges over streams and bogs of the protected area. Guests can stay overnight at a specially equipped campsite or a cabin in the woods, and the next day rent a motorboat or kayak. And if you buy a licence in advance at the visitor's centre in the Pyaozersky settlement, you can also go fishing.

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