The whirlpool in Myllykoski scenic area at winter in Oulanka National Park, Kuusamo, Finland
© Lassi Rautiainen/Minden Picture
Winter in the Finnish wilds
Don't be fooled by this frozen scene's tranquility. Once the snow melts in northern Finland's Oulanka National Park, the river’s gentle swirl will turn to deafening rapids, hosting rafters as well as waterfall-peeping tourists. But there's time to enjoy the winter calm, since the region's wintery cold regularly stretches into April or May.
The partly frozen whirlpool churns near Myllykoski, a defunct mill that's now a resting point along Finland's busiest nature trail, Karhunkierros. The 80-kilometre route begins more than 800 kilometres north of Helsinki, with midsummer hikers enjoying treks lit by the midnight sun. For determined skiers and snowshoers (a snowshoe is a flat racket-like device used to walk on snow), portions of the trail remain open through the frigid winter.