nature destinations


The Archipelago of Paalasmaa

 The Archipelago of Paalasmaa

Paalasmaan saaristo

Level of difficulty: easy/average

Paalasmaa is an archipelago which consists of three islands: Pääsaari (the Head Island), Toinensaari (the Second Island) and Kolmassaari (the Third Island). The islands are connected by bridges, however the archipelago itself is accessible only by a ferry docked at Hirvisalmi. The ferry is provided free of cost for Vehicles and pedestrians, however the ferry operator has certain times when they are required to take their rest breaks. In addition, Paalasmaa is one of Finlands most densely populated islands and has a popular Camping ground in Paalasmaa with a wide terrace overlooking the Pielinen lake. The Camping ground serves customers from June to August end. (Address: Eteläpääntie 140).

Note! Legal breaks for Ferry operators:

• 8:30 - 8:50
• 11:30 - 11:50
• 16:30 - 16:50
• 19:30 - 19:50



The scenic route through Paalasmaa

The archipelago of Paalasmaa has a 9.8km long scenic route that wraps around the islands, goes over meandering bridges that hug the waters of lake Pielinen and takes you all the way to Arkkusaari. The route takes you past four breathtaking stopovers that are located at the edges of lake Pielinen. The panoramas presented to us at these stops are uncomparable. These stops, the village of Kannas and the islands of Honkasaari, Karhusaari and Arkkusaari are surrounded by luscious green birches to provide shade and shelter to those who have stopped for a barbecue, or a picnic or simply to fish.

Route: Turn left towards Nurmes from the ABC in Juuka and drive 2.8 kms before turning right towards Paalasmaa. This turn is the start of the archipelago’s scenic route. The route passes through all the main islands and ends after 9.8 kms at Arkkusaari.

The bird-watching tower of Kaajanlampi

Kaajanlampi provides avid birdwatchers with a tower that provides a 360 panorama of Paalasmaa. The pond plays host to various bird populations from waterfowls to the handsome mallards. Consider yourself fortunate if you discover a beautiful swan, the national bird of Finland. A book located in the area has recorded observations of bird sightings located from the tower, and an information opus helps you locate bird species visible from the tower.

Route: Turn left towards Nurmes from the ABC in Juuka and drive 2.8 kms before turning right towards Paalasmaa. A 2.5 km straight drive leads to a turn onto Lamminkyläntie. 1.7 kms after this turn, bear right onto Salmelantie and stop after 600 metered. The path to the tower starts on the left, highlighted by a sign mounted on a post.

The nature trail of Paalasmaa and observation tower of Sydänvaara - hill

This 15 kilometers long nature trail in Paalasmaa offers a variety of natural thrills to avid hikers and bikers. The nature trail passes by the observation tower of Paalasma, which is located on the highest point of the Paalasmaa archipelago. The observation tower offers a 360 degree panorama of Paalasmaa. Towards the northest point of this nature trail lies a hut with a barbecue setup at Saarenpää. The route offers views of the village house of Paalasmaa as well as the chapel of the Evangelical Lutherians.

This nature trail is covered with different wild flowers like the aromatic common yarrow, as well as the delicate bellflower.

Route: The nature trail begins from within the yard of Paalasmaa Camping (Eteläpääntie 140). Start the route by hiking over the Paalasmaantie to Nevalanpääntie. Hike for about 1.8 km, turn left and follow the route to the observation tower. Continue your trip from the tower to Saarenpääntie, turn right and continue hiking for about 3.5 km to the barbeque hut.


The area- and terrain maps of the Paalasmaa


Contact details

Tourist info

Our main Info center in located in the Municipal hall;

Juuan kunta
Poikolantie 1 
83900 Juuka

Open: Mon - Fri, 9am - 3pm

Ph. +358 40 104 2865 (Information point of the Municipal Hall)
Ph. +358 40 104 2000 (Switchboard)
Fax. (+358 13) 472 123

There are also Info boards at various locations around Juuka, for instance;

Teboil gas station - Opposite the Kivikylä
Pullover stops on Highway 6


Note! Kartalla - also in English!

VisitKarelia link