Most Beautiful Places in Chile

Stretching 4,270 km (2,653 mi) from the desert around Arica to one of the southernmost points in South America, Chile encompasses a vast range of climates, landscapes and ecosystems. With the Pacific on one side and the Andes on the other, you’ll find here a wealth of photogenic and beautiful places in Chile, as well as many pretty cities and towns from Northern Chile to Southern Chile.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on where to go in Chile, keep reading!

Torres Del Paine National Park
Torres Del Paine National Park

Here are 12 of the most beautiful places in Chile

There are many beautiful places in Chile to visit, covering a vast number of different types of landscapes and experiences.

1. Atacama Desert

The driest non-polar desert in the world, the Atacama desert is full of interesting geological features. Stay in the town of San Pedro de Atacama and take a tour or bicycle ride to nearby sites such as The Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon); an appropriate name for such a weird landscape of multi-hued rocks and dusty salt flats.

Tours also run from the town to El Tatio Geysers (like this one), which are particularly remarkable at dawn when the vast plumes of hot water catch the early morning light. If you’re willing to brave the cold air you can also take a dip in the springs. On the edge of the desert, near the city of La Serena, you can take tours of observatories and get a glimpse of extraterrestrial beauty.

Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert one of the most beautiful places in Chile
Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert

2. Cochamó Valley

This little-visited valley has been compared to Yosemite National Park, and hiking into the valley it’s easy to see why. Huge granite mountains loom high above, with vast waterfalls streaming down into forested valleys.

Those who come here are in for an adventure, with the main tourism centre (La Junta) comprising of just a few accommodation options, one of which is only accessible via a platform connected to a pulley system across a swift river. The hike here alone is over 8 miles away from the nearest car park, but it’s a wonderful hike which slowly reveals the majesty of this valley.

You may even pass a man and his horses bringing supplies to La Junta. Hiking is the star attraction here, with trails leading up into this granite peaks. Although challenging – with few signs and at times precipitous paths – the routes all lead to stupendous viewpoints.

See also: The Best Sunglasses for Hiking & Outdoor Activities

Cochamó Valley, Chile
Cochamó Valley, Chile

3. Valparaíso

Your first impression of Valparaíso may not make you think it’s particularly beautiful, but once you’re closer to the centre of the city you’ll realise that it has its own particular style. The Historic Quarter is replete with colourful buildings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here there are grand, ornate edifices, delightful little squares, and 140 year-old elevators and funiculars carrying passengers up to pretty cobbled streets. This historic beauty is matched by the beauty of the city’s famous street art, which livens dull walls with fantastical scenes and figures.

If you’re staying in Santiago, you’ll find many day tours to Valparaíso.

Colourful buildings in Valparaíso, Chile
Colourful buildings in Valparaíso, Chile

4. Chiloé Island

Mystical Chiloé is a 3.5 hour bus journey from Puerto Montt if you go straight to the capital Castro, or around 2 hours if you stop in Ancud first. From Ancud you can undertake a tour to the wild coast to see penguin colonies as well as beautiful Pumillahue bay. Castro is famous for its colourful wooden buildings constructed on stilts over the sea, and it also has a bus that runs a couple of times a day to the Dock of Souls – a wooden platform above huge cliffs which makes it appear as though you’re walking off into the ocean. The name comes from a legend of the Mapuche, who are an important part of Chile and whose culture and traditions add to the rich experiences on Chiloé Island.

Dock of Souls, Chiloé Island, Chile
Dock of Souls, Chiloé Island, Chile

5. Lake Villarica

The Chilean Lake District is a vast area in the south of Chile and features dozens of lakes dotted along the foothills of the Andes. This is, perhaps, the most beautiful part of this South American country and a must-see on any Southern Chile itinerary. The towns here often have equally gorgeous architecture and in Pucon you’ll find neat streets with many buildings influenced by German settlers. It has a beach on the sublime Lago Villarica, and behind are the snowy slopes of the fairly active Villarica volcano itself.

Buses run frequently to Huerquehue National Park which has easy-to-follow mountain trails and breathtaking vistas. You can also take a bus to Reserva Nacional Villarrica which also has excellent trails up through monkey puzzle trees to yet more stunning viewpoints.

View from Huerquehue National Park, Chile
View from Huerquehue National Park, Chile

6. Lake Llanquihue

Also in the Lake District is Lake Llanquihue – Chile’s second largest inland body of water. On the shores of this lake is perched pretty Puerto Varas. Known as “The city of roses”, Puerto Varas has numerous buildings reflecting its German settler heritage, as well as a view of Osorno volcano – a view so perfect that you’ll find yourself stopping and staring at it from the town’s sublime waterfront. Take a bus or tour to picturesque Petrohué Falls where you’ll find raging water, calm lakes, and yes, more volcanoes.

Petrohué Falls, Chile
Petrohué Falls, Chile

7. Zapallar

Gorgeous Zapallar is a town just north of Valparaiso which attracts Chile’s rich and famous. It’s laid out beside a rocky cove and sandy beaches, over which mansions look out towards the Pacific. Take a stroll along the coast and spot endangered Peruvian pelicans. Keep going and you’ll get to Isla Los Pinguinos, where you can watch Humboldt Penguins frolicking in the sea.

Zapallar, Chile
Zapallar, Chile

8. Torres Del Paine

Best explored by foot along the famous W trek, Torres Del Paine National Park is a wonderland of mountains, lakes, and forests. The mountains here are particularly spiky (hence ‘Torres’, or ‘Towers’), none more so than Torres d’Agostini, Torres Central and Torres Monzino which point finger-like up to 2,500 metres into the Chilean sky. Visitors will also get a peak at the Southern Patagonian Ice Field – the world’s second largest ice field outside of the poles – where it forms into the Dickson, Grey and Tyndall glaciers. You’ll probably see guanacos close to the entrance of the park. If you’re really lucky you may even see a puma.

See also: A Guide to Torres Del Paine Trekking

Torres Del Paine, Chile
Torres Del Paine, Chile

9. Chilean Fjords

Take the Navimag ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt and you’ll be undertaking a 4-night journey through some of the most incredible scenery on Earth. Countless mountains and volcanoes appear along the route as you glide by, with hardly any signs of human habitation. In fact, the only stop along the way is at Puerto Eden, a village of under 200 people that can only be accessed via the ferry.

Far more common than humans is the plethora of birdlife, among which you may see albatross and petrels. Beneath the water it’s not uncommon to spot dolphins and whales. Roughly halfway among is the Messier Channel where you’ll see the partially submerged wreck of the Capitán Leonidas ship. There are also points at which you may see that distant Southern Patagonian Ice Field, but perhaps the most thrilling part of the journey is when the ship has to navigate particularly narrow channels where it feels as though you could reach and almost touch land.

Most beautiful places in Chile: Chilean Fjords
Chilean Fjords

10. Cajón del Maipo

The arid Maipo canyon is a short drive from the capital, Santiago, and gifts visitors with awesome views of the Andes. Dotted along the canyon are patches of green where irrigation feeds green lawns and walnut tree groves. Embark on a horseback ride through forests, rivers and vineyards. If you’re feeling fit then trek up to El Morado lookout for some truly spectacular mountain scenery.

Cajón del Maipo
Cajón del Maipo

11. Tierra Del Fuego

This southern tip of South America is shared with Argentina, and the next land mass you’ll come to if you continue south is Antarctica. Although not quite as cold as the White Continent, Tierra Del Fuego is still a land of cool summers and freezing winters. The rocky landscape is pounded by weather brought in by the Atlantic, Pacific, and Beagle Channel and astounds visitors with its wild beauty. But the starkness belies the wildlife which can be found here, not least the huge King Penguins (join a tour to go see them). Porvenir is a fascinating little town with stark scenery that was once the home of the Selk’Nam people, who sadly were the victims of colonialist genocide.

Tierra Del Fuego, Chile
Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

12. Santa Cruz

The winelands of Santa Cruz are the perfect contrast to icy Tierra Del Fuego, and yet another illustration of the contrasting beauty of Chile. Rolling grasslands, Andean foothills and vast vineyards fill the landscape, and it’s those vineyards which pull in most visitors. Quite rightly, too, as here is produced some of the best wine in the world, which you can enjoy in sumptuous splendour at wineries such as Clos Apalta Lapostolle, where you can look out from its huge windows over the very grapes that become the delicious drink you will undoubtedly be sampling.

Chilean winery
Chilean winery

While this list covers a lot, there are still many incredibly beautiful places in Chile! A few others include Patagonia, Easter Island and Volcan Villarrica.

A Beautiful Weekend in Oxford, England

Looking for somewhere new to spend in a weekend at in the UK?

How about a fun weekend in Oxford? It’s an ideal weekend getaway from London – easily accessed by catching the X90 bus from London Victoria to the city of Oxford in OxfordshireEngland.

I did this recently with my sister and we had a really fun and interesting weekend in Oxford, exploring this beautiful and historic university city.

Weekend in Oxford, England
A Beautiful Weekend in Oxford, England

The start of a weekend in Oxford: Arriving on a Friday evening

We arrived at about 9.30pm and checked into the Best Western Linton Lodge, a lovely Edwardian style hotel about 20 minutes outside of the city centre. Wanting the make the most of our first night, we dropped off our bags quickly and headed to the Natural History Museum for a special night time ‘Museums at Night’ event. It was lovely seeing the displays at night, and I particularly liked the life sized animal displays. Only issue was, the museum ran out of booze! What an atrocity!

Just joking, we were actually secretly pleased, because it meant that we could wake up on Saturday as fresh as daisy’s.

How to spend a Saturday in Oxford

On Saturday we had a big day planned for sightseeing, and we decided to take the scenic route into town along the river and university parks. It was absolutely beautiful, but BEWARE – ballet shoes are NOT appropriate for nature walks – particularly when it has recently rained!

Arriving into town with muddy feet, but relatively unharmed, we bought some sensible shoes and started exploring a few of the museums around town.

The museums in Oxford came highly recommended, and you can see why – the city is extremely cultural, educational and historic. My favourite would have to be the Ashmolean – I love ancient history, and the Egyptian section was super impressive! I had never seen a real mummy before, and it was amazing! 

After the Ashmolean and the Science Museum, we visited the Covered Markets, which have been around since the 18th Century! There were many lovely little stores and food shops, and we sampled one of the BEST freshly baked chocolate chip cookies from a little shop called Bens!

We also watched saw some seriously skilled bakers making some extraordinary looking cakes…all so intricate and detailed. I felt very untalented watching these crafty cake-makers, I must say!

Do an Oxford city walking tour

After a quick lunch break, we joined the City Walking Tour from the Visitors Centre, and it was definitely a must-do in Oxford. We learned a lot from this tour – most importantly, how influential the University has been in the past, and also in the present.

To be honest, I ‘made an ass out of u and me’ and assumed that Oxford University would be one large campus, but actually the Uni is scattered all over the city in seperate colleges. We were allowed into the Keble College, and our guide Monica told us all about student life (past and present).

We even had a peek into the dining hall, which is apparently the cheapest place for the students to dine, and looked exactly like the hall in Harry Potter!

Exhausted from all the walking, we returned back to our comfy beds at the Linton and had a little nap before heading out to Cowley Street for dinner. We went to a place I found online called Door 74 (it’s unfortunately closed down) and enjoyed a delicious meal, washed down by some Pinot Grigio. I had the lamb which was delish, but my favourite part would have to be the dark chocolate semifreddo for dessert – such delicious goo!

We met an old friend at a couple of funky Middle Eastern bars before heading home to the 24-hour hotel bar before midnight. 

Perfect first day, with perfect company!

Oxford University, UK
Oxford University, UK

Sunday: How to finish off a weekend in Oxford

We woke up at about 9am on Sunday and headed down to the hot buffet at the Linton Lodge.

The breakfast was just what we needed to start another big day of sightseeing (I love a good hash brown on a Sunday morning!). 

The Linton is located about a 20 minute walk out of the main town, and it’s perfectly enjoyable to stroll past the museums, colleges and student housing. If you’re not up for the walk however, it only £5.50 in a cab – bargain!

A tour of the Oxford Castle

We walked into the city after breakfast and enjoyed some fresh air before checking out Oxford Castle. The site was once home to the Norman Oxford Castle, and then the infamous Oxford Prison since the 11th Century.

We did the ‘Oxford Castle Unlocked’ tour, and were escorted around by ‘Mary Blandy’ – a prisoner that I personally believe was wrongly accused of killing her father. She told us all about the history of the prison, and let me tell you – English people were BRUTAL back in the day! Thank goodness I wasn’t an everyday person in debt  during these times, that’s all I can say!

Exploring Blenheim Palace

After the tour, we caught the S3 bus to Blenheim Palace. Like the X90, we found all the Oxford buses to be really regular. We jumped straight on, and travelled for about 15 minutes through the countryside to the famous Palace.

It was a toss up between Blenheim and the walking tour, but I have to say that this was my favourite part of the weekend. The Palace is HUGE and full of history, most noteable being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The ticket includes entry into the palace and access to all the surrounding gardens. You could spend a whole day exploring.

Since I have arrived in London, the countryside surrounding Blenheim Palace is the most beautiful that I have seen in England.

The Palace is surrounded by rolling hills, lakes and 2000 acres of beautiful parkland. Ange and I took a long walk from the formal gardens, past the Italian Garden and eventually came to a beautiful cascading waterfall. We even managed to see some bunny rabbits on the way! How English is that?

Blenheim Palace in Oxford, UK
Blenheim Palace in Oxford

On that note, did you know that the real Alice from Alice in Wonderland was from Oxford?

After taking about a zillion photos at Blenheim, we headed back to town and spent our last hour eating lunch and drinking a pint at the Eagle and Child (also known as the ‘Bird and Baby’) pub, near the town centre. The pub was a famous meeting point for the ‘Inklings’ – a Oxford writers group that included C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien! It was amazing to think about those men writing such famous novels in that very pub.

The history in Oxford was just amazing. We were very sad to leave on Sunday. What a fantastic place!

I would recommend going for longer than one weekend, because there is just so much to see. But if you have limited time, you can squeeze it all in, just like we did.

Beautiful Beaches and Accommodations in Turks & Caicos

If the thought of jumping on a plane and flying to a Caribbean paradise island has stumped your mind, then you probably have imagined one of the Turks & Caicos beaches.

The Turks & Caicos archipelago is surrounded by waters so turquoise that they appear to be glowing at times, plus it has endless stretches of white sandy beaches. Then there are the historical ruins, the museums, and other attractions. But if you are visiting Turks & Caicos for the first time, you will find it very difficult to stay too long from its beaches.


Popular Islands and Beaches in Turks & Caicos

It is not easy to find the ideal beach as everyone has their definition and personal expectations. However, according to the Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the world’s best beaches, Grace Bay on Provo is the number one beach in the world.

Leeward Beach is another stunning beach located east of Grace Bay. Its turquoise waters and startlingly white sand beaches are quite memorable. Although there are no hotels along Leeward Beach, there are many modern beachfront villas for rent and several private residences.

Sapodilla Bay and Long Bay Beach are two more beaches found on Providenciales that are also very popular. Sapodilla Bay has shallow and calm waters, making it ideal for families, whereas Long Bay Beach is known for its kiteboarding.

Other Turks & Caicos Islands that should be on your list are Parrot Cay, Grand Turk, South Caicos, and Pine Cay. Parrot Cay is the home of some of the most luxurious villas for rent in the Turks & Caicos archipelago. At the same time, South Caicos is mainly known for its long stretches of undeveloped sandy beaches and cozy villas.


Accommodation in Turks & Caicos

You can choose from Turks & Caicos villas for rent, beach houses, and the standard resort hotels for accommodations. The common nominator for almost all types of accommodations in Turks & Caicos is that you will never be more than a few meters away from the beachfront.

Whether you prefer to be pampered in a luxury villa with all the amenities, or a basic one featuring just the essential furniture, the wealth of options is pretty much endless.

Furthermore, there is an almost endless choice in terms of location. Visitors can choose from a very quiet place for absolute peace and solitude to one surrounded by other villas full of other people eager to socialize.


Turks and Caicos private villas for rent

Most of these villas have large bedrooms, contemporary bathrooms, the massive patios or decks, and a view to die for. In terms of style, most of the villas are modern with minimalist interiors. Typically there is an abundance of glass framing so that you never miss a moment of the spectacular views that surround you. The neutral finishing is quite comfortable. Another common thing about most villas for rent is that they come with modern, well-equipped kitchens that include washers, dryers, and even a video and audio system.

Hiking in Hong Kong: Easy & Beautiful Trails

Despite being a large, bustling city, Hong Kong is an excellent place to get outdoors in nature!

Since ~70% of Hong Kong’s land is covered in greenery and country parks, hiking is a popular activity for locals and expats. Often the trails have gorgeous views and lead to some spectacular destinations.

On your next Hong Kong trip, I highly recommend trying a hike to experience Hong Kong’s outdoors and see some beautiful nature.


Here are three easy, yet beautiful trails to get you started!

1. Quarry Bay Tree Walk

Distance: 3.2 km / 2 miles

The Quarry Bay Tree Walk is an easy trail through the forests behind the Quarry Bay neighborhood on eastern Hong Kong Island. Start at the Taikoo MTR station (exit B) then walk west on King’s Road. Turn onto Greig Road and walk up until you reach the Tree Walk.

The trail is mostly paved and has a slight elevation gain (124 m/406 ft). Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of the Wartime Communal Kitchens (listed as Wartime Stoves on Google). These kitchens were used during the second world war in Hong Kong as an influx of refugees after the fall of Canton led to increase of food demands.

Continue along the Quarry Bay Tree Walk until you reach Mount Parker Road. At this point, you can turn and head back down towards Quarry Bay or choose another trail for a longer hike.


2. Dragon’s Back Hike

Distance: 5.4 km / 3.4 miles

The Dragon’s Back hike is a meandering ridge trail located in Shek O Country Park in southeastern Hong Kong Island. Because the trail is on a ridge, you’ll have spectacular views of the sea and Hong Kong’s south side as you hike.

To get there, ride the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station (exit A3) then take the number 9 bus to the trailhead. The first part of the hike is a gradual climb up to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, you’ll be able to see Shek O Beach off to the right and Tai Tam Bay on the left. The trail undulates across the “dragon’s back” for ~2 km (1.25 mi) and offers amazing views. Some days you’ll find paragliders setting up for flight on the hillside.

Once you’re finished the ridge, you’ll descend into a forest and have a flat and shady walk for the remainder of the trail. At the end of the trail, turn left to head back to the road to catch the bus.

If you’d like a longer hike, turn right and continue on to Big Wave Bay (~2 km extra). The descent to Big Wave Bay is rather steep and consists mostly of stairs.


3. Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung

Distance: 5.1 km / 3.2 miles

Although it’s a bit difficult to get to this hike, the views and secluded beaches along this hike make it worth the effort!

The hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach is located in Sai Kung East Country Park in New Territories. To get there, you’ll need to take a combination of MTR and bus to Sai Kung town. Once you arrive in town, you can take a taxi to the Sai Wan Pavilion.

The trail begins along the stunningly turquoise High Island Reservoir. Even on a cloudy day, the color of this water never ceases to amaze me. Most of the first part of the trail is flat or downhill until you reach Sai Wan Beach – the first of four gorgeous beaches in Sai Kung East Country Park.

At this point, you could stop your hike. I prefer to continue to Ham Tin Beach – the second beach – which is larger and even more beautiful. Both beaches have restaurants, toilet facilities, beach equipment for rent, and places to purchase boat tickets to return to Sai Kung town.


Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about hiking in Hong Kong or these three beautiful hikes? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for other Hong Kong hikes or tips on traveling to Hong Kong, be sure to check out the Becky Exploring blog.

Finland forest

Finland: Bucket List of the Most Beautiful Views in Ruka-Kuusamo


Kuusamo is a paradise for outdoor lovers and nature photographers. It is full of beautiful places in the national parks, on the Lappish fells and at the banks of the wildly roaring rivers.

Here is your bucket list to the prettiest spots!

Valtavaara fell

There are no real mountains in Finland, but it is still far from being flat either! Finnish mini mountains are called fells (“vaara” or “tunturi in Finnish). One of the highest fells in Kuusamo is Valtavaara, located near popular Ruka Ski Resort. An old fire guard’s hut on top of Valtavaara offers the most spectacular views to all directions.

One of the most popular long hiking trails in Finland, 80 km long Karhunkierros Trail, goes through the top of Valtavaara on its way to the ending point at Ruka. Every May thousands of trail runners rush through Valtavaara while competing in NUTS Karhunkierros Trail Run, running 30-160 km almost non-stop. Depending on the varying spring weather and snow conditions, their conquest is done in either warm sunshine with try feet or through piles of snow and puddles of swamp water. You just have to take your hat off to these adventurous athletes!

Valtavaara is a great place to visit around the year. There’s a 5 km snowshoe trail and a 6 km hike trail from the nearest parking lot to the top of Valtavaara and back. The hut at the top works as a shelter to hikers and there are also a couple of campfire sites along the trail. You may also spot rare birds such as Red-flanked Bluetrail along the trail to Valtavaara.

Konttainen fell

Konttainen fell is part of the fell range formed by Pyhävaara, Rukatunturi, Valtavaara, Konttainen and Kumpuvaara, remnants of the ancient Svekokarelid Mountains. Only the hardest rock types at the foot of the mountains have remained until this date. As the rock bed in the area is calciferous and the area’s microclimate is extremely damp, vegetation is surprisingly lush and versatile. The mix of northern and southern species is unique within Finland.

Konttainen is a popular spot for photographing sunrises and sunsets due to an easy and short 2 km hike to the top of the fell and of course due to the great views one can admire at the top towards Riisitunturi fell and Kitka lakes.

The parking spot at the foot of Konttainen is also a popular site for spotting and photographing Siberian Jays while handfeeding them.

Päähkänäkallio cliff at Oulanka National Park

Finns are usually very precise with names, but for some odd reason they do not seem to be able to decided how to call this cliff. Päähkänäkallio, Pähkänäkallio, Päähkänänkallio, Pähkänänkallio… Nonetheless, the view from the edge of the cliff is one of the most instagrammable spots in Lapland year round.  The winding river with lush, green banks and untouched forests charms during summer. The changing appearance of the trees along the river create a great mosaic if colors in autumn. Winter scenery along the river is a calming mix of the different shades of white and grey.

Päähkänäkallio area is somewhat difficult to access unless you are prepared to drive along small forest roads or hike along the 80 km long Karhunkierros Trail. But this place is definitely worth visiting! There are no railings at the edge of the cliff and visitors are advised to stay far away from the edge due to the crumbling rock bed, so be careful out there!

Pyhävaara fell

“Pyhä” means sacred or holy, and it is known that Pyhävaara has been a sacred place for Sami people, the indigenous people of the north. Until year 1830, a sacred stone called “seita” was located in the top of Pyhävaara. Pyhävaara consists of two peaks and due to the vulnerable nature and the ancient Sami sites access is only allowed to the lower Pikku-Pyhävaara peak.

Pyhävaara is located near Ruka Ski Resort and is a popular day trail hike spot for guests around the year. A popular ski trail goes through Pikku-Pyhävaara peak. Keep in mind though that Finns are born with skis (at least in Lapland) so we suggest giving a go for some easier trails before attempting to conquer Pyhävaara. You might also consider wheels over skis for admiring the snow crowned trees, since Pyhävaara can be accessed with electric fatbikes during winter.

Myllykoski rapid at Oulanka National Park

Kitka river in Oulanka National Park has several great location for admiring whitewaters. Myllykoski is one of the most popular places due an easy 1 km hike to the edge of the river near on old mill. Myllykoski is also located along Pieni Karhunkierros Trail, one of the most popular daytrip trails in Kuusamo. This place is so popular you don’t even need snowshoes to access the place during winter. And due to its popularity it tends to get a bit crowded during June-August.

Part of the popularity is the possibility to get very close to the water at the wooden deck next to the mill and on the hanging bridge leading hikers over the rapid. If you are aiming to hike the whole 12 km long Pieni Karhunkierros Trail, you must cross over four hanging bridges. The bridges are well-maintained and safe to cross, but they may cause some chills if you are suffering of fear of heights.

Värikallio rock paintings at Hossa National Park

Hossa is located in Southern Kuusamo, a bit over an hour’s drive from Ruka village. Värikallio consists of 60 different rock paintings and it is the biggest collection of prehistoric rock paintings in Finland. The cliff itself is a steep wall rising from Somerjärvi lake and the paintings must have been made either from a boat or by walking on ice during winter. Rock paintings are appr. 3500-4500 years old.

We can only guess the reasons the ancient people have had for creating Värikallio rock paintings. Hossa used to be a junction for water routes so the paintings may have been used for marking a route or describing events. The pictures in rock paintings can also be linked to hunting magic and the painted rock walls can also have functioned as cult places of shamanic worship. Pictures may also have been painted in order to guarantee fertility, since many of the human figures portrayed in Värikallio may be women, some of them in labor.

Värikallio rock paintings are different from the other prehistoric paintings in Finland since the small, stick-like elk figures are not actually known elsewhere, and the human figure with a triangle-shaped head, eyes and nose is unique. The lack of boat pictures is also exceptional. All of the pictures found in Finland dating from the Stone Age have been painted (there are no drawings engraved in rock). Red and yellow ochre – obtained by heating iron-bearing clay – were used as coloring agents, and blood, grease or egg yolk as the mixing agent.

Ikkunalampi pond at Riisitunturi National Park

One of the most enchanting summer views at Riisitunturi is Ikkunalampi pond that seems to be hanging on the edge of the hill. It is an infinite pool created by nature at the edge of a hanging bog. Usually bogs are formed in natural depressions where water gathers, providing a growth platform to peat moss. The abundant precipitation and thin soil of the Riisitunturi area enable bogs to appear even on steep slopes. Riisitunturi’s western slopes are covered by Finland’s most impressive and also some of the world’s steepest hanging bogs. In addition to its bogs, Riisitunturi is also a popular place for photographing slow-loaded trees during the winter.

Kiutaköngäs rapid

Kiutaköngäs is one of the most famous whitewaters in Finland mainly due to its size and length and the impressive red rock wall at the background of the rapid. Well-marked, short trail leads all the way to the roaring stream. The spring flooding of Oulanka river is a remarkable sight. During winter freezing temperatures create an incredible bridge of snow and ice on top of the rapid.