Up close and online: View the Finnish wilderness with webcams

Many people have had to spend long periods of time indoors, not to mention curtail travel plans, because of Covid-19 social distancing measures. With live webcams showing Finland’s wildlife and wilderness, you can pass the time and get a travel fix.

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Residents and visitors alike love to experience Finnish landscapes and catch a glimpse of the country’s wildlife.

For anyone who can’t get to the Finnish outback, for whatever reason, luckily webcams exist. Strategically placed cameras show the rich variety of the natural world, which you can enjoy in real time from the comfort of your own home. Many of them are live only during particular seasons, but they often also feature recordings that you can watch at any time of year.

Birdlife, seal-life and snake-life

Nest with a view: The University of Turku in southwestern Finland maintains a webcam beside an osprey nest in the archipelago.
Video: University of Turku

The osprey is one of the most popular Finnish webcam subjects. The annual arrival of the giant fish-eating birds at their nests is even mentioned in the news. People eagerly await the first egg, and count down to when the chick is expected to hatch. The University of Turku maintains a webcam beside an osprey nest (background info here) overlooking the gorgeous Turku Archipelago in southwestern Finland.

WWF Finland also features an osprey webcam, at a location on the shore of Saimaa, a lake system in southeastern Finland.
Video: WWF Finland

Lake Saimaa in southeastern Finland is the home of the Saimaa ringed seal, where WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Finland has set up a webcam to catch them basking on a favourite rock. One of Finland’s most beloved animals, the freshwater seal is also gravely endangered because of disturbances caused by commercial and leisure fishing activities and equipment, and because of warmer winters that have made it difficult for the seals to find proper nesting sites. (Normally the seals would burrow into deep snowdrifts on top of a thick layer of ice on the lake surface.)

In season, this WWF Finland camera keeps watch on a favourite rock where Saimaa ringed seals sometimes come to sun themselves. If nothing is happening at the moment, we’ve included a replay video below.
Video: WWF Finland

Whenever a Saimaa ringed seal shows up on camera, Twitter explodes with the hashtag #norppalive, letting you know you need to tune in. (Norppa is the Finnish name for the seal.) WWF Finland has a whole playlist of seal webcam videos.

A Saimaa ringed seal called Moona stretches out on a rock in one of the best moments recorded by WWF Finland’s webcam.
Video: WWF Finland

If birds and seals aren’t your thing, how about cute reptiles? WWF Finland also has an adder cam featuring Finland’s only venomous snake. If you’re lucky you might see one exploring dead leaves or warming up in the morning sunlight. In fact, WWF Finland maintains a page called WWF Wildlive with live webcams and recorded footage of all sorts of animals, from reindeer to wolverines.

At the time of writing, WWF Finland’s live adder webcam isn’t on, but this recorded highlight captures some slithering movement.
Video: WWF Finland

Fantastic landscapes and seascapes

A screenshot of a webcam image showing the ocean harbour of Utö Island with small cabins and boats.

A camera atop a lighthouse shows the harbour of the remote island of Utö. (The webcam link is included in the article text below.)Photo: Screenshot, uto.fi

Utö is a small island far out in the Archipelago Sea between Finland and Sweden. The rocky isle only has a few dozen year-round residents, but it is popular with tourists thanks to its picturesque landscape and 200-year-old, 24-metre-high lighthouse. The lighthouse also boasts a webcam, so you can look out over the sea, the harbour and the little red cottages on the shore.

Oulanka National Park is next to Finland’s eastern border and close to the Arctic Circle. It features several webcams focused on a spectacular creek in a gorge surrounded by stately trees. In the spring the creek roars with water from melting ice and snow.

In the spring you can watch the snow melt into the rushing rapids in Oulanka National Park, near the Russian border.
Video: Oulanka Live Webcam

If you want something quieter, how about a beach, such as Yyteri, just outside Pori on Finland’s west coast? The city was founded in 1558 and is home to the world-famous Pori Jazz Festival, which has been held annually since 1966 but, like many other events, had to cancel its 2020 edition.

This camera pans back and forth at a leisurely pace on Yyteri Beach outside of Pori on the west coast.
Video: Pori Webcam

Finnish urban jungle – and the real Santa

Various views of Helsinki city life show up on the webcams of the Confederation of Finnish Industries.
Video: Confederation of Finnish Industries

While it’s fascinating to watch ospreys and rushing streams, many people also like to watch city life. The Confederation of Finnish Industries, an organisation that represents the business community, maintains several webcams in downtown Helsinki (two of them are also shown on ThisisFINLAND’s webcam page). You can see everything from ships in the harbour to people sitting on the steps of the cathedral.

Of course, we can’t forget Finland’s most famous resident: Santa Claus. The city of Rovaniemi keeps a webcam at Santa Claus Village, where he has a workshop and a post office. You can watch people come and go on official Santa business, as well as keep an eye on the thermometer on the Arctic Circle. If you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of Santa himself, at home in his natural environment.

Right on the Arctic Circle, just north of Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, you may see tourists, reindeer or even Santa Claus himself saunter past.
Video: City of Rovaniemi

By David J. Cord, May 2020

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