The scenic Vattajanniemi cape in Lohtaja, and the Ohtakari island at the tip of the cape, offer diverse services to visitors all year round. You can move freely in the Vattaja area under the Finnish everyman’s rights, but pay attention to the Finnish Defence Forces’ shooting practices, the related warnings and the designated danger zones. To check for possible restrictions on moving in the area, see the information boards along the roads or the website of the Finnish Defence Forces. Visitors must also take the bird nesting season (from 15 April to 31 July) and the grazing areas on the island into consideration while moving in the area.
Karipolku trail and ski route
The Karipolku trail (7.3 km) starts from the swimming beach and ends in Kilpipakka, close to the Erkkilä fitness track. The trail runs across pine heaths and along forest roads. There are two lean-to shelters and a birdwatching tower along the trail. Visitors must consider the bird nesting season (from 15 April to 31 July) while hiking in the area. The trail is open all year round. The ski route that starts from the Erkkilä fitness track in Kilpipakka runs all the way to Ohtakari, partly along the Karipolku trail.
There is a swimming beach along the causeway leading to Ohtakari. The beach parking area has an information board with a map, and there is also an outhouse, a summer kiosk and the starting point of the Karipolku trail. The Vattaja birdwatching tower offers magnificent views over the sea. A dune nature trail maintained by Metsähallitus runs along the beach. Along the Karipolku trail, visitors will find two lean-to shelters, the birdwatching tower of Jussinpauha and the Vatunki nature trail.
Ohtakari’s services include a watchtower, nature trail, grill shelter, outhouses, a campsite run by the local parish, accommodation spaces, a summer kiosk and bar, a fishing museum and a fishing and guest port. The island has many summer houses, so remember to stay on the marked paths.
The Lahdenkrooppi watchtower, built by the Finnish Defence Forces, can be found in the southern part of the area, and it is a great birdwatching site. There is also a lean-to shelter and a marked parking area in Lahdenkrooppi.
The sandy beaches of the Vattajanniemi cape are among the most significant representations of dune habitats in Northern Europe, and they form also the largest and most natural coastal dune area in Finland. The vast open, consistent sandy beach sweeps across more than 15 kilometres. The beach is guarded by open dunes covered with grass lyme, vast sand areas behind them, and almost grove-like, overgrown dunes, which together give the area a unique stamp. Most of the dune area is included in the Vattajanniemi Natura 2000 area and the FINIBA birdlife sites. Lake Vatunginjärvi is a restored gloe lake, where the water level has been raised by approximately one metre. Parts of the Vattaja coastal meadows and forests are managed through grazing. Vattaja and Ohtakari are located along the main migration route of many bird species, and the abundance of migrating birds in the area can be an impressive spectacle in the spring and autumn.