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  • Kvarken Archipelago

    The Kvarken Archipelago and its various nature and hiking trails are located off the coast of Vaasa. The Kvarken Archipelago was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006 as the first natural heritage site, and so far, the only one in Finland.

    The Kvarken Archipelago and the High Coast in Sweden (added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000) form a World Heritage Site shared by two countries (High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago, or in Finnish Korkearannikko/Merenkurkun saaristo). In the joint World Heritage Site, the land uplift phenomenon is best seen throughout the world. The Kvarken Archipelago possesses a genuine geological value because the rapid rate of the land uplift is one of the highest observed worldwide. Together with the High Coast, the Kvarken Archipelago is the best place in the world to experience and understand the processes of the land uplift caused by the last Ice Age. The unique traces of the Ice Age, or the glacial depositional landforms, can also be observed in the Kvarken Archipelago, such as De Geer moraines and Ribbed moraines. These landforms add to the variety of the landscape. Due to the land uplift, the area is an example of a constantly changing natural environment to which flora fauna and humans have adapted to.

    The joint World Heritage site consists of areas both in Swedish municipalities of Kramfors and Örnsköldsvik and the Finnish municipalities of Mustasaari, Korsnäs, Maalahti, Vöyri and the city of Vaasa. The Parks and Wildlife Finland, Metsähallitus is in charge of the coordination and administration of the Kvarken Archipelago. The Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site Association provides customer service related to the World Heritage. In addition, tourist information is provided at the World Heritage Gateway next to the Raippaluoto bridge.

    The Kvarken Archipelago has about 350,000 visitors yearly. The World Heritage Site and the nature areas are open to tourists throughout the year. There are several services to tourists, such as restaurants, cafés and event and accommodation services. Some of these services are available year-round.