Haparanda Skärgård National Park in the northernmost waters of the Baltic is an archipelago of sandy islands that has no parallel anywhere else along the coast of Sweden. The low islands bear a resemblance to the atolls of southern seas.
Sights: Extensive sandy beaches and striking dune landscape. Interesting flora. Varied avifauna. Area: 6,000 hectares. Established: 1995. Location: In the archipelago south of Haparanda and Kalix municipalities. Visiting Haparanda: It is difficult to land on the islands of the archipelago, due to the shallow water. One of the few safe landing sites for larger boats is on Sandskär´s northern sandbar, Nordrevet. From there, a trail leads to the fishing camp of Kumpula, where there are sleeping cabins, tentsites, a sauna and information display. For the protection of nesting birds, landing on some of the smaller islands around Sandskär is prohibited from May 1 to July 31 every year.
In the national park of Haparanda skärgård (archipelago), we encounter low islands with broad sandy beaches. The environment of the national park is the result of interplay between the wind, the waves and the rise of the land from the sea. The transport of sand by waves and currents have given Sandskär island a very special shape, with a three kilometre long sandbank running in a northerly direction.
The national park is in the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, close to the Finnish border. It consists of two large islands, Sandskär and Seskar Furö, and a few smaller islands and skerries. Sandskär, at 400 ha, is the largest island in the park. This was unbroken sea about 1,500 years ago. The rise of the land has gone on unceasingly since then, and new land is still rising from the sea. The increase is 8.5 mm per year, which is all of 85 cm a century.
There is an interesting plant life with several rare plants, such as the Gulf of Bothnia wormwood, which only grows in the Gulf of Bothnia. The special landscape is favourable to bird life. Many migratory birds rest here and a total of over 200 bird species have been observed. The foremost sights of Haparanda archipelago are the extensive sandy beaches, the exotic dune landscape, the interesting plant life and the bird life.