Saltkaret Observation Tower

Photo Credit Icon Kimmo Makkonen

Saltkaret Observation Tower

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The Kvarken Archipelago is Finland’s only Natural World Heritage Site on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an excellent place to experience and understand the land uplift phenomenon caused by the last Ice Age. From the Saltkaret observation tower there is an unrestricted view over the nature reserve’s unique landscape and wildlife.

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Saltkaret illustration.

How can we grasp the land uplifting?

Around the Northern Quark, the narrowest part of the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden, the surface of the earth is rising at an exceptional speed. This is caused by the Ice Age. The unique landscape of Kvarken archipelago is hard to grasp from ground level. The tower offers views over the rising shoreline and its peculiar moraine formations.

The legacy of the Ice Age

The 23-meter-high tower facilitates bird watching and offers views over Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site near the city of Vaasa. The narrow ridge formations resembling a washboard, De Geer moraine, dating back to the Ice Age are slowly emerging from the sea – today, the land uplifting is eight mm per year, and the World Heritage Site grows yearly by 100 hectares. The lower platform of the tar-treated wood tower is accessible with a wheelchair. Other structures around the tower include a bridge, accessible dry toilets, a campfire site and tables for picnic. 

Key facts

  • Location

    Björkby, Municipality of Mustasaari, Region of Ostrobothnia in Western Finland

  • GPS points

    N63°21'29.1" E21°17'28.6"

  • Protection Framework

    UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, Nature Reserve

  • Estimated number of visitors a year

    95,000 in 2020 (80,500 in 2019)

  • Project Owner

    Metsähallitus / the state of Finland

  • Designer

    Aitoaho & Viljanen Architects

  • Year of construction


  • Materials

    Tar-treated wood

  • Landscape type

    Archipelago, De Geer moraines