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Cycling, Experiences and activities, See and experience

Kyrö River Road Trip

The Kyrö River runs through South Ostrobothnia. The low-lying fields on either side of it have been voted one of Finland’s national landscapes. Departing from Lauhanvuori National Park in Isojoki, this cycling route travels across typical South Ostrobothnian terrain before ending at Vähänkyrö Church. The river that the route follows carries on to Vaasa and the sea.

The cycling route runs along the river, sometimes very close to it while at other times the river disappears behind fields or forests. One end of the route is in Lauhanvuori National Park, with a well-maintained gravel road taking you through a heath forest, where the Kivijata stone field and Lake Spitaalijärvi, in particular, are worth a visit. Another place of interest is the nearby Katikankanjoni Canyon, which stands out from the otherwise flat terrain typical of the region. Located in Kirveskylä in Kauhajoki’s Hyyppä, the canyon is a 20 metre-deep ravine eroded in the sandy ground by the Katikanluoma River that is part of the Kyrö River system and starts from the western part of Kauhaneva–Pohjankangas National Park. Another site of natural beauty in the region is the Hyyppä River valley, a beautiful farmland area, which has been classified as an area of national value. In addition to the picturesque open fields, you can enjoy the sight of beautiful old South Ostrobothnian houses in Hyyppä. The oldest buildings are from the 19th and early 20th century.

Similarly to the river, the cycling route runs through the centres of Kauhajoki, Kurikka, Ilmajoki, Ylistaro and Isokyrö. Along the route, you can also stop to view interesting historical sights, both small and large. For example, Kauhajoki houses the Parliament Museum while Kurikka is home to the ‘Piss Stone’, a stone behind which Sweden’s King Adolf Frederick is said to have stopped to answer the call of nature on 18 July 1752 on his way from Turku along the Kyrönkangas road to Vaasa via Kurikka. In the course of its history, Ilmajoki has been the main municipality in the region and houses several interesting historical sights, dating back to the Cudgel War (1596–1597). Being among the largest churches in Finland, Ylistaro Church is locally known as the ‘Handsome Church’. The old Isokyrö Church dates back to the 16th century.

Most of the way, the route runs along smaller roads without cycling lanes or proper hard shoulders. Make sure you are visible to other road users.