Winter is a magical time to visit Finnish Lakeland
While summers are green and lush, winters are freezing, glittery and full of snow. For those who enjoy the latter, Lakeland offers exquisite views of clear, icy lakes, as well as piles of snow for winter sports and plenty of peaceful silence. Here are five ways to make the most of the season in the Lakeland region.
Visit Puijo Tower in the city of Kuopio to see one of Lakeland’s most iconic views.
Pull on your skates and glide through gorgeous scenery
Finnish Lakeland holds many of the country’s 188,000 lakes, including the region’s diamond, Saimaa. This 4,400-square kilometre lake offers plenty of space for those who like ice skating, and the area is very popular with tour skaters between January and March. While most Finns learn the sport at an early age, anyone can pull on a pair of skates and try the outdoor tracks. To stay safe, keep close to the shore and follow all signs and safety regulations. And make sure to save plenty of time for snacks and hot cocoa! There are plenty of rest stops along the way to enjoy something warm – or simply take in the magnificent winter scenery.
Before stepping onto the ice, check with the locals to make sure it’s solid and strong – especially during early winter and late spring.
Credits: Harri Tarvainen
Cross-country ski for an authentic Finnish experience
Cross-country skiing is something of a national sport in Finland, as it’s one of the most enjoyable and organic ways to take in the magic of winter. In the Lakeland region, there are thousands of kilometres of well-maintained trails. The best time to visit and try the sport is during February and March, when the skies are often blue and the sun starts peeking out. Guests looking for a longer adventure can easily book a tour through a licensed travel agency such as Saimaan Palju Events, Discover Saimaa or DrakkarSport.
Credits : Mikko Huotari
Rent a pair of cross-country skis and hit the beginner’s track – you’ll find one at nearly all of Finland’s ski areas.
Credits: Mikko Nikkinen
Feel the magic of winter from the warmth of a cabin
Winters in Lakeland are quite cold, and February and March are often snowy. If you’re more of the indoors type, what better way is there to take in the winter sights than from a small cabin – preferably by a lake? And for an extra dash of cosiness, make sure to rent one with an attached sauna. Finnish log cabins offer relaxation and solace when those icy cold winds howl and the snow starts to fall. If you’re feeling brave, take a dip in the icy waters of a nearby lake. Then, cuddle up in a blanket, sip some hot cocoa, and enjoy winter from the warmth and comfort of your cabin. See Cottages for rent in Saimaa at Lomarengas site.
Credits: Janne Honkanen
Buckle on a pair of showshoes and walk like Bigfoot
Leave stress behind and escape into nature by trying some low-impact snowshoeing. Just pull on a pair and enjoy the solitude – and snow – that’s found throughout the deep woods of the Lakeland region. Dress warm and don’t forget a map!
Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the forests in heavy snow. Gliding snowshoes, which combine skis and snowshoes, are another option.
Credits: Julia Kivelä
Savor the solitude of traditional ice fishing
The solitude, the silence, the joy of making a catch...there’s something truly Finnish about traditional ice fishing. If you get lucky, the sun might even make an entrance! To best enjoy this outdoor activity, wear layers of warm clothing (such as padded overalls and a hat), bring plenty of snacks and maybe pour a little something into your hip flask. Then sit back and relax. While catching fish isn’t a must, enjoying your experience is mandatory.