blue lakeland

A blue labyrinth of lakes, islands, rivers and canals, interspersed with forests and ridges, stretching for hundreds of kilometres in a placid and staggeringly beautiful expanse. Welcome to the largest lake district in Europe. This is Finnish Lakeland.

DESTINATION in figures

1000’s of lakes
200 000 cottages
310 Saimaa ringed seals
1 Opera Festival

Explore Lakeland by Car

See below for some self-guided tours of Finland’s many natural attractions.

lakeland – the heart of finnish identity

Taking a trip to Lakeland is like taking a trip into the heart of Finnish identity. One of the most important birthplaces of the Finnish identity are the deep green forests, the rolling hills and the glittering lakes that cover most of central Finland.

sailors’ paradise

Finland’s lake district is a dream destination for sailors. Some of the oldest steamboats on Lake Saimaa have been sailing the waters for many decades.

paddling on lake saimaa

Lake Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake with its own archipelago. Because of the many islands, the sheltered waters have hardly any waves, which makes kayaking routes suitable even for the more inexperienced paddlers.

A cottage paradise

Barbecuing, swimming, canoeing and boating are standard activities in the summer. Being the largest lake district in Europe, Lakeland is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. While out there, spotting elks at the shore is not unheard of.

get your skates on!

The stark contrasts between Finland’s four seasons are aptly reflected in the country’s thousands of lakes. Whether swimming in or skiing on, they are ideal territory for recreation and relaxation. Head to Lakeland for a piece of the blue – or white! – goodness.

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Helsinki and Lakeland Routes

Experience Helsinki and Finnish Lakeland through a road trip you will never forget.

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Meet Ari - the Steamboat Captain

Finland’s lake district is a dream destination for sailors. Ari Juva has been sailing his own steamboat on Lake Saimaa for decades.

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Paddle the Thousand Lakes

Finland has the largest lake and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe - perfect for combining water activities and nature.

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Take a (slow) boat into the heart of Finland

Before the age of the car, the waterways were the highways of the Lakeland. Still today, the best way to enjoy and explore these parts of Finland is from a boat.

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Finland’s wonderful wildlife

In Finland, you can find some of the world’s last wilderness regions, where you can experience the untouched nature with its rare wild animals.

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The Euphoria of Ice Swimming

Thousands of Finns are passionate ice swimmers. However, it would be hard to find anyone more into the cold depths than Johanna Nordblad from Helsinki. What started as a form of pain relief quickly progressed into daring unassisted dives under the ice. The former downhill mountain biker assures us …

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Helsinki and Lakeland Routes Meet Ari - the Steamboat Captain Paddle the Thousand Lakes Take a (slow) boat into the heart of Finland Finland’s wonderful wildlife The Euphoria of Ice Swimming Hämeenlinna A mix of old and new, Hämeenlinna is a medium-sized city with two impressive castles to visit, large park areas to enjoy and galleries and museums to hop, among them the birth place of Finland’s most famous composer Jean Sibelius and the enchanting Iittala Glass Museum. visithameenlinna.fi Joensuu Joensuu is the capital of the North Carelia region, and a major cultural hub. The verdant surroundings have bred many a Finnish artist and are home to a score of cultural events, biggest among them the Ilosaarirock festival. visitkarelia.fi Jyväskylä region Jyväskylä is the green and blue hub of Central Finland. Besides the beautiful surrounding nature Jyväskylä, the Capital City of Alvar Aalto, is known from education, sports and culture. From Central Finland you will find 5 National Parks, 2 UNESCO sights, thousands of saunas and the largest Skiing Centre, Himos, in the Southern Finland. visitjyvaskyla.fihimos.fivisitcentralfinland.com Kajaani / Kuhmo / Vuokatti From cultural events and great fishing spots in Kajaani to the Vuokatti ski and holiday resort and the bear watching areas of Kuhmo, the Kainuu region is a great slice of Finland at its most typical. kajaani.fiwildtaiga.fivuokatti.fi KUOPIO Kuopio is one of the biggest cities in Lakeland. The rolling hills and crystal clear waters typical of the region are best viewed from the Puijo Tower. Locals are open, talkative, and have a peculiar sense of humour. kuopiotahko.fi Lahti-region Design, outdoor activities, lake cruises, shopping, well-being services – Lahti and the region around the city offers all of these, and only an hour away from Helsinki and its international airport. visitlahti.fivisitpaijanne.fi Lappeenranta / Imatra These two cities lie on the shores of Lake Saimaa, half an hour’s drive from each other. Spas, water, cottages, and a score of both winter and summer activities to be experienced next to the Russian border. gosaimaa.com Mikkeli Manor houses, design villas, cute B&B’s or charming cottages are the way to stay in Mikkeli, preferably combined with relaxing activities such as cruises on the several lakes around the city. visitmikkeli.fi Savonlinna Savonlinna, nestled by Lake Saimaa, is great for both short city breaks and lakeside cottage holidays. The main cultural event is the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival, held in the medieval Olavinlinna Castle. savonlinna.travel Tampere One of Finland’s major cities, Tampere is a great example of industrial heritage reinvented for modern urban purposes. Cafés, shops, restaurants, cinemas, galleries and museums in old factory buildings are complemented by glittering lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi that surround the city. visittampere.fi KOUVOLA Visitors to Kouvola should see the Repovesi National Park, the museum quarter and the Verla groundwood and board mill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. visitkouvola.fi