Water, water, everywhere – it’s a key theme to summertime in Finland
Finland offers crystal-clear lakes, fast-flowing rivers and miles of wonderful coastline for visitors to explore… no wonder water plays such a big part in the Finnish summer. Whether you’re on the water or in it, you can be sure of a memorable holiday in Finland!
Close your eyes and think of sunshine shimmering on the water of a beautiful harbour. Or think of the glassy calm of a lake, disturbed only by the occasional ripple from a rising fish. In Finland, you’re never far from the water: no wonder it plays such an important role in the Finnish summer holiday.
We have drawn up a list of ten themes based on water:
1. All those lovely lakes
Finland’s 188,000 lakes offer the ideal backdrop for a peaceful summer holiday away from it all. Enjoy the peace and quiet of your own rowing boat, or simply take a few steps from your holiday cottage sauna for an invigorating swim. The lakes themselves help to make up a landscape that’s perfect for exploring, rambling and all sorts of outdoor recreation.
2. Tight lines
In Finland, everyone has a right to fish with a hook and line, though of course the variety of opportunities is vast. The country is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, offering some of Europe’s highest quality sport. Whether you’re looking for big salmon from a wide river or something a little more peaceful, the choice is unparalleled.
3. Harbour highlights
The capital, Helsinki, has grown up around its breathtaking natural harbour, where a sightseeing cruise is an essential part of any visit. A short ferry ride from the city centre brings you to the naval fortress island of Suomenlinna, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll also be able to enjoy a relaxing, memorable evening meal at a restaurant on one of the many islands in Helsinki’s harbour.
4. Sail away
Sailing continues to be popular. There’s a chance to join the crew of a chartered yacht in the beautiful archipelago (no experience necessary!) or to enjoy cruising the peaceful inland waterways. A typical programme includes five days on a yacht with skipper, enjoying the exhilaration of open sea sailing as well as the intimacy of more sheltered coastal waters.
5. Island hopping
Keep your feet on terra firma (most of the time!) and tour the spectacular south-western archipelago by road. Spend a relaxing few days of island-hopping, and you will love getting to know this myriad of islands and skerries that form the biggest archipelago in the world. The ferries and coastal service boats can take you out to the furthest islands. Don’t miss the lighthouses at Bengtskar and Borgberg, as well as the Rodeborg Viking Centre and the wooden church at Sarkisalo.
6. Festival time
Some of Finland’s most colourful festivals take place in attractive seaside locations. Step back in time at Pori, Kotka or Helsinki for exciting themed festivals this year. Or head for the impressive Olavinlinna Castle in lakeside Savonlinna to hear top performers at the International Opera Festival.
7. Way upstream
Step into a canoe for a great sightseeing experience. You don’t have to go far to enjoy the view from the water, as there are canoes for rent in Helsinki City Centre – just by the famous Sibelius Monument. However, if you have the time to venture further, your enthusiasm will be rewarded with a wide range of opportunities – on river and lake. Try shooting the rapids (under expert instruction, of course!) or dip your paddles into the calm waters of a nearby lake.
8. Full steam ahead
The serene network of lakes and islands provides the perfect backdrop for summer in Finland’s Lakeland region. In addition to a wide range of local boat cruise opportunities, there is a scheduled boat service between Kuopio and Savonlinna. New waterways include the 90-kilometre Tahko Boating Route between Kuopio and the lively holiday resort of Tahko. Some ships offer cabin accommodation, adding a whole new dimension to the cruising experience.
9. Golden moments
Visit the Lapland village of Tankavaara, dip your pan into the stream andlook long and hard for a nugget of gold. Or venture further afield, taking in the other gold villages of Laanila, Ivalojoki and Lemmenjoki. We can’t promise you a fortune, but you’ll find the highly-experienced guides know the rivers and rapids intimately, and are happy to share at least a little of their knowledge with you!
10. Shoot the rapids
Join an intrepid team of white-water rafting enthusiasts for the journey of a lifetime. White-water rafting is one of the most popular activities in the northern region of Kuusamo, and there are several routes to choose from.