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Five unique summer experiences in Lakeland
4 minute read
people paddling on a lake in Finland

Credits:: Juho Kuva

Summer and Lakeland make a perfect match

The Lakeland district of Finland is a wonderful maze of blues and greens. Many of the country’s 188,000 lakes can be found in this region, blending beautifully with the lush, emerald-green forests surrounding the waterways. Lakeland shouldn't be overlooked at any time of year, but it’s especially lovely in the warmer months when a variety of outdoor activities are available. Here are a few to try.

Cruise into Saimaa on a steamboat 

Take in the breathtaking sights of 4,400-square km Saimaa, Finland’s largest lake, from a relaxing steamboat. Scenic cruises leave from the nearby town of Savonlinna and take approximately 1-1.5 hours. Longer cruises into the magnificent canals of Lake Saimaa are available upon request. For more, see Go Saimaa.

A steam boat in a canal
Credits: Jaakko Posti

Hit the sauna after a day on the water 

In Lakeland, there’s only one thing Finns love as much as the water: relaxing in a sauna after a day in it. Visiting a sauna in the Lakeland region is a must and many of the best can be found in the area’s hotels.

If you’d like to stay waterside, Hotel Punkaharju and its sauna are perfect, and Sahanlahti Resort in Puumala has an authentic wooden sauna that’s ideal for those wanting a true Finnish experience. Fancy a sauna followed by a dip in a hot tub overlooking the three towers of Olavinlinna, a 15th-century castle? Boutique Hotel Lossiranta Lodge is for you.  

Person sitting on a pier wrapped in a towel
Credits: Julia Kivelä

Paddle a canoe around Lake Saimaa

Canoeing is a great way to see a different side of Lake Saimaa. Canoes are freely available to rent in the area and trips to Kolovesi National Park, around Linnansaari National Park, or the wilds surrounding Joutenvesi can be booked online. Most rentals will include life jackets, waterproof paddling maps and dry bags or barrels. With enough snacks in tow, the labyrinthine Lake Saimaa opens beautifully to the inquisitive traveller. 

For route planning, Excursionmap.fi is unbeatable. And who knows, you might just be lucky enough to bump into some furry locals along the way; around 400 Saimaa ringed seals populate the water areas, particularly in May.

Two persons kayaking on a lake
Credits: Mikko Nikkinen

Enjoy an authentically Finnish holiday by a lake

To relax like a Finn, copy the locals and rent a cabin or cottage on the water: According to a 2020 national survey, Finns own over half a million summer houses. In order to really relax, make sure to book a stay that’s at least two to three days long and select a dainty, preferably log-type house, near a lake. Bring some delicious sausages and ice cold drinks and heat up the sauna, then watch as the midnight sun fails to set on the adjacent lake. This is Finland at its most relaxed, authentic and holistic.

Two girls playing darts on the yard
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Get inspired by the national Finnish landscape in Koli

When visiting the Lakeland region, you might want to put Koli on the top of your adventure list. This national park is home to over 4,000 species of plants and animals, making it one of the most biodiverse parks in Finland. Koli also features incredible scenery, with white quartzite bedrock running along majestic Lake Pielinen that can be observed from the top of Ukko-Koli. The area offers many trails and can be visited for day hikes or longer adventures, and the terrain is variable yet suitable for visitors of all ages and conditions. Get ready to be wow-ed – this park’s scenery will not disappoint! 

Person sitting on top of a hill overlooking a lake
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

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