• Boat trip in Finnish Lakeland
    Boat trip in Finnish Lakeland Photo: Emilia Hoisko, Visit Finland
  • Kayaking Lake Saimaa
    Kayaking Lake Saimaa Photo: Mikko Nikkinen, Visit Finland
  • Picking Berries in Finnish Lakeland
    Picking Berries in Finnish Lakeland Photo: Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland
  • Hiking in Finnish Lakeland Photo: Harri Tarvainen, Visit Finland
  • Cycling in Finnish Lakeland Photo: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland
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Lakeland – the heart of Finland

More than a quarter of Finland's land area consists of water. A large part of this is the Finnish Lake District, where streams and rivers, ponds and lakes define the natural landscape shaped by the last ice age. There are 19 national parks to discover in this region, as well as three UNESCO World Heritage sites. In between, charming small towns and villages and larger centers such as Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Mikkeli, Kajaani and Savonlinna invite you to an exploration tour.

Journey to Lakeland

Photo: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland

Your adventure starts in the capital Helsinki – The gateway to the Finnish lake scenery. From there, scenic roads lead to the Lakeland region.

An excellent way to get around is by renting a car. It is also possible to travel by train. The fastest connection will take you to Lake Saimaa in under two hours.

Accommodation in Lakeland

Photo: Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland

If you are looking for a real authentic experience, you should book a holiday cottage – exactly like the Finns are doing it every weekend in Summer.

Good alternatives are the beautiful manor houses and charming guesthouses where you can enjoy the true Finnish hospitality.

Explore the region of the Finnish Lakeland

Lake Päijänne in the center of the lake district is Finland's second-largest and most water-rich lake. On its northern side is Jyväskylä a student town with a youthful flair – and the hometown of the famous architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), who was known for harmonizing his buildings and ideas with the surrounding nature.

In Jyväskylä, you can feel the vibrant city life. Numerous restaurants, museums, and other attractions are within walking distance of the center. But you should also get to know the charming small towns and cities and the breathtakingly beautiful nature around Jyväskylä as well as the wide range of cultural events on offer.

One of the main attractions of the region is the old church in Petäjävesi. It is considered a masterpiece of Nordic wooden architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

Commune · Central Finland, Finland

Jyväskylä Region

Located amidst the scenic Finnish Lakeland, the Jyväskylä Region is known for its natural assets, culture and rich sauna ...
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Around Lake Saimaa, the largest Finnish and fourth-largest European lake, there are several towns worth visiting, such as Mikkeli, Lappeenranta, Imatra, and Savonlinna. The wide range of cultural activities on offer ranges from the world's northernmost medieval castle, which hosts a world-class opera festival, to 6000-year-old rock paintings.

In summer you can enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Saimaa from a boat or canoe. Or you can heat up a sauna and then take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear lake.

A unique aspect of Saimaa is the endangered Saimaa ringed seal - one of the rarest seal species in the world, of which only about 360 specimens remain today. They can only be found around Lake Saimaa. There the species was isolated from other seals at the end of the last ice age.

Geographic region · Finland


The Saimaa Lake District in Eastern Finland comprises the largest lake in the country and the longest shoreline in the ...
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Kainuu is located in the north of the Finnish Lakeland and borders upon the vast expansions of Lapland. The landscape consists of a beautiful combination of lakes, hills, and forests. In winter you will find a white wonderland in Kainuu, long bright days and numerous adventures in nature make a stay in summer unforgettable.

In Kainuu you can find three national parks, each of which promises very different experiences. Hossa National Park is famous for its deep waters and the Värikallio stone paintings, while Hiidenportti National Park impresses with its numerous canyons. Tiilikkajärvi National Park, on the other hand, is characterized by sandy beaches and mountain ridges.

Kajaani is the capital of the Kainuu region and surprises with a rich cultural offer. Kajaani Castle is the most famous historical attraction of the city and many cultural events invite you to stay. Kuhmo is located in the east of the region near the Russian border. The wild nature and the information center of the “Kalevala”, the Finnish national epic, attract visitors to the area.

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Arctic Lakeland Kainuu

The Arctic Lakeland Kainuu region is the northernmost part of the Finnish Lakeland, right on the border with Lapland. ...
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The Northern Lakeland extends around the city of Kuopio. Both the city and its surroundings offer countless sights and attractions throughout the year. Even if you are in the heart of the city, nature is always just a short walk away.

Tahko is one of the best known and most popular holiday resorts in Finland. There you will find ski slopes in excellent conditions, high-quality accommodation and lots of fun with a wide range of activities.

The unspoiled landscape offers the ideal destination for hikers and adventurers. From the tower on the Kuopio Puijo hill, from the top of the Tahko slopes, from the hiking areas – and, of course, from the lake - the landscape opens up in a wonderful way.

Don't miss exploring the many nature reserves and national parks! Especially worth seeing are the national parks Tiilikkajärvi and Etelä Konnevesi as well as the Orinoro Valley, which is inaccessible in winter - unless, of course, you are traveling on snowshoes!

Provinz · Finland

Northern Lakeland

The Northern Lakeland around the city of Kuopio is characterized by a wonderful, varied natural landscape. Thousands of ...
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What would you like to do?

Nothing to sea but lakes

The heart of the Finnish lake district is, of course, its water. A big part of the 188,000 lakes and about 180,000 islands of Finland are located in this region.

It is proven that Finland has the cleanest water in the world. What could be better than exploring this unique landscape from its water sports side?

Swimming, rafting, stand-up paddling, fishing, canoeing or taking the rowboat, visiting a sauna at the lakeside – or simply sitting in front of a quaint hut at the lake and enjoying the sublime view: there are no limits to the imagination.
Photo: Mikko Nikkinen, Visit Finland

Culture and cultural heritage

The cultural heritage in Lakeland is omnipresent. The lake district is packed with historical sites which want to be explored – from churches and monasteries to the majestic Olavinlinna castle, where every year the opera festival takes place.

In the cultural center, you get to know the Finnish mythology as it appears in the folk legend “Kalevala”. Until today, this legend is highly influential to the national identity of the Finns. The Koli National Park is also said to be the home of all the Gods and spirits – a thoroughly mystical place, where the world of the living and the nether world merge.

The cities you will get to know on your journey are oftentimes former industrial centers, which can provide nowadays an offer rich in culture. This includes, for example, the historic groundwood mill in Verla.

Wildlife and National Parks

The Finnish Lakeland, a blue labyrinth of lakes, rivers, and canals interspersed with forests and ridges, provides a habitat for numerous wild animals – for example, the Saimaa ringed seal or the marten-like wolverine.

The Everyman’s Right gives you all the opportunity to roam and camp, pick berries and mushrooms, and to go fishing. This freedom will make your explorations even more enjoyable.

Adventurous nature photographers are at the right place in Lakeland. With a little bit of luck, they will be rewarded with spectacular wildlife shots. The right spot can be found in one of the numerous national parks – especially in Koli, Leivonmäki, Linnansaari, Hiidenportti, and Hossa.

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