Why visit Finnish Lakeland?
When people think of Finland, we naturally think of Lapland (santa and the associated thoughts) and Helsinki. People often forget about the amazing lakes that Finland is made up of and the diverse landscapes and opportunity that brings.
Finnish Lakeland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, so if you want to see all of Finland and all it’s beauty, then a trip to Finnish Lakeland should be on everyone's list.
When is the best time to visit Finnish Lakeland?
I would suggest the best seasons as Summer and Autumn, but I have to favour autumn as this is when Brad and I visited. The colours on offer during the autumn season are breathtaking and so beautiful, plus the temperatures are still bearable to undertake walks and hikes.
On the other hand, if you fancy some swimming in the lake (which the Finnish love to do), then you’ll probably want to visit in summer when the waters a little bit warmer. Although, if you’re feeling brave then you can swim in the lake in autumn then pop in a Finnish sauna to warm up. The Finns do it all year around!
What is the best way to travel Finnish Lakeland?
To really discover all the beauty that Finnish Lakeland has to offer, you’re going to need a car. If you don’t fancy driving your car to Helsinki via ferry options (Estonia as such), then you can rent a car in Helsinki and create your very own Finnish Lakeland itinerary that will see you return the car to Helsinki by the end of your journey.
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How long do I need to spend in Finnish Lakeland?
As long as you need! Brad and I spent about a week driving around and that gave us lots of time to see amazing places and experience the beauty. Of course if you’re on restricted time and you’ve rented a car from Helsinki, then you could always choose a 3 day Finnish Lakeland itinerary.
There are a variety of different ways to go about it and you can see as little or as much as you like!
READ ALSO: Finland road trip itinerary
Wild camping in Finnish Lakeland
Since Brad and I road tripped Finnish Lakeland with our campervan, we were always looking for spots to wild camp. Finland caters well for campers and many of their national parks (if not all) have in-park camping facilities, typically halfway through a walking route.
This means you can only access the camp sites which have toilets, wood, fire pits etc by walking. We had a car, so we had to spend most of our time wild camping at the parking areas of these parks (of which there is typically a few).
Sometimes you’ll find spots beside lakes that have parking and access to fire pits and toilets and that’s awesome too.
But either way you’ll find lots of places to wild camp in Finnish Lakeland and Finland encourages it with their “right to roam” policy!
How many lakes does Finnish Lakeland have?
187,888- wow! A lot, right! You’ll not get to see them all on your Finnish Lakeland road trip, but you’ll be surprised at just how many you can see on the drive.
The Best Places To Visit In Finnish Lakeland
So here we go, a list of the best places to visit in Finnsh Lakeland based on the places we visited and our road trip itinerary!
1. Kummakivi, balancing rock
This is definitely one of the more unique things to see in Finnish Lakeland, and something Bradley was more excited about than me. But, if it’s on your route, then it’s worth visiting.
It’s located in Kummakivi and you’ll have to walk about 1-2 km into the middle of the forest to find the balancing rock, and it is an interesting sight! If you do the full walking loop you'll also come to a beautiful lake with amazing views...
2. Drive route 62 scenic drive
This is one of the most scenic drives in Finnish Lakeland. Finnish Lakeland is obviously filled with lots of beautiful lakes and this route takes you through some amazing spots. If you have a drone, then this is the best spot for droning, trust me!
3. Repovesi National Park
This is one of Finland’s many beautiful National Parks. Like all the national parks in Finnish Lakeland, there are various walking routes available and wild camping spots if you decide to pitch your tent for the night half way through your walk.
4. Lake Paijanne
This Finland’s second largest lake and not only is it beautiful (and a good place to wild camp). Y can take boat trips and river cruises, or even rent a kayak and explore the area different areas of the lakes with it’s rocky shores and sandy coves. Take a boat trip or rent a kayak and explore the park's many islands and their sandy coves and rocky shores
5. Visit southern Finland's second highest point; Kammovureri (hiskias cave, glacial boulder)
Finland is a pretty flat country, especially southern Finland, so a climb to the second highest point doesn’t take long and doesn’t require too much effort. And you’ll be greeted with amazing views. We actually stumbled upon here by accident as we were camping in the parking area of Kammourveri.
We seen a sign saying there was a hike so decided the next morning we would do it!
The hike takes about 2 hours round trip, and of course you’ll need to include picture time. There are toilets along the way along with the Hiskais cave and a glacial boulder which are both interesting sights.
But the real sight is the view from the top. You’ll see all over the lakes and see even more little lakes all surrounded by amazing trees, which in autumn are beautiful orange, red and yellows!
It’s a great place to fly a drone,and there is a picnic table up there so you can bring a spot of lunch with you.
Just wear proper shoes and some of the walk is quite rocky.
6. Punkaharju ridge area
This ridge is basically a 7km drive of stunning scenery of the prime lakeland area. Along the route there are rest stops with tables for picnics and even some toilets. It’s another really good spot to get some epic drone shots and as usual, you’ll be impressed by the beauty on offer.
7. World's smallest restaurant: Ravintola Kuappi
So this was on my list of things to do in Finnish Lakeland, but actually we didn’t end up going. We didn’t leave enough time to book. But, I’m leaving it on this list of places to visit because I think it’s super unique and cool.
It’s the world’s smallest restaurant! It only fits 3 people, you, another and the waiter and you’ve got to book your meal in advance. But what a totally random concept and something unique you can say you did on your adventures through Finnish Lakeland!
8. Ukko koli in the Koli National Park
The Koli National Park was my favourite national park in Finland because it was the first place we seen snow! Actually snow as a whole month earlier and we didn’t think we’d get any until late November, so when we got snow during the first couple of weeks in October, we were super excited. It was unique to see the colours of autumn simply covered in snow.
A wonderful photography contrast.
Anyway, when you visit the Koli National Park in Finnish Lakeland, you can take a short walk to the Ukko Koli viewpoint. It’s not difficult, but it does grant you with stunning views over the lakeland area. Just be careful when it’s been snowy as the ground can be super slippery!
There are a variety of longer walking routes and camping areas within this national park if you fancy something a little more challenging.
Read Also: 23 Travel Photography Tips
9. Pujo tower
This is another place Brad and I didn’t go to, but wanted too. It was a little off route but basically if you’re near it, then make sure you don’t eat before you arrive.
This is a tower with a revolving restaurant offering amazing views! Even if you don’t want to eat, you might as well grab a coffee and just take in the views from the top.
10. The Quiet People
This is certainly one of the more stranger places to visit in Finnish Lakeland. I had heard about this place, but I actually thought it was located in Helsinki, but as we were driving down the road we saw hundreds of scarecrows in a field, so we pulled over and had a look.
They’re not actual scarecrows as such, they’re little people, and they go as far back as you can see. It’s a piece of artwork known as the quiet people, and I actually think it’s a little creepy! I can imagine it being even more odd at night.
In the summer you have to pay to check it out and there is an on-site restaurant, but when we visited, everything was closed, so we were free to roam ourselves.
This is a great little town in Finnish Lakeland and it’s home to an awesome castle. You should visit the town for the castle alone, but if you need a coffee break or want a great meal, then visit too.
In the summer there are lots of restaurants on the water, but these are closed for winter. The entrance to the castle is averagely priced but if you wish you can just check it from outside.
12. Oulanka National Park
This national park is actually on the border of Lapland, so you’ll probably bump into lots of deer and maybe even catch the northern lights if it’s clear. It’s also super close to the Russian border as the park is shared with them and some people go on bear watching tours from here. Bears can turn up around the border of Russia (since Russia is home to bears!) But you’ll need to go before the bears go into hibernation.
There are lots of great parks and walks in this national park and a very well established tourist information centre and an in-park campsite that offers a site for campers, motorhomes and cabins. Perfect!
You can also go skiing in the northern parts of Finnish Lakeland on the border of Lapland, and if you fancy swimming then there are literally hundreds of swimming spots located all over the place.
Don't forget that when in Finland, do as the Finns do! This means you should try a Finnish sauna all year around. The majority of campsites have saunas and hotels and actually, there wild saunas too, mostly placed beside lakes and you pay via card or an app.
Fun fact: It is estimated that there are two million saunas in Finland, for a population of 5.3 million.
Some extra information
Here's a few more useful travel tips:
- Finland uses euro
- The majority of places accept card (Use Revolut and Monzo for the best exchange rate on the market.
- Eating out in Finland averages at around 15 euro a meal
- Supermarkets are cheap for lunch and dinner items. Lidl and K Market are good.
So there you have it! My guide to the best places to visit in Finnish Lakeland. I hope this post has inspired you to visit Finnish Lakeland or helped you create a more clear itinerary for your trip. Either way, if you have any questions or suggestions to add to the post, then please drop a comment below.