Foresview in Finland
Photographer: Harri Tarvainen

13 best things to do in Lakeland Finland

Lakeland Finland is rich in destinations of exceptional beauty. In addition to the heavenly tranquillity of nature, which you can encounter not only in the national parks, you can expect vibrant cities, culture in all its facets and culinary delights. We are sure that you will find your perfect adventure in our top 13 activities for Lakeland Finland, so let us inspire you.

1. Enjoy the panoramic views of the city and surrounding nature from the Ski Jump Tower in Lahti

Internationally known as a metropolis of winter sports, Lahti has a lot to offer in every season. The classic is the fantastic panoramic view from the viewing platform of the Ski Jump Tower, from where you can look out over lakes, forests, the city and the outdoor swimming pool, which is located below the Ski Jump Tower and is open during the warmer months.

Viewing deck at the Ski Jumping Tower
Two persons in a sauna
Photographer: Julia Kivelä

2. Experience authentic Finnish sauna culture

Lakeland Finland is the best region in Finland to experience the authentic Finnish sauna culture in all its varieties. Tampere, the Sauna Capital of the World, has the highest density of public saunas in the country, including Rajaportti, a traditional, iconic sauna, and Kuuma, a modern design sauna. The Sauna Village in Jämsä, with its historic saunas of all kinds, and the elegant Sataman Viilu sauna complex in Jyväskylä are also worth a visit. Of course, anywhere in Lakeland Finland – not just in the Jyväskylä Region, the Sauna Region of the World – you can experience saunas in a private setting, for example at a lakeside cottage.

Sauna Activities
Hame castle in autumn-morning
Photographer: Miika Kangasniemi

3. Immerse yourself in the Middle Ages at Häme Castle

There are very few well preserved medieval castles in Finland that are still standing today. One of them is Häme Castle (“Hämeen linna”) in the town of Hämeenlinna. Idyllically situated by a lake, the historic walls invite you to take a trip back to the Middle Ages, whether on your own or as part of a guided tour.

Häme Castle
Koli in winter time Visit Lakeland Finland
Photographer: Harri Tarvainen

4. Admire Finland’s national landscape from the majestic peaks of Koli

High above the vast Lake Pielinen in North Karelia rise the peaks of Koli – one of the most beautiful places in Lakeland Finland. Admire this Finnish national landscape from the viewpoint at the top of Ukko-Koli, where you will enjoy breathtaking postcard views at any time of the year. If you have a little more time, there are several hiking routes of varying lengths.

Koli National Park
Valero Church inside
Photographer: Anne Hukkanen

5. Taste the monks’ gin at Valamo Monastery

Valamo Monastery is a place of peace and tranquillity. No wonder, since it is surrounded by dense forests and picturesque lakes in Heinävesi. Not only can you experience the world of Finnish Orthodoxy, but a special recommendation is the monks’ gin, which you can buy in the monastery’s shop.

Person in Jyväskylä's harbour on a sunny day.
Photographer: Julia Kivelä

6. Take a walk along the waterfronts in Lahti, Jyväskylä and Hämeenlinna

If you want to experience Lakeland Finland from its urban side, there are several ways to do so. With its restaurant ships and plenty of space to stroll, the harbour promenade in Lahti invites visitors to linger. The harbour of Lutakko in Jyväskylä is similar, offering restaurants and green meadows for a summer picnic. Finland’s first National Urban Park beckons you to stroll along the waterfront in Hämeenlinna.


7. Take a boat trip on the great lakes

An excellent way to explore Lakeland Finland in a relaxed way is to take a trip on one of the comfortable excursion boats. They leave from the ports of Jyväskylä and Lahti, for example, to sail across lakes Jyväsjärvi and Vesijärvi to Päijänne – Finland’s second largest lake. In Tampere, Suomen Hopealinjat offers various routes, for example to the island of Viikinsaari. There are also boat trips on Lake Pielinen in North Karelia during the summer season.

Boat Trips
Customers are sitting on a Moomin Museum in Tampere

8. Meet the Moomins at the world’s only Moomin Museum in Tampere

All children love the Moomins! But even many adults can’t get enough of the cute hippo-like trolls. In the world’s only Moomin Museum in Tampere, author Tove Jansson’s stories come to life. A fascinating imaginary journey for the whole family!

World’s Only Moomin Museum
Two persons sitting around a bonfire pit in a forest.
Photographer: Julia Kivelä

9. Go hiking in one of the national parks

The ten national parks in Lakeland Finland are perfect for everybody who enjoys hiking. From Liesjärvi in the far south to Seitseminen, Päijänne and Salamajärvi in the north of the region, there are many lovely alternatives. You will find well-developed hiking trails not only in the national parks, but also in the Aulanko Nature Reserve, for example.

National Parks
Person petting a deer at Restaurant Hirvikartano/ Moose Manor
Photographer: Julie Weien-Foroy

10. Meet the moose and enjoy a delicious meal at Moose Manor

You don’t have to travel to Lapland to meet the moose. Lakeland Finland offers a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with these impressive animals. Moose Manor (“Hirvikartano”) in the Jyväskylä Region is a family-run estate that is home to a number of other species as well as moose. Afterwards, you can enjoy a delicious meal in the Manor’s cosy restaurant.

Moose Manour
Two persons and a dog on a wooden deck over a lake.
Photographer: Julia Kivelä

11. Rent a “mökki” by the lake and relax like the Finns

The best way to find out why people in Finland are so happy and relaxed is to rent a mökki. That’s what Finns call their beloved holiday cottage in the countryside, almost always located right on the water, with its own pier and – of course – its own sauna. Nowhere else can you find such holistic tranquillity. Activities such as rowing, swimming and berry picking are also part of the “mökki experience”.

Säynätsalo Townhall in the summer
Photographer: Tero Takalo-Eskola

12. Walk in the footsteps of Alvar Aalto

Alvar Aalto, Finland’s legendary architect, has left his mark in Lakeland Finland. Especially in the city of Jyväskylä, Aalto is still very much present – on the one hand in the form of various buildings, and on the other hand in the form of the brand-new Aalto2 Museum Centre, which houses the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland under one roof. Another Aalto destination in the Jyväskylä Region is the Säynätsalo Town Hall designed by him. In Lahti you will find a pearl among Alvar Aalto’s buildings, the Church of the Cross. His legendary Savoy vase is still manufactured in Iittala Glass Factory today.

Aalto Activities
View from Pyynikki observation tower

13. Enjoy the world’s best doughnuts and a fantastic view from the Pyynikki Observation Tower in Tampere

Nowadays, there are many great places in Tampere to enjoy a view over Finland’s largest inland city from above. An absolute classic is the view from the Pyynikki Observation Tower on the ridge of the same name between the two large lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. After descending, you have to taste the world’s best doughnuts (“munkki”) at the café at the foot of the observation tower.

Pyynikki Observation Tower and Café