If you really want to experience the true magic of winter then head to Finland’s Lakeland region. When the cold season strikes the region it transforms into a entrancing winter wonderland. The air turns crisp, the land is blanketed in snow, and silence reigns. Enjoy the beauty of icy crystals and the comfort of a warm fire in a cabin, shared with good company. From embracing the calm of a night devoid of light pollution, to ice fishing and electric snow scooter rides, this region offers a unique winter adventure for every traveler. Here’s a selection of 10 of the best sustainable experiences to help you explore Lakeland like a local during the winter months.
Have you ever encountered genuine darkness and experienced its soothing influence? In Finland, during the winter season, there are plenty of places to experience true darkness and dazzling starry nights and the absence of light pollution is guaranteed!
Guided winter adventures on electric snow scooters are available in Puumala. The 1.5-hour safari lets guests silently glide along the wintry shores of stunning Lake Saimaa, taking in the scenery and enjoying the peace and quiet of the surroundings. While you stop for a hot beverage, your guide will talk about the secrets of Lake Saimaa before hopping back on the eLYLY, the world’s first electric snow scooter.
During the colder months of the year, Finns go fishing. Hotelli Kaleva in Kuhmo takes guests right on the lakes to try fishing. It all starts with a hole in the ice. Lunch is included in the excursion, and travel is done on snowshoes, skis, or on foot. The hotel also specializes in LGBTQ-friendly excursions.
There are around three million saunas in Finland, and if you ask any locals – they will tell you the best way to experience one is by a lake. And don’t forget to throw in some winter bathing. The Sahanlahti Resort in Puumala offers electric and traditional smoke saunas year-round but in winter, a sauna made from ice guarantees the ultimate encounter with Finnish wellness culture.
Lake Saimaa offers plenty of options for mindful relaxing along its striking shore, and one of the most calming options is floating. Give dry suit floating a try; you’ll enjoy a safe, relaxing journey atop the gentle flow of River Vuoksi or the clear waters of Lake Saimaa.
Finns love hockey, but many also love to engage in skating during wintertime. So why not do like the locals and take part in an ice marathon organized annually in the city of Kuopio? Or just enjoy a leisurely skate skating under the moonlight sky.
Along with ice hockey and skating, Finns love cross-country skiing. Why not explore the wintry landscapes on a pair of skis and take in the sights at your own pace? The Finnish Lakeland region offers hundreds of miles of well-maintained trails that are often even floodlit. Group excursions from guesthouse to guesthouse are available in Karhunpää.
There are 14 well-groomed versatile Vuokatti slopes that guarantee fun for the whole family. Beginners can start on an easy Maxin Lumimaailma trail. Experienced skiers can choose the Olympiakatti and Freestyle park slopes that correspond to all international competition standards. Vuokatti Ski School also specializes on providing lessons for those with physical challenges.
Why not spend a night right in nature? The Panorama Landscape Hotel in Tahko opened its doors on the 1st of November 2023 with a season lasting through the winter. The hotel suites are located on the slopes of the Tahko mountain and come complete with the most astonishing forest and lake views.
The cycling trails of National Parks Hossa and Martinselkonen offer more than 100 miles of cycling joy, even in winter! Fat bikes with thick tires perform perfectly on well-maintained routes. Electrically assisted, they offer a new way to explore the outdoors in winter.