It’s like autopilot. When one thinks of Finland, a visual of a land knee-deep in pristine white snow takes over; there’s possibly an igloo too, from which one can spot the magnificent aurora borealis electrifying the sky. And there are huskies and snow sleds to complete the pretty picture.
While the image itself is not false, it only spotlights the Laplands—the country’s northernmost, almost Tundra-like region. But there’s another side to Finland too. Three more, in fact, and the one we’d like to focus on is the Lakeland. The happiest country in the world is home to a thousand lakes, but in reality, the number is much, much more. 1,88,000, to be precise.
A blue belt of lakes, archipelagos, streams and calm waters makes the Lake District area. Here, families flock to go fishing in the summer or go paddle boating in a canoe. In the winter, the more adrenaline-seeking people dive right into the icy waters, an activity that’s given more legitimacy with its name ‘ice-swimming’. While it was once a pain-relieving activity, it has now become an extreme sport that few engage in for the rush.
Renting a cottage at a lakeside is a commonplace activity for the Finns. One of five people in Finland grow up with a summer cottage at which they spend languorous days, dipping their feet in the water or barbecuing on the wooden porch. But even if you haven’t got your own ancestral villa, you can book a cottage at websites such as this one on your holiday.
At Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland, there’s nature’s bounty waiting for you. People can go berry-picking and mushroom-picking in the wild. Some gorgeous fruits that can be found in Saimaa’s wetlands, such as cowberries, cloudberries, raspberries and mushrooms.
Apart from natural delights, the Lakelands are well known for the cultural fiesta, the Savonlinna Opera Festival that takes place at the lakeside town of Savonlinna. Or when in doubt, step into a Finnish sauna—where you can let off some steam like nowhere else. Saunas are a way of life in Finland and are considered to be great for your health. So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and enjoy Finland’s Lakelands!