The largest lakes in Finland

Known as the land of a thousand lakes, Finland has been enchanting individualists, nature lovers and those seeking peace and quiet for years. At first glance, the Finnish map resembles a mosaic of a thousand blue stones.

Lake Pielinen in Finland - Lakes of Finland
Lake Pielinen – lake landscape in Finland

The lakes characterize the entire country and invite again and again to jump into the cool water. Today, Finland is home to more than 180,000 waters of various sizes. It is above all the large lakes that have been able to make a name for themselves among vacationers and convey enthusiasm with a seemingly never-ending expanse.

The lakes of Finland are set off by an impressive nature that has remained true to its origins to this day. While many of the lakes offer an unmistakable variety of landscapes, the others present themselves with a simplicity that is second to none.

The most famous and also the largest lake in the country is Lake Saimaa. As part of a lake system unique in the world, it enjoys a high profile internationally. Every year, thousands of holidaymakers are attracted to the shores of Lake Saimaa and to a nature that could hardly be more individual, diverse and probably also more inviting. The impressive Lake Saimaa covers an area of 4370 km². Although it seems to be only a slightly larger blue spot on the map of Finland, it appears to its visitors as a seemingly never-ending body of water. Today it is considered the fourth largest lake in Europe. Impressive is the long coastline, which stretches over a distance of 14,850 km. Again and again, Lake Saimaa is broken by one of the total 13,710 islands. The majority of them have remained true to their own origins and present a nature reminiscent of the panoramic views of Finland. Although most of the islands appear almost tiny to the human eye, if strung together they would cover an impressive area of 1,850 km².

At its deepest point, Lake Saimaa reaches a distance of 85 meters. In contrast, the average depth of the Finnish lake is just seven meters. Lake Saimaa became famous with the construction and opening of the Saimaa Canal in 1850. The canal, which is still considered a masterpiece of Finnish engineering. It extends over a length of 42.9 km. It has been open to boating tourism since 1991 and has become a popular destination for numerous amateur skippers. Lake Saimaa itself is the habitat of numerous animals, so a visit to the body of water is always associated with a journey into a world full of biodiversity. Probably the best known inhabitant of the largest Finnish lake is the saimaar seal. Today, about 260 animals of this subspecies of ringed seal still live in the lake.

Lake Päijänne – the longest lake in the country

Along with the legendary Lake Saimaa, Lake Päijänne is one of the most famous Finnish lakes. It has an extraordinary superlative to offer its guests and presents itself as the longest lake in the country. Lake Päijänne stretches from Asikkala in the south to Jyväskyla in the north. Covering an area of about 1118 km², it suggests an unforgettable vastness that radiates freedom and originality. With a length of 2,248 km, the shore is home to a multitude of scenic contrasts shaped by the different regions. Like Saimaa, Lake Päijänne is crossed by numerous islands. Some 1886 islands adorn the image of the lake and convey the diversity that many people associate with Finland. With a depth of 95 meters, Lake Päijänne is also the deepest of the Finnish lakes.

It has long been characterized with all its facets by tourism, which has been able to establish itself especially in recent years. It is the versatile tourist offers that make Lake Päijänne a popular vacation destination in the country. An unmistakable experience is to take part in one of the numerous steamboat trips, which are a treat for the senses, especially during the summer. On the shore of the lake small cottages are strung like pearls on a necklace. They are used not only by foreign guests, but are also extremely popular among the locals themselves.

Nationwide, Lake Päijänne is known as the most important drinking water reservoir in Finland. Today, households in Helsinki are also supplied with fresh drinking water via the legendary Päijänne Tunnel. On this way the water covers a distance of 120 km.

Lake Inarijärvi – Finland’s third largest lake

In the north of Finland, Lake Inarijärvi presents a special gem to the country’s guests. With an area of 1040.28 km², it is the third largest lake in the country. Surrounded by nature that resembles a wilderness, Lake Inarijärvi is a popular destination for travelers both in summer and winter. In the midst of Europe’s last wilderness, it presents the sixth largest inland body of water in Europe. Lake Inarijärvi lies beyond the Arctic Circle and during the winter is marked by the auroras dancing in the sky. It is located about 1100 km from Helsinki and offers on the shore landscape a scenic diversity of special magnitude.

Due to its location, Lake Inarijärvi is often frozen over until June. Despite its location in Lapland, the long period of ice is exceptional for the lake. Lake Inarijärvi has a depth of up to 92 meters and is today characterized by far more than 3000 islands. Many islands are so tiny that they only catch your eye late in the day. But they all offer a natural origin that is unique, extraordinary and charming at the same time. Due to the numerous islands, Lake Inarijärvi resembles a string of small streams and rivers. The shore is dominated by the numerous pine forests, which leave an extraordinary scenic image. On the western shore of the famous lake you will meet the town of Inari, which has a special place in Finnish tourism. The European Road 75 leads to the western shore of Lake Inarijärvi and is mainly used by tourists. When visiting the lake, it is worth visiting the museum of Inari, which is dedicated to the history and tradition of the Sámi people.

Lake Pielinen

Known as Pielisjärvi, Lake Pielinen is the fifth largest lake in Finland. Like hardly anything else, it shapes the east of the country and invites you on a visit to ramble through a breathtaking nature. Lake Pielinen covers an area of 868 km² and has a length of 93 km. At its widest point it reaches an extension of 28 km. At first glance, the lake resembles a body of water that seems to never end. But its vastness makes it one of the most popular destinations in the east of the country. At the same time, Lake Pielinen has a very varied shoreline landscape, which is characterized by a wide variety of landscapes.

Although Lake Pielinen is much smaller than the other lakes in the country, it is home to around 2000 islands of varying sizes. They run like a red thread through the waters and show the Finnish nature again and again from its most beautiful side. Each island has its own character and so they could hardly be more different. Lake Pielinen is rich in attractions that are popular with guests. One of the most famous is Koli National Park, which can be found on the western shore. The protected area is dominated by Koli Mountain, which stretches far into the sky. Even if the climb to the top involves some effort, you will be compensated for it in any case, because from the top you have a beautiful view of the surroundings. To the north of Lake Pielinen lies the well-known small town of Nurmes.

It presents itself to its guests with a typical Scandinavian image and is dominated by numerous small houses. Next to it, the town of Lieksa has been able to make a name for itself as a destination for excursions on Lake Pielinen.

Lake Oulujärvi – the fourth largest Finnish lake

Stunning nature, seemingly never-ending vastness and scenic diversity make Lake Oulujärvi a popular destination in Finland. With it shows the fourth largest lake in the country. Lake Oulujärvi covers an impressive area of 928 km². The average depth of the water is just seven meters. Lake Oulujärvi has two important tributaries. One is Kajaaninjoki and the other is Kiehimäjoki. It’s not so much the size that makes Lake Oulujärvi a popular destination as the scenic diversity.

On the shores of the lake, Finland undoubtedly shows one of its most charming sides. The shallow landscapes along the lake invite for walks and rambles. At the same time, the riparian region is characterized by a distinctive biodiversity that comes with discoveries and explorations. Since Lake Oulujärvi has a comparatively shallow depth, it warms up very quickly. Due to the warm water temperatures, it has always been known and popular among the locals as a bathing lake and is used as such mainly during the summer. One of the most popular destinations on Lake Oulujärvi is Manamansalo Island. Despite its idyllic sandy beaches, the 76 km² peninsula is still a real insider tip. Manamansalo is also the largest lake island in Finland and has been dedicated to tourism for years.

From the end of November to the beginning of May, Lake Oulujärvi is covered by a layer of ice. Although the lake is a popular destination mainly during the summer, it is also worth visiting during the winter, when the landscape resembles a fairy-tale world of a special size.

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