Places To Visit in Finland: A Lakeland Self-Drive Tour

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Top Destinations to Visit in Finland

Drive to Discover FinlandDrive to Discover the Lakeland region of Finland. Visiting Lakeland is like taking a trip into the heart of Finnish identity. This self-drive tour features key places to visit in Finland including forests, lakes & castles!

With a car rental in Helsinki, you can explore the beauty of Lakeland at your own pace. Start your journey today!

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Driving Itinerary Distance Driving Time
Helsinki to Porvoo 32 miles 49 minutes
Porvoo to Kouvola 54 miles 1 hour 5 minutes
Kouvola to Anttola 74 miles 1 hour 35 minutes
Anttola to Savonlinna 67 miles 1 hour 34 minutes
Savonlinna to Joutsa 150 miles 4 hours
Joutsa to Helsinki 124 miles 2 hours 12 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 505 miles

1. Helsinki

Helsinki-Finland

Helsinki is a city by the sea with an entire archipelago at its doorstep. The locals love the sea, often packing a picnic basket and heading for one of the many islands just off the coast.

The shoreline that wraps around the Kaivopuisto park is the heart of maritime Helsinki. The city offers lots of opportunities to relax and unwind. Many will enjoy a leisurely jog along the shoreline or through the forests of Keskuspuisto, our very own ‘central park’. Helsinki is also ideal for cycling, with over 450 miles of bike lanes, and finding a bike to rent or borrow is easy.

Travelers are also encouraged to visit Suomenlinna (Viapori/Sveaborg) fortress, one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world, built on islands off the coast of the city. Suomenlinna is one of the most popular attractions in Finland and listed as a UNESCO Word Heritage site as a unique monument to European military architecture.

Before heading out on the road be sure to visit Helsinki’s markets. Coffee with a cinnamon bun, doughnut or meat pie at the Market Square or Hakaniemi Market Square is a great way of slowing down and enjoying the city.

Next stop: 49 minutes


2. Porvoo

Porvoo-Finland

Porvoo is the second oldest town in Finland. The timeless and unique atmosphere of the Porvoo Old Town is sure to appeal to travelers from all over the world. The cobbled streets are lined with old, doll-house-like houses and on top of the hill a white stone church looks over the river valley. Wonderful in the summer, magical during wintertime.

Next stop: 1 hour & 5 minutes


3. Kouvola

Kouvola-Finland

Kouvola is home to Repovesi National Park. The scenery of Repovesi is made up of vast uninhabited forests, bold steep-faced cliffs and dozens of clear lakes and ponds. Thanks to the varied but always impressive landscape, Repovesi National Park is one of Finland’s favorite trekking destinations

Next stop: 1 hour & 35 minutes


4. Anttola & the Mikkeli Region

Anttola-Finland

Anttola is a charming village in the Mikkeli Region with shops, a bakery and an idyllic restaurant in the harbor.

The Mikkeli Region is famous for natural attractions including the Astuvansalmi rock paintings in Eistiina, Neitvuori and the Hiidenmaa hiking route, the Luonteri canoeing route and the Orava route in Juva. We also recommend seeing the Puumala archipelago, the home of the Saimaa ringed seal. In addition to this, the Mikkeli region is a dream location for anglers, which provides the opportunity for rapids fishing, guided fishing trips and, of course, relaxed angling on a pier. Lake Saimaa is the largest lake in Finland and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe.

Next stop: 1 hour & 35 minutes


5. Savonlinna

Olavinlinna-Castle-Savonlinna

When leaving Anttola, we recommend taking the route from Sulkava to Savonlinna. Along the way (Route 438), you can drive through the beautiful Vilkanharju scenic route and stop by at Holiday Resort Kukkapää for lunch (about 78 miles)

Savonlinna is located amidst the thousands of lakes of the labyrinthine Saimaa lake region. In Savonlinna, we recommend you visit the Olavinlinna Castle, and take a sightseeing cruise on a nostalgic steam ship. The Olavinlinna Castle that was established in 1475 to bolster the eastern border defense. The castle has been used for tourist purposes since the 1850s, and an Opera Festival is held there since 1912.

To reach Joutsa, we recommend taking a route through Linnansaari National Park, Varkaus & Pieksamaki which offer you many opportunities to stop and take in the scenic Lakeland of Finland.

Next stop: 4 hours


6. Joutsau & Leivonmäki National Park

Lakeland-Finland

Joutsau is located in Central Finland which is home to numerous lakes, undulating landscapes, lakes and rapids rich with fish and lakeside cabins, as well as cruises on the large lakes of Päijänne, Keitele and Keurusselkä. Central Finland has four national parks, each with its own unique traits.

One such national park is Leivonmäki National Park is located in Joutsau. This park is perfect for family fun with many lakes, eskers that were formed during the Ice Age, as well as many well-established duckboard routes.

Next stop back to Helsinki: 2 hours & 12 minutes

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