About 9.4% of Finland is covered by lakes, and according to UNICEF, water in Finland is the cleanest in the world – as is Finnish air! Maybe this is one of the reasons the Finns’ everyday lives revolve around water quite heavily. From fishing to year-round swimming and ice skating, the Finns take full advantage of the privilege to access clean water and lakes.
Many Finns have a summer cottage by a lake, or they live close to the water. During summertime, the TVs are often switched as Finns prefer to get in a sauna, dip into a lake, then sit down quietly on the platform and enjoy the summer evening by gazing towards the horizon.
If you are into a more extreme experience, try ice hole swimming! There are clubs in nearly every Finnish town and city where you can try and tip your head in ice cold water. It might be a bit nippy getting in, but the fresh and energetic feeling afterward makes you addicted to this winter sport pretty quickly!
In Finland, you can try kayaking, standup paddleboarding, swimming, fishing, water skating, surfing… and the list goes on. Lakes are everywhere in Finland, and it is pretty common to enjoy them to the fullest. There are plenty of rental opportunities from standup paddleboarding to trips on slow boats. Local tourist information centers are also happy to help with any inquiries.
One special feature of Finnish waterside scenery is how drastically the seasons affect it. In summer and spring, the lakes glitter an inviting bright blue, whereas in autumn the colorful trees are reflected in the water’s dark surface. During winter, the lakes freeze for a fairytale-like beauty – as well as an opportunity for whole other types of activities such as ice hole fishing and rally driving on ice.
Enjoying clean water is everyman’s right in Finland: in general, you are allowed to fish, go rowing on the lakes or take a swim in any Finnish lake. The tap water, which is typically drawn from pure groundwater, is also perfectly drinkable everywhere in Finland – so there is no need to buy bottled water whilst visiting!