Why Taking a Slow Boat Is the Perfect Way to Explore Finland

Enjoying lake life in Finland.
Enjoying lake life in Finland. | © Aleksanteri Baidin / Visit Finland
Photo of Paula Hotti
4 June 2018

Finland is known as the land of thousands of lakes, but not many realize that Finnish Lakeland is, in fact, the biggest in Europe! Taking a slow boat gives the passengers time to experience Finland the way it should be: slowly.

Finland is an exemplary country of slow living: there are no metropolis here, and cities are located fairly far away from each other. The Finns also value quietude and clean nature that everyone can enjoy. Taking a slow boat and gliding on a blue lake is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the Finnish way of life: the slower the better, you will get there eventually!

The Finnish Lakeland consists of Saimaa’s sparkling clean waters, romantic coves, and practical canals, which cover pretty much the whole of Central and Southeastern Finland. The lake, which covers over 4400 square meters is Finland’s largest, and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in the whole of Europe. Lake Saimaa’s shoreline is almost 15,000 kilometers long and has over 200,000 summer cottages dotted along it.

Lake Saimaa’s history dates to the end of Ice Age when glacial melting formed its basins and narrow canals. But the pretty lakeside views has a practical past from when tar and especially wood were transported across Finland along its streams.

Nowadays, the Lakeside is a home or a summer home for many Finns – and a home to over 300 Saimaa ringed seals! Major cities along its shores are Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Lappeenranta, Imatra, and Joensuu, and via 60 canals, Lake Saimaa is connected to many other important lakes and towns.

In Lakeside area and beyond, many Finns do at least one trip on a slow boat each summer. You can jump on a slow boat in Kuopio, and enjoy a scenic tour around Kallavesi, or you can hop onboard the historic Ukko Pekka in Turku, and slowly make your way through the archipelago to Naantali, and visit the Moomin World.

One of the most historic routes in the Lakeside might be the one from Kuopio to Savonlinna. You can choose different types of journeys from 10-hour trips to two-day experiences – talking about slow!

There are also daily summertime cruises in many other cities, such as Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Mikkeli and Savonlinna and some hotels, such as Järvisydäkn and Hotel Punkaharju in Southern Savonia also help you organize boat trips from their premises.

Apart from hopping on a boat with its own skipper, you can rent a slow boat for yourself, or explore the Finnish lakesides with canoes or rowing boats. One of the most picturesque routes is from Lahti along the river Porvoonjoki to the medieval Old Town of Porvoo. Another popular past time activity is sup boarding, for example, in beautiful Helsinki seaside.

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