Also known as Vesijärvi, Lahti is a lesser traversed and developed town in Finland. A popular day trip from Helsinki, it’s teeming with well-preserved nature trails and ancient sites. Lahti has also been progressing significantly over the years, focusing on restoring its waters and historical features. Traditional Finland can be found in this lake enveloped sustainable destination, whether that be through authentic food, sauna experiences or activities. Eco-tourists will fall in love—here’s why.
Ready to plan your trip? Check out the top hotels in Lahti.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
There's an Acient Geopark
Salpausselkä Geopark in Lahti is aspiring to become an official UNESCO Global Geopark, which is defined as “single, unified geographical areas that have a geological heritage of international value”. This special part of Lahti houses ancient rock formations formed during the last ice age, and they tell a significant story of the land. Groundwater here is a sustainable source of water used by the community in pure brewing techniques and so on. Whether Salpausselkä gets its official designation or not, there’s no doubt this preserved nook is an unforgettable place to see and appreciate.
Päijänne National Park is a Conserved Group of Islands
Päijänne National Park is a compilation of dozens of small uninhabited islands. Lahti sits right on the cusp of this vast, old line of land, which also includes Salpausselkä. Boats cruise out to the islands so that explorers can venture through trails and gaze over the rocky terrain. Many species of birds habitat along Päijänne, and kayaking around the islands may present some incredible viewing opportunities. Pulkkilanharju Nature Trail takes hikers along some of the most incredible viewpoints in the entire park.
Lake Vesijärvi Has Been Brought Back to Life
Lahti is known to be the gateway to the Lakeland of Finland, so naturally, it sits quite close to the restored waters of Lake Vesijärvi. Around the mid-1900s, the body of water was in trouble, and experts jumped in to bring balance back to its ecosystem, and continue to monitor its purity to this day. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful landscapes on a sailing excursion for example. Vesijärvi ultimately connects to Lake Päijänne.
Art Meets Nature
Lanu Park, or Lanu-puisto, is an interesting melding of both art and nature. A sculptor crafted concrete shapes that represent different things. It was intended that these pieces melt into the nature around them, which is what has happened. In spring and summer, greenery creeps up the edges of each figure, and the result is something really majestic. A trail winds by each unusual creation, and eco-tourists are introduced to an out of the box idea that has enhanced nature’s beauty.
The Harbor Has Been Restored
Lahti Harbor is affectionately known as the “summer living room”, as it provides an array of outdoor spaces to take in the pleasant climate. But the Harbor went under major restoration to reblossom into the place it is today, serving as a good example of the sustainable innovation taking place in this lovely town. Floating boat restaurants, and cafes with melt in your mouth cinnamon rolls, are just the beginning. In the winter, ice skating on the lake ramps up.
You Can Have a Cup of Fair Trade Coffee
An abundance of high-quality coffee is an essential staple in Lahti. Finland altogether has an intriguing coffee culture waiting to be discovered. All the adorable cafes are met with establishments like Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, where beans are bought fair trade to ensure growers are well compensated for an incredible product. The owner has a personal connection to the place from where he sources most of his beans. You can stop by the roastery to sample straight from Kahiwa.
Pure Water Means Pure Booze
Pure water from the southern Finland region has allowed distillers and micro brewmasters to develop products that are creating serious buzz. Teerenpeli Distillery uses regional barley to craft a very special single malt whiskey. They researched and even spent time in Scotland to be certain they were correctly nailing the technique. Brews and cloudberry wine are also beverages to keep on your radar.
Local, Traditional Food
Lahti has a mouthwatering food scene worthy of a totally separate article. But to give an overview, local ingredients are key at the endless list of restaurants, while locals also flock to farmers’ markets. Tender reindeer and fish are commonly the main dish, however, vegan eatery numbers are growing. Some of the most flavorful berries you’ll ever eat, pastries (gluten-free ones too) baked with tradition and love, organic ingredients and bonfire smoked salmon offer a glimpse into Lahti’s goodies.
Old Vääksy is Frozen in Time
Old Vääksy is a storybook town just over 30 minutes from Lahti. Major efforts have gone into preserving the historic structures and culture of this neat little neighborhood in Finland. Paired with the lovely canal, Vaaksy attracts tourists who just want to capture the beauty on camera and to immerse themselves into the past.