Discover Beautiful Lake Views On This Popular European Road Trip Route

If you think that Europe's biggest lake district would be an incredible place to drive around, then you should head to Finland's Lakeland where you can do just that! The Dream Big Travel Far bloggers consider a road trip around Finnish Lakeland to be one of the top 12 "best road trips in the world." There are estimated to be around 200,000 lakes in this country, which earned it the nickname of the "land of a thousand lakes."

The biggest water body in Lakeland is Lake Saimaa, which is so big that it has its own aquatic mammal population, the endangered Saimaa ringed seal, which you may see here. You will still see plenty of terrestrial wildlife as three-quarters of Finland is forested, making this verdant landscape even more of a sight to behold. It is an underrated European country when it comes to all of the outdoor fun that you can have here and Lakeland is the perfect place to begin your Scandinavian adventure.

The best routes in Finnish Lakeland

A good option for a road trip in Lakeland is to rent a car in Helsinki and then drive in a big loop around the region before finishing back in the capital to return it. Depending on what you plan to see, you could spend anywhere from one day to one week exploring this semi-submerged landscape. The Saimaa area is a great jumping-off point for a scenic drive, as this expanse of water is seemingly endless, bleeding into many other lakes and tributaries.

Route 62 between Mikkeli and Ruokolahti is a popular route to take nearby and you can even stop at the Ollinmäki winery on the way. Visit Saimaa also recommends the Green Gold Culture Road from Mäntyharju to Parikkala and the Punkaharjun Harjutie ridge road through Lake Puruvesi and Lake Pihlajavesi. Repovesi National Park is another beautiful location to drive to and hike around in Lakeland. Extend your road trip with a visit to Oulanka National Park, where you can enjoy breathtaking waterfall views on its many hiking trails.

Things to do in Finnish Lakeland

One way to explore Finland's lakes is to get in them, you can swim, paddleboard, kayak, or go boating in the water during the summertime. When the winter comes, the area is extra beautiful, with opportunities to ski, snowboard, or ice skate, if you're really brave you can try some cold water therapy by ice floating. A trip to Finland is not complete without trying the national tradition of going in a sauna, they are dotted all over but try one where you can jump in a frigid lake afterward for the full experience.

Wildlife lovers can enjoy a brown bear-watching tour at Bear Centre where you can rent a hide to spot and photograph bears, wolverines, and wolves against the incredible Lakeland backdrop. Break up your road trip with a rest at the Savonlinna, a charming island town surrounded by medieval fortifications, including Olavinlinna Castle, which you can visit. For those who want to see a quirky art piece, go to "The Silent People," where a thousand wooden people with "hay heads" stand in a field near Suomussalmi. This exhibition is proof that whatever your interests, you're sure to discover something to satisfy them in Finnish Lakeland.