It’s so good to be back on the road again after this long period when the world froze. With the pandemic, I didn’t leave Lapland for 18 months. So when I was offered a little weekend in the lake district of Finland
, I didn’t hesitate for long.
From a touristic point of view, Finland can be divided into 4 main regions: Lapland in the north which occupies a large territory, the lake region (central Finland), the coastline and the Archipelago and finally Helsinki.
I don’t know Finland very well except for the north but the lake region is the one I wanted to discover the most because I am a big fan of lakes! There are about 188 000 lakes in Finland and most of them are in the lake district.
It doesn’t get any
My 3-day itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Jyväskylä in the evening and overnight stay at the Sokos Alexandra Original Hotel (located in front of the train station)
Day 2: Visit of the city of Jyväskylä: its harbour, the Vitaniemi district, the university district and the city centre. Lunch at the Valkoinen Puu café and visit of the Toivola Old Courtyard (free museum, small shops). Then on to Petäjävesi to visit its UNESCO World Heritage church. Night at the Toppalan Lomamökit cottage.
Day 3: Hike on a forest trail in Petajavesi (3km loop). Lunch at Hakamaan Lammastila farm. Then head to Laukaa north of Jyvaskyla for a night at Varjola Resort. Hiking in the forest (Multamäki Nature Trail) and late afternoon sauna / jacuzzi.
My stay in details : Jyvaskyla & Lake District
A day in Jyväskylä
I arrived on Sunday evening after a long drive from Lapland. In Finland, we are used to driving long distances, but still, it was long so I was quite happy to arrive at the hotel in the evening. After a good night’s sleep, we started with the city tour to discover the attractions of Jyväskylä. I was accompanied by Johanna throughout this stay. She lives in Jÿvaskÿla and works for the tourist office. And little more: she speaks French
The district of the port of Jyväskylä is a very sympathetic corner not to be missed. It is very lively at the end of the day or on weekends. You can walk along the lake, have an aperitif on the terrace or even board one of the restaurant boats to have dinner on the water.
For me no luck, the weather was gloomy when I went there but hardly an hour later, it was super nice! (but I had already gone somewhere else)
<img width=”1150″ height=”767″ src=”https://www.je-papote.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/IMG_6221.jpg” alt=”” />
The Viitaniemi district
A very nice district to discover, the one of Viitaniemi where you realize that nature is really omnipresent in the city. Green spaces, the beautiful lake with its beaches, I really liked this corner of the city. It must be a good place to live!
The university district
We then took the direction of the university district where we can discover buildings of the famous architect Alvar Aalto. Jyväskylä is an important student city, that’s what makes it dynamic and attractive. Once again, green spaces are integrated in the area and that’s what I like in Finnish cities. Nature is never far away.
The city center
Then a small tour in the city center passing in front of this beautiful church. The city center is nice with many cafes, big brand stores but also many small Scandinavian decoration shops.
Other points of interest in Jyväskylä
- The Alvar Aalto Museum (currently closed)
Good addresses in Jyväskylä
To eat – The Valkoinen Puu
A nice address for lunch: the Valkoinen Puu café which had just opened when I went there and it was not full
It’s a typical café in Finland: a nice setting, a buffet for lunch and delicious pastries in the window. I really like this buffet formula in Finland, it’s always of good quality with salads and a soup of the day. This day: the famous Finnish salmon soup
. A delight! We finished by choosing a pastry, the choice was not easy because they all gave envy!
By leaving the coffee, do not miss ” Toivola Old Courtyard
“, it is a very nice place to have a drink (or eat) but also to discover old wooden buildings. There is also a free museum and a nice shop with a huge selection of woolen toys. If you like knitting, this will be your paradise!
To sleep – The <a href=”https://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/jyvaskyla/sokos
-hotel-alexandra” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Original Alexandra Sokos
I spent one night at the Original Alexandra Hotel of the Sokos hotel chain. This one is very well located in front of the train station, convenient if you arrive by train.
The room was very comfortable with excellent bedding and I was lucky enough to have a room with a bathroom with a bathtub. Perfect to relax after my long trip.
After visiting Jyväskylä, we headed to Petäjävesi a few kilometers away to see its beautiful church and spend the night in a nice cottage right next door.
Thechurch of Petajävesi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is easy to see why. The church is all made of wood like many churches in Scandinavia. It is really pretty to see both from the outside and the inside. If you are in the area, it would be a shame not to stop there.
Services are always held here and weddings are also celebrated. Nice setting, isn’t it?
Forest walk: Tamppi Trail (3km loop)
The next day, the weather was good, so we took the opportunity to go walking in the forest. This is not what is missing in Finland and the trails are numerous.
We followed the Tamppi trail, a really simple 3km walk. The trail is quite flat and we cross different environments. At the beginning, you walk on a wooden path around the marshes. It looks a lot like Lapland. Then you go deeper into the forest. I love this kind of hike.
A little more than halfway through, you come to an open kota where you can take a break, build a fire and have a picnic. It is really something typical that you can find everywhere in Finland. Everybody can use these spaces (there is even wood to make a fire).
Anu, a nature guide, was waiting for us there with a good hot tea and pastries. We spent a good time together talking about our relationship with nature and its importance in our daily life.
After this break, Anu invited us to resume our walk together in silence and to walk wherever we wanted and to pay attention to all our sensations. It was a very nice “exercise”. We realize how much we sometimes walk without even listening, observing and feeling the nature. It was really a beautiful encounter.
Anu proposes nature outings in this area. Here is his contact information if you need to be well accompanied: Taivaltamo
Good addresses in Petäjävesi
PoTo eat – Hakamaan LammastilaFarm
A beautiful country address in a farm where we had a divine lunch in the shade of an apple tree.
The restaurant was just about to open, so we had the chance to try the chef’s good dishes. I let you judge by these pictures!
I liked this warm address. It’s a farm with sheep at the base but there is also a small shop with handmade creations, the possibility to take a nap in a hammock suspended with the sheep (you can also sleep there at night).
It’s the kind of small authentic address that I like. Behind this address, we find the passion and the desire to undertake of Maija who puts all her energy to offer a quality service.
To sleep – The Toppalan lomamökitcottage
Very close to the church of Petajävesi, we took possession of a charming cottage for one night. The kind of wooden cottage that you can find everywhere in Finland and that invites to cocooning.
We spent a great evening chatting and enjoyed the good food from the Hakamaan Lammastila farm who delivered us dinner and breakfast for the next day.
The cottage is really set in the middle of nature. There is a kota where you can grill and at the end of the field, the lake with its small pontoon which makes really dream. You can reach the church of Petajävesi by boat from here.
Laukaa – Varjola Resort
We went a little further north of Jyväskylä for our last day to Varjola Resort, a really nice resort in all respects: a small room with a view, a natural environment with a lake and even rapids, and many activities to do around.
Multamäki Nature Trail
We took advantage of the nice weather to venture out on the Multamäki trail. This trail allows you to get a good view of the surroundings. We went there at the end of the day and climbed up the 303 steps at the end of the trail. At the top there is a picnic table and a kota, which is freely accessible as always. The Varjola Resort offers a turnkey service for short hikes like this one by providing a fully equipped backpack.
ipé: food, drinks and even a fire. It’s very well thought out and practical if you’re not equipped to.
Enjoying the Varjola resort
Back at the resort we quietly enjoyed the smoky sauna and the jacuzzi facing the lake. A really idyllic setting!
The smoked sauna is an ancestral type of sauna. Its particularity is that it does not have a chimney. It takes hours to heat it but the result is worth it. You get a soft steam and a smell of burnt wood. It is rather particular but nice to test.
After the sauna, the most courageous can go for a swim in the lake at the end of the pontoon. The chilly one that I am preferred to skip it for this time and go to the jacuzzi!
We finished the evening with a good meal prepared by the resort. It’s that the sauna, it digs!
Voila, you know everything about my stay! I really enjoyed this escapade which did me a lot of good after all these months of immobility. The weather was with me in addition, which has sublimated the nature and the lakes for my greatest pleasure. I hope to discover more of the region next time and who knows maybe this time for ruska
, the period of the Indian summer in Finland. I hope that this escape in pictures has given you the desire to discover this corner of Finland for a weekend or more.
Getting to Jyvaskyla and the lake district
Jyvaskyla is located 230km north of Helsinki. There are several options for getting there from Helsinki:
– By plane in 50 minutes. If you come from France, you will have to stop over in Helsinki and take this second flight.
– By train or bus in 3h30
– By car in 3h
Getting around the lake district
If you want to discover the region and get out of Jyväskylä, I recommend you to rent a car because you will be quickly in the countryside with little public transport. With a car, you can roam around as you please and be free. You can rent a car directly in Jyväskylä (at the airport or in town)
There is really no bad season to go to the lake district. In spring/summer, you can enjoy the many lakes, hiking trails and nature at its best. Autumn is also a great time to see the colourful nature. Finally, winter is also a good time to discover the region under a white coat. Here you can enjoy winter activities with the ski resorts and even go for a dog sled ride.
Other destinations that might interest you:
Stay in collaboration with Visit Jyväskylä Region. Although a guest, the content of this article is my personal opinion in order to share my experience as sincerely as possible.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!