Take in the beauty of the Finnish Lake District and the vibrant, delightful city of Helsinki city on this picturesque summertime self-drive. It all begins with a stay in the design-conscious Finnish Capital with its eclectic neighbourhoods and vibrant arts scene. You'll then venture to the heart of Finnish Lakeland where, making the most of those long summer days, you'll spend time cycling, swimming, fishing and canoeing, before retiring to historic lakeside manor houses and a boutique hideaway on the pretty shores of Lake Saimaa.
Best of Finnish Lakeland Self-Drive
Day by day itinerary
Day 1 » UK/Helsinki
Fly to the Finnish capital, Helsinki and check in to Hotel Haven, Finland's first member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. Whilst in Helsinki, spend your time soaking up the variation of influences and styles left by Russia and Sweden in the architectural layout or experience the buzzing urban scene in the chic bars and vibrant clubs of cosmopolitan Helsinki.
Stay: Hotel Haven, Helsinki
Days 2-3 » Rantasalmi
In the morning, collect your hire car and drive to the Järvisydän Holiday Resort on the shores of Lake Saimaa. After settling in to your accommodation, either a traditional cottage or hotel room next to the lake, engage in the popular activities Järvisydän is known for, including hiking, cycling, fishing, boat trips, snowshoeing, ice skating and snowmobiling, or if you are looking to relax, visit the Finnish Sauna World, complete with open-air hot tub.
One dinner and a visit to the spa is included in your stay.
Days 4-5 » Savonlinna
Travel to Savonlinna, occupying three islands in Lake Saimaa and set amid stunning scenery. Here, embark on a tour of the town's most famous site, 15th century Olavinlinna Castle, which now provides the setting for northern Europe’s most important opera festival, which runs throughout July. One dinner during your stay is included.
We have also included and 1.5 hour sightseeing cruise on the nostalgic S/S Punkaharju or S/S Saaristo steam ships for guests travelling in high season (01 June to 31 August).
Days 6-7 » Puumala
Spend two nights at the charming Sahanlahti Resort, perched on the shores of Lake Saimaa. Featuring 10 cosy rooms, this boutique hotel boasts beautiful views of the lake. Those seeking a luxury & upgraded stay should look no further than the hotel's nearby Elsanranta Villas. These luxurious villas offer contemporary interiors, adding in the likes of plunge pools, saunas and terraces. The complimentary use of a scooter and bicycle comes as part of your inclusions as well as a rowing boat to take you between Elsanranta and Sahanlahti restaurants.
Whilst here, take to the water on canoes and stand-up paddle boards, or stay dry with volleyball and lakeside relaxation. Lastly, don't miss the open-fire restaurant Pajapirtti and summer dining at Rantamakasiini, serving delicious food in a cosy atmosphere. Once again, we have included one dinner during your stay.
Stay: Sahanlahti Resort
Day 8 » Helsinki
Return to Helsinki for one final night, enjoying its vibrant, cosmopolitan nightlife.
Stay: Hotel Haven, Helsinki
Day 9 » Depart Helsinki
After breakfast, head to the airport before boarding your flight back to the UK.
Stories inspired by Scandinavia
Scandinavia's varied landscapes, icy northern reaches and scenic fjords certainly deliver when it comes to inspiration. Beloved authors have long used them as settings for magical stories, from Dahl's Norwegian summers to Pullman's far-away Svalbard.
Our top summer trips to Finland
Our specialists pick out a selection of summer itineraries, from self-drives and cruises to wildlife-watching trips and even a stay at a glass-fronted treehouse hotel located right on the Arctic Circle.