Tag Archives: central Finland

Waiting for the winter season

Lake Päijänne in November

It’s late November and still not enough snow for skiing. It has been a long wait for those of us in central or southern Finland. Let’s hope snow arrives pretty soon.

Lake Päijänne in central Finland has got only some ice on the shores. Though heading towards the darkest time of the year there are days when there’s a few hours of sunshine. There’s still some weeks to go before one can go skiing or skating on lakes.

Ice on lake Päijänne

November light at 10:00 am

Ice on the shore of lake Päijänne

Few ice on the shore


Tour skating in Jyväskylä

There is a 2,5 kilometer long tour skating route in Jyväskylä on lake Jyväsjärvi. Due to its popularity the ice can be a bit worn at times.

Starting point near Lutakko, Kuokkala bridge in the background.

Starting point

On the other side of the lake, there is another starting point near Ylistönrinne and Mattilanniemi campus area.

Near Ylistö bridge

There is no rush on the ice on mid-February Sunday afternoon.

Towards Lutakko

In Lutakko side the kota cafe offers typical set of sausages and “kahvi ja pulla”. They rent skates and kicksledges, open on weekends.

Kota hut cafe

Walks in central Finland

Went for a couple of shorts walks near Jyväskylä in central Finland at the end of April. Muuramejoki is a river with a short nature trail along its shores. The river flows to lake Päijänne and is popular among fishermen.

The nature trail in April is still partly covered with ice and a few spots of flooding water. The river valley is interesting in all seasons with changing variety of birds.

Across the river
It's my pond
Nature trail
Muuramejoki river with old timber boards

Northern parts of lake Päijänne was not free from ice. The ice fishing and skiing season had ended though some were still trying their luck. First spring birds had arrived to the shores.

Morning mist on lake Päijänne
Mallard, sinisorsa (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Lake Päijänne

Vaarunvuori hill in November

Vaarunvuori is a protected area in the middle of Finland near lake Päijänne. high on the steep cliff. I visited the nature trail in November after a cold night had frozen the two small lakes in the area. It was about -6C and a nice sunny day. The trail of 4 km goes to the viewing place on the cliff called Vaarunjyrkkä.

Start of the trail
Cranberry mire
Lake Särkijärvi got thin ice the previous night

Duckboards by the lake
Fire site at lake Särkijärvi
Steep drop to lake Päijänne
Lake Päijänne

Small lake of Juonaanjärvi

Kayaking in Päijänne national park

Paddling along Kelvenne island

You can enter Päijänne national park by kayak from several places but the most popular place for take-off is from Padasjoki village from the western side of the park or from Pulkkilanharju from the south-east direction. In either case it is better to check wind forecast because there are huge open lake to cross and weather can turn from the sunniest day to the very windy and murky in no time.

Kayaking in Päijänne national park can be exciting, lake Päijänne is the second largest lake in Finland. The national park itself consists of several islands of which Kelvenne is the biggest with fine sandy beaches. Good site for overall information of Päijänne national park is nationalparks.fi.

My trip started from Padasjoki harbor though I learned later that there is a better place for start a kilometre north of the harbor near Mainiemi.

Leaving from Padasjoki
Clear water of lake Päijänne

Best places for more quiet camping/stops are those harbors which can be reached only by kayaks, canoes or smaller boats. Those sites are:
1. Isohieta beach on Kelvenne island (long beach, enough room even in “tourist” season, best choice)
2. Nimetön on Kelvenne island (a bit dark shore, check the western side)
3. Lietsaari (sandy beaches on both side, not for camping unfortunately)

Check also Hinttolanhiekka on the eastern side of Kelvenne island, sandy beach and quiet popular. There are a lot campfire sites and harbours but camping is allowed only in a few places.

Quiet Isohieta beach on Kelvenne island
Kayaks on Kelvenne island

You can easily find place place for your tent on Isohieta beach on Kelvenne island and enjoy your day either hiking the 8 km trail from one end to another of Kelvenne island or swim or snorkel in the shallow waters by the beach. When camping make sure to protect your food properly because there is a at least a small population of nosy badgers on the island and they will check your supplies in the night.

Tent places on Isohieta beach
Nice setting at the camp
Panorama of Isohieta beach
Big boats like Likolahti bay
Paddling in Nimetön bay

Because Päijänne national park can be reached quite easily from Padasjoki, it is suitable for weekend trips though there are a lot of places for longer exploration. There can be a lot of boats around in July which is the busiest season, but on other times there is peace and space.