Admittedly, we have been living in Finland for quite some time, but I have to admit that there are still many places left to explore for us. One town on our little bucket list was Lahti, located about 100 km north of Helsinki. The city has gained fame for its annual ski games which feature several disciplines such as ski-jumping or biathlon. If you arrive in winter you will find yourself in one of the best places to go cross-country skiing, ice skating, or any winter sport-ing, really. If you come in the summer, you will find yourself at the doorstep of Finnish Lakeland with many hiking trails and beaches at your disposal.
We had planned a whole one-day trip, but when we arrived we realized that a few hours would probably be enough and our enthusiasm was further dulled by the numbing cold outside. -15 degrees Celsius are not exactly ideal for some casual sightseeing. Nonetheless, we persevered and our inner fire was lit again by a very helpful lady in the tourism centre in the heart of town.
From there we continued on foot to the sports centre which features the Lahti ski-jumping hills and a small ski museum. If you don’t know anything about skiing or learn more about cross-country skiing in particular, this might be a good spot for you to warm up your feet.
Once you feel you can brave the cold again, walk on to the Lahti guest harbour, located at lake Vesijärvi. The guest harbour has been named the “living room” of Lahti and deservedly so, as it features serene views as well as bars & cafes to keep you entertained. For us it is a definite must-see! We happened to stumble across a cute little café called Kariranta and treated ourselves to some hot cocoa – not to be missed!
Our final push back to the city nearly had us in tears. Traveling in winter, it had already turned dark and even colder (if that is even possible). In addition it was now past 5 o clock and most museums were about to close. We barely managed to stop by Sibelius Hall, a modern wood construction.
Out of an act of desperation we finally decided to look for shelter in a restaurant that had been recommended to us by the friendly lady in the tourist office. Hardly to our surprise, she had recommended an established Finnish business with similarly established Finnish prices. We decided to make the most of it and go full out. That night we enjoyed ourselves so much, we hardly wanted to catch our bus back to Turku anymore. After all, we spent more than 100€ on this trip (the bus tickets amounting to about 5% of that), but I do certainly not regret it. Our little odyssey around dark, freezing Lahti which was only salvaged by surprisingly good food, will always have a special place in my heart. But perhaps the next time we’ll be back in summer. Just in case.
Our final verdict: Lahti is best enjoyed in 1-2 days!
What about you? Have you got a story to share about Lahti? Is there something that absolutely shouldn’t be missed? Share your thoughts and pictures with us. Let’s stay in touch!