3 Paddling Destinations in Finland

With almost 188,000 lakes, more than 30 important rivers with the length of over 100 km and the Baltic Sea, the water is omnipresent in Finland and in the Finnish lifestyle.

One of our favourite ways to explore the Finnish nature is from the water. The canoe and kayaking season starts from the first of May and ends in October in the South of Finland, where as in Lapland, the season usually kicks off in June and ends in September.

So, grab your paddle! We have listed here 3 paddling destinations in 3 regions to feed your adventurous minds.

Lake Saimaa: Paddling in the Heart of Finland


Situated in the largest Lake District in Europe, the Lake Saimaa is the perfect place to organize your paddling trip. Crossing through some of its 13,000 islands is an unforgettable experience. Landscapes vary from rocky to sandy beaches and from dark to crystal clear waters.

Due to the high number of islands, there are hardly any waves, which makes the destination suitable also for more inexperienced paddlers. Whether you are looking for a short guided excursion or a self-guided tour for several days, the Lake Saimaa is the place to go.

Linnansaari National Park in the heart of the Finnish Lake District is an ideal spot to see rare lake seals and ospreys. The park has a large amount of green islands and more rocky islets. The park proposes several paddling routes.

The area is great for day trips, but also for longer excursions. The Linnansaari National Park is around 40 km end to end, so you may discover it within 5-7 days.

The River Torne: Midnight Sun Kayaking in the Finnish-Swedish frontier


The Torne (Tornionjoki in Finnish), with the total length of over 530 km, is well-known among river rafting fans for its white water rapids.

However, you can also enjoy a slower ride on shallow beats of the river by canoes or kayaks on a guided trip. The river is located in Northern Sweden and Finland, and a half of its length contains the border between these two counties.

The summer period with its midnight sun is one of the most beautiful moments of the year to spend on the river.

Local safari providers are renting kayaks and canoes but also proposing guided kayaking trips for different levels.

Did you know? This large river has a long fishing history. In the Kukkolankoski village, you will surely see fishermen trying to catch whitefishes by using traditional nets in the rapids. Freshly caught and smoked fish is proposed at the local cafes.
A real delicacy!

River Torne is also one of the largest present spawning rivers of Atlantic salmon in the world. The river system is also the largest producer of wild salmon in the Baltic.

The Teno River : Feel the Arctic Spirit

Teno is the northernmost river in Finland. You can reach it by landing at the Ivalo airport located in Inari and driving a few hours to north. While driving, you can admire some of most arctic landscapes of Finland.
At destination, the Teno river will invite you for an unforgettable experience. To get most of your trip, you can explore the river during a 4-days kayaking trip from the village of Karigasniemi to the Arctic Sea. The tour is accessible to beginners as well as advanced paddlers.

Kayaking through some of the wildest Lappish landscape is especially beautiful during the midnight sun period as well as in September for beautiful autumn colours.

Don’t miss: On your way up north, we highly recommend you to stop by the Sami Cultural Centre Sajos and the Siida museum in Inari to learn more about the local history, culture and traditions of the Sami.
You can traverse the river Tenojoki at the Sami bridge in Utsjoki to pass to the Norwegian side. The region is also appreciated for trekking and offers amongst the best fishing waters in the north.

Useful links:

Activities sold in Gofinland.fi. Includes e.g. paddling trips just outside Helsinki! https://www.gofinland.fi/en/things-to-see-and-do
The Official Travel Guide of Lakeland Saimaa: http://www.visitsaimaa.fi/en/
National Parks’ site to plan your trip: http://www.nationalparks.fi/
Kayaking down the Teno river: http://www.almaarktika.fi/autumn-kayak-trip.html
Canoeing and river rafting on the Torne river: http://www.nordicsafaris.com/summer-autumn.html

Written by Bruce Deschamps
French Travel Blogger & Wilderness Guide in love with the great outdoors. The Finnish Lapland is my favorite playground!