Drink and enjoy Lake Päijänne!
Päijänne is the second-largest lake in Finland and the most significant source of clean water. The Asikkalanselkä part of the lake provides drinking water for more than one million Finns. The islands of Päijänne National Park were formed by the Ice Age, and the services along the shore tempt you to stay for a longer period of time.
Päijänne National Park
In Päijänne National Park, esker islands, rugged cliffs and bird rocks create a unique landscape and nature. Located in the municipalities of Padasjoki, Asikkala and Sysmä, there are approximately fifty islands in the national park area. The most famous and the most popular destination is Kelvenne, which is an eight-kilometre long esker island with lagoon-like sandy beaches and self-service marinas. In the summer, cruises to Kelvenne are organised from Padasjoki marina. Boat taxis speed to the islands from Padasjoki and Lehmonkärki in Asikkala, among other places.
The national park is part of the Salpausselkä Geopark landscape formed by the Ice Age.
Sights in Päijänne National Park
Päijänne National Park | Lietsaari island
Lietsaari is a small island, located between Kelvenne esker island and Padasjoki harbour, on the southern Lake Päijänne. The eastern part of the island belongs to the Päijänne National Park, and is one of the most popular visiting places of the National Park. Like Kelvenne, Lietsaari is an esker island, formed at the end of the last ice age about 11,500 years ago. Lietsaari is one of the geosites of the Salpausselkä aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark.
Päijänne National Park | Päijätsalo Island
Located on the eastern side of Lake Päijänne, Päijätsalo is a rugged island with a rocky top that is a remnant of a folded mountain range that formed nearly two billion years ago. The bare, rocky top of the island reaches 85 metres above the surface of Lake Päijänne.
Päijänne National Park | Kelvenne Island canoeing route
Päijänne National Park and Pulkkilanharju Ridge, which cuts through Lake Päijänne, are real treasures for those who love canoeing trips. You can start your trip, for example, from the Mainiemi Canoeing Centre in Padasjoki, where you can rent a canoe and other necessary equipment.
Päijänne National Park
The pristine waters, esker islands, rugged cliffs and bird islets of Päijänne National Park form an entity that is unique in terms of landscape and nature. The national park includes approximately 50 unbuilt islands and rocky islets as well as parts of a few inhabited islands in the southern part of Finland’s second largest lake, Päijänne.
Set out on a boat – your own or a rental
The best way to experience Lake Päijänne is on the deck of a boat. There are marinas with services for boaters on both sides of the lake: at the southern tip in Vääksy, on the western shore in Padasjoki and on the eastern shore in Sysmä. There are several self-service marinas on the sandy beaches of Päijänne National Park.
If you don’t have a boat, you can book a boat taxi and easily cross over to Kelvenne esker island or to the sandbanks of Lietsaari island for a swim. You can rent SUP boards at Camping Sysmä, Ilola Inn and Padasjoki marina, among other places.
There are plenty of restaurants on the shores of Lake Päijänne that have space at the piers for guest boats. If you prefer, you can order take away dishes directly to your boat.
Treats, shopping and lovely destinations on the shores of Lake Päijänne
The village surrounding the Vääksy canal has plenty to offer for an entire day. Grab artisanal ice cream from Kanavan helmi and watch the boats travel through the locks. Pop to Päijänne House and then go do some serious shopping in the cute boutiques along Vääksyntie. When it’s time for lunch, check out what Wine&Cafe Jokiranta, Kanavan Kunkku and Majakkapaviljonki have to offer. Children will enjoy themselves on the Enskala nature trail, in the new adventure park and Norrlin park.
Two canals lead towards new waters
The Vääksy canal is the gateway to the southern Lake Päijänne to Lake Vesijärvi and to Lahti and Hollola. The canal is among the busiest in Finland, and you can also jump on a Lahti–Heinola–Lahti cruise ship from there. Before Heinola, the ship stops at the Kalkkinen canal that connects Lake Päijänne with Lake Ruotsalainen and the upstream of the Kymijoki river. In Kalkkinen village, you should pop by the Pihamaa winery and farm or the legendary Mani-Baari bar.
The eight-kilometre long Pulkkilanharju esker proudly cuts through Lake Päijänne. You will find the esker when you head along road 314, running between Asikkala and Sysmä. On the esker, we recommend stopping at the Reimari summer restaurant. There is also a nature trail that runs for approximately two kilometres on the esker that is suitable for the whole family. And one excellent location for the “most instagrammable” photos is the Karisalmi bridge.
Pinxinmäki and the new Ilola Inn in Suopelto, Sysmä
In the Suopelto district of Sysmä, two true gems are located almost next to each other: summer restaurant Pinxinmäki, which is known for its art exhibitions, and the luxury hotel and new lakeside restaurant Ilola Inn. Both are located within handy walking distance from New Port Sysmä if you are arriving by boat.
Sysmä Marina and the lovely cafés and shops in the town centre
Located by the Sysmä town centre, Sysmä Marina is a lovely summer restaurant, but also the home harbour of m/s Jenni-Maria III, from where you can go on a Päijänne cruise. A coffee break at Lintan Kammari or Rantalan tila is only a short walk from Sysmä Marina. Both are great for buying souvenirs: Lintan Kammari sells everything charming for your home and Rantala is perfect for delicacies.
Padasjoen Laivaranta marina
At the marina, you can enjoy the treats of the Kiuasniemi Marina summer restaurant and rent an SUP board or a boat taxi. From the marina, you can hop on a cruise in Päijänne National Park to Kelvenne island’s lagoon sandy beaches. From there, you can also climb the Kullasvuori observation tower, from where you can snap stunning shots of your holiday.