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Up until this year, I had never even heard about Lahti. Turns out, however, that I've been really missing out. The city of Lahti in Southern Finland is a culinary hotspot with plenty of options to sleep somewhere with a view. The city seems to truly come alive in the summer but there also is a ton of things to do if you're planning on visiting in winter - that is beside watching ski tournaments and stuffing your face with Finnish cuisine (as you definitely want to do if you've read my last post).
Here are, thus, 12 things to see and do in the Lahti Region in winter!*
1. Snowshoe Hiking
Naturally, if you're visiting Finland in winter, you want to make sure to make the most of the winter wonderland that awaits you.
Lucky for you, winter temperatures in Lahti (with an average of -7 degrees Celsius) aren't quite as bad as in, for instance, Lapland (with an average of -12 degrees Celsius) - and if you make sure to visit between January and March, there should also be enough snow around to go on a few adventures!
A snowshoe hike in the woods is such an adventure, that I've been lucky enough to experience at the Lehmonkärki Resort. We made our way to the forest and continued on a hiking trail to the Lehmonkärki Hunting Lodge where we've been greeted with freshly grilled salmon from an open fire and an entire buffet full of Finnish delicacies.
If you're planning to try at least one Finnish winter sport during your trip, that isn't too difficult either, snowshoe hiking should be it!
If you're more of an adventurous type, you're going to love snowmobiling! There's nothing that compares to the feeling of racing through snow-covered woods on a snowmobile - and even down a ski slope!
We had the pleasure to go snowmobiling at Messilä Ski Resort and while I initially thought that our session would just be some low-key snowmobiling on a frozen lake, our hosts really gave us the full-on experience and we spent over an hour racing across snowy acres, through the woods and down a ski slope that looked way too steep to be driven down on...
Needless to say that it was way less scary than it looked and heaps of fun! You can go on your own snowmobiling adventure in Lahti with, for instance, Jump Up.
3. Visiting the Ski Museum
Lahti is a centre for winter sports in Southern Finland and it's no surprise that the city has its own Ski Museum. Situated at Lahti Sports Centre, the museum won't only tell you all about the history of skiing in the Lahti Region, but there even is a 3D ski jumping simulator for you to try!
If you're anything like me and ski jumping totally fascinates you but you would never have the courage (or let's be honest, the physical skills that are required) to actually try it in real life, the simulator gives you as authentic an experience as it gets. And as if that weren't enough, you can even try biathlon at the museum's shooting range which I'd personally love to give a try!
The Ski Museum is situated at Salpausselänkatu 8 - only a short walk from the city centre. It's open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm. Ticket prices are 10€ for adults and 7€ for students.
4. Admiring Lahti from above
Right next to the Ski Museum, you can also find the ski jump of Lahti, which is free to visit during the summer but also opens on request in winter. You can get to the top of the tower by means of an elevator. Up there, you have a fantastic view all over Lahti and the surrounding Lakeland.
I'll have to come back in summer just to see how the view compares then!
5. Cuddling huskies and reindeer
While it previously has been possible to go dog-sledging in Lahti in winter, the city's only provider of dog-sledging tours (Koira Kikka) had to move its dogs to Lapland for lack of proper winter weather in Southern Finland. The winters here have been unusually warm in recent years so they, unfortunately, can't offer dog-sledging anymore.
However, Koira Kikka farm is still open and can be visited to see (and potentially cuddle with?) reindeer and older huskies.
Fish is an essential part of Finnish cuisine and I'm pretty sure that I ate more salmon during my 10 days in Finland than I would otherwise eat in an entire year. The Lakeland of Lahti is full of fish - specifically trout, pike perch, vendace and, of course, salmon.
You don't have to wait for the summer if you'd like to try your hands at fishing, though. As soon as the lakes are thoroughly frozen, you can go ice-fishing! Just make sure to bring warm clothes and lots of patience!
Like Norwegians, Finns love their cross-country skiing in winter and the city of Lahti has lots of trails where you can give it a go! Some of these trails even run as far as to Messilä Ski Resort where you can also try your hands at downhill skiing and snowboarding.
And if you'd rather just watch how the professionals do it - no problem! The city of Lahti hosts dozens of ski events each winter for you to enjoy as a visitor!
Have you ever heard of snow-kiting? Apparently, it's like kite-surfing, just without the surfboard, the ocean or the summer temperatures... No, essentially, snow-kiting is snowboarding/skiing with a kite. With a little bit of luck (and a few techniques you'll learn in the course), you'll be able to glide over the frozen landscapes of Lahti's Lakeland in no time!
You might have already heard about ice-swimming and before you think that the Finns must be completely nuts, let it be said that ice-swimming is actually really good for your health! Some locals in Lahti do it every morning - without even so much as a hot shower or some time in the sauna!
Personally, it seemed a bit too chilly for me but the surroundings at Lake Mytäjäinen were absolutely gorgeous. Even if you don't plan on going ice-swimming, an early morning walk at the lake, however, should totally be on your itinerary.
10. Getting your sweat on
You don't have to be quite as hardcore as the locals and go ice-swimming though. Visiting the sauna and getting a bit of a sweat on is an essential part of Finnish culture as well. Lucky for you, there is a bunch of accommodation that comes with a sauna or hottub!
11. Discovering Street Art
Yes, street art can't just be found in Helsinki but also in Lahti! The UPEA project started in 2016 and artists from all over the world traveled around Finland then to create beautiful and colourful murals, like this one!
Maybe you'll discover it on a walk around Lahti?
12. Visiting the Art Museum
As you can see, Lahti isn't just about winter sports (or food), but there also is a creative arts scene to be found.
At Lahti Art Museum, you can admire modern art and graphic design in ever-changing temporary exhibitions, making it a perfect place to spend a gloomy winter day in the warmth!
The Art Museum is situated at Vesijärvenkatu 11 A. Like the Ski Museum, it's open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm. Ticket prices are 10€ for adults and 7€ for students
CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF FINNISH NATURE, CULTURE & CUISINE? WATCH MY VIDEO FROM LAHTI FOR MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF!
When visiting Lahti in winter, what would you most like to do?
Tell me in a comment below!