Finland is a fusion of wild beauty and contemporary design. The beguiling mix of magical winters and intoxicating summers make this Nordic country dreamy and irresistible. Finland sure is one epic country. So what about stand-up paddle boarding in Finland?
Towering forests speckled with picture-perfect lakes dominate the Finnish landscape. Across the great National Parks network, there are epic hiking, kayaking, and paddle boarding opportunities to be had.
The expanses of pristine wilderness are paired with electrifying urban spaces, all with opportunities to dip your paddle in the water! You can choose to stay near the fringes of Helsinki or venture out for a brave adventure for a SUP camping experience. Here are some of the most dreamy places to paddle board in Finland to help inspire you.
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Helsinki is at the heart and center of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, there is plenty of water to explore in the area. So if you are looking for an adventure with easy access to Finland’s capital, then look no further than here for inspiration!
Nuuksio National Park is a 40-minute drive out of Helsinki. It is a hub of outdoor activity! The deep forest and breathtaking lake offer hiking, cycling, canoeing, and paddle boarding. There are several guided tours available to join from the Nuuksio National Park’s Hawk Nest adventure center, open between May and September.
Hawk Lake is perfect for beginner paddle boarders or anyone wanting a gentle cruisey paddle. The calm waters are surrounded by the iconic Finnish wilderness, offering a clear win-win for the mind, body, and soul! SUP boards are available to rent here if you have not got your own gear with you.
Loppi is a rural escape just over an hour’s drive from Helsinki. If you want a taste of Finnish undisturbed nature within easy reach, this peaceful region could be just for you.
There are around 300 lakes and ponds to explore, many of which are popular within the scuba diving community. This is a testament to how clear the waters are! Grab a paddle board and immerse yourself in the silence of beautiful nature here. As you paddle over the crystal clear waters you are bound to fall in love with the country.
Some of the larger lakes to head to include:
Relax and recharge at the Katve Nature Retreat. This tranquil lake is surrounded by lush forests and is within a 40-minute drive from Helsinki. The log cabins are beautifully put-together and are the most perfect place to unwind for a break from nature.
During the summer months, this spot is ideal for long forest walks and meditation, wild berries and mushroom foraging, paddleboarding and rowing, or yoga and trail running in paradise. Seriously, this place is an outdoor lover’s heaven.
Töölönlahti Bay is the perfect place to explore Helsinki from the water. Located in the heart of the city, this bay area is great for gentle paddling, SUP yoga group sessions, and soaking up all the good vibes. Töölönlahti Bay is the best place for beginners to get a taste of paddle boarding.
Hakuna Matata is a SUP board rental place situated right on the water's edge. They offer competitive prices on good equipment and can offer special events for groups.
Oulu is best known for its fresh salmon and industry workforce on the west coast of Finland. It is also home to a vast array of summer festivals, with one of the most famous held in August, the Air Guitar World Championships. But what about paddle boarding?
From Linnansaari, you can access the super calm river mouth that is perfect for learning how to paddle board. As you progress your skills, you can venture further out, around the several islands in the area. For a sandy beach escape, check out Nallikari Uimaranta.
With beautiful walking trails and diamonte-glistening waters, it is safe to say that Lake Pyhäselkä in Joensuu is truly a dreamy location. The best place to launch your SUP is around the Koivuniemen Koirapuisto dog park. From here you can drop into the Pielisjoki River that feeds directly into the lake.
Due to the size of the body of water, wetsuits are recommended all year round (especially for beginner paddle boarders). The water is still chilly even in the height of summer!
Tampere is surrounded by water. This town sits between Näsijärvi Lake and Pyhäjärvi Lake, with the Tammerkoski rapids in between, both of which are great for SUP adventures for all abilities.
While you are here you must include a visit to Särkänniemi amusement park (for some extra fun) and the Kaleva Church. This church has striking concrete architecture, designed to look like a fish from above.
Paddle boarding in the Raahe Archipelago is an absolute must when visiting Finland. Just south of Oulu on the western coastline, this area is breathtaking and mesmerizing in both the winter and summer months.
There are countless launch sites across this string of islands, inviting you to dip your paddle into the gorgeous waters. Experienced paddlers can test themselves by making the journey to the outer islands and perhaps venture around the Tasku Beacon Tower.
Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake and a popular vacation destination for Finnish. It is about 1,700 square miles. That is a whole lot of water to get exploring by paddle board! Lake Saimaa is super popular for water sports and outdoor lovers. While you are navigating the nooks and crannies, and around the small islands dotted throughout the lake, keep your eyes peeled for seals – this lake is home to an endangered species.
There are a number of tour operators providing guided tours and SUP lessons on Lake Saimaa. So whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler with your own kit, you can have an epic time out on this water.
Perhaps you are an experienced paddleboarder and are on the search for somewhere wild to explore. Here are two destinations to add to your hit list. Make note, that they are not for the faint-hearted and require plenty of pre-trip planning and coordination!
The Ounasjoki River flows through the heart of Rovaniemi – the capital of Lapland. This northern outpost is officially known as the home of Santa Claus and is an incredible place to watch the Northern Lights (aurora). From here, there is also an epic stand-up paddle boarding opportunity.
Head out in the summer months for a paddle of a lifetime under the Arctic Circle’s midnight sun. Around the summer solstice, the sun does not dip beneath the horizon line but just moves from left to right. Taking a SUP out on the water under this beautiful light is an incredible experience worthy of being at the top of your bucket list!
Due to the low water temperatures and remoteness of the river, we would suggest this paddle board location in Finland requires a certain amount of skill.
Are you looking for the most extreme place to paddleboard in Finland? The Kaldoaivi Wilderness Park could just be your golden ticket. It is remote, it is wild, and it is expansive. There are hundreds of lakes dotted throughout this wilderness area, home to a variety of fish, birds, and game species.
This destination is reserved for the bravest and more experienced paddle boarders amongst us. You can double up your trip to include wild camping and fishing, to make it something truly special! If you plan on doing this, be sure to check all the regulations for the Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area before your trip.
Still, need convincing when it comes to paddle boarding in Finland? Here are 10 reasons why Finland should be top of your SUP adventures list!
Finland’s Everyman’s Rights is comparable to Scotland’s Right to Roam Act – ideal when it comes to paddle boarding in Scotland!
The Finnish Environmental Administration define ‘everyman's rights as “the right of everyone in Finland to enjoy outdoor pursuits regardless of who owns or occupies an area. You do not need the landowner's permission, and there is no charge. However, you must not damage the environment or disturb others while exercising public access rights.”
This opens up the landscape of Finland to SUP. However, always be sure to check with a local guide or fellow Finnish paddle boarder if in doubt.
As you probably already know, Finland gets cold. The winter months cast a snow blanket over the landscape and many of the lakes freeze over entirely. This does not put a stop to Finnish outdoor activities though! The play continues with skiing, ice-hole fishing, and dog sledging.
So of course, this limits the options for taking out a SUP board significantly. Even parts of the Baltic Sea that surrounds the Finnish coast will begin to ice over.
Therefore, we do recommend planning most stand-up paddling trips for the summer months. You will be blessed with endless daylight hours, crisp air, and beautiful waterways and rivers that have spent the winter freezing.
Depending on which spot you choose, you may also have to consider tides and wind to avoid strong currents. Typically, early mornings offer the best conditions for paddle boarding.
There are several fantastic outdoor activities tour operators in Finland that offer SUP sessions between May and September. Here are some recommendations for small groups, private tours, and quality rental equipment.
Töölönlahti Bay in the heart of Helsinki is the best place for beginners to dip their toes in the water and try stand-up paddle boarding. The water is calm and clear, providing suitable conditions for learning the basic techniques whilst keeping it fun. It is also easy to access and located in the center of the city.
Paddling Finland in the winter is possible, however not recommended for everybody. Many of the lakes and waterways freeze over as the landscape is blanketed in deep snow. Some destinations remain fluid enough for paddling though. If you are a brave and adventurous soul, looking for a solitary and raw wintry adventure, you can look into paddle boarding Finland in Winter.
Finland has a diverse ecosystem of creatures that have adapted to live in the bold conditions of the north. While paddle boarding, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for marine life and birds, including ringed seals, cranes, sterns, and even the golden eagle. You should also keep a lookout on the horizon between the trees for brown bears, lynx, and moose. Just imagine what your SUP adventure in Finland might look like with this wildlife joining in for the fun!
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