Autumn in Finland | Discover Jyvaskylä and Lahti in the Great Lakes region

Autumn in Finland | Discover Jyvaskylä and Lahti in the Great Lakes region

Why not spend a few days in Finland? I invite you to discover the Great Lakes region in autumn, from Jyvaskyla via Lahti.



Finland, nicknamed the country of 1000 lakes, boasts more than 188,000 lakes and nearly 180,000 islands, many of which are located precisely in the Great Lakes region, Europe’s largest lake system. In fact, over 90% of Finland’s surface is either woodland or water. Water of such purity and quality that it is recognized as one of the purest in the world. The Finns are proud to say that the water in most of Lapland’s lakes and rivers is perfectly safe to drink. Having tasted it on several occasions, I can confirm this.

Discover our other articles on Finland and Lapland:





Autumn and its flamboyant colors nicknamed “Ruska” by the locals is a natural phenomenon that dresses the country’s great forests and expanses in warm, soft tones. Finland remains a privileged destination for enjoying this landscape, and it’s a season I’m particularly fond of. It’s a colorful sight, this reddening of the leaves with shades of green, brown, blue, red and yellow that I came to admire for a few days in the Great Lakes region but beware, this phenomenon often only lasts two weeks so you have to be there at the right time. Temperatures are fairly mild at this time of year, around 10 degrees during the day, but drop quite quickly in the evening, often approaching 3 degrees. Even if the period varies from year to year, plan to come like us the end of September, the month most conducive to hiking throughout the North Finland but also to be sure of having a front-row seat to Mother Nature. And if you want even more color and emotion, then you have to climb further north towards the Laponia, the region of the country with the largest expanses of wilderness, and where the phenomenon is on the increase.

Here’s a little program that we hope will inspire you for an autumn getaway with friends, family or as a couple. It takes 6 days to visit the regions of Jyväskylä and Lahti. Did you know that Finland was elected “country where people are happiest“. If you come to the Great Lakes region, it’s also to understand what happiness is, to experience slow tourism, that is, to enjoy every moment and every activity without having to run around. That’s the Finnish spirit!



The Jyväskylä region invites you to discover a Finland that is both urban and lakeside. Jyväskylä is a city on a human scale, known as the capital of architecture. by Alvar Aalto, the capital of sport and as a student-heavy city. We suggest you try out the following experiments:


  • Sleeping by the lake

After arriving at Jyväskylä airport, head for the Varjola Resort. These little wooden chalet villas, as they’re called, are located by the lake and promise relaxation and cocooning. This is where we put down our suitcases for one night. The chalets we tested have private bathrooms, coffee makers and kettles, 2 single beds downstairs and a mezzanine upstairs. Some are equipped with a small kitchenette. Here, we sampled traditional Finnish cuisine that was quite good for both dinner and breakfast. Special mention for the outdoor Jacuzzi and the lakeside smoke sauna. Visit Varjola Resort organizes 35 summer and fall/winter activities, including rafting, quad biking, snowmobile safaris, dog sledding, berry and mushroom picking, bike rentals, canoeing, hiking…. Fishing is another popular activity for Finns. The Jyväskylä is also home to some very special spots that will please even the most demanding angler.

A little extra for the pretty ponton and the nearby rivers already put you in the Finnish and autumnal mood.


Finland | great lakes region | autumn


  • A home-away-from-home experience

If you want to see what a Finnish house looks like and understand this art of living so renowned in Finland then visit Noora from Your Local Host. This emotional young Finn will share her daily life as a mother and explain why Finns are so happy. Their way of life is simple and the welcome is warm. Noora and most Finns are very connected to nature, and she loves to show you her hiking spots and lakeside habits. She’s also a good cook, and she and her children will prepare a delicious local soup for you. We come to Noora to share an experience and exchange on our two cultures. You need to speak a minimum of English to make yourself understood. We really enjoyed meeting her and could have stayed a few more hours chatting over our coffee.


Finland | great lakes region | autumn | homestay


  • Ride a Fatbike around Jyväskylä and stroll through the city of lights by night.

As soon as you move away from the city center, you’re surrounded by lakes and mountains that are ideal for a wide range of activities. The varied, undulating terrain of the Jyväskylä region is ideal for hiking. From a very early age, Finns are in communion with nature and are great fans of sports in all weathers. Some are already training in September for winter competitions around the springboard set up by the lake, while others are walking. They are often seen Nordic walking or Finnish walking in the mountains. Nordic walking (invented by the Scandinavians in the 1970s) consists of walking at an accelerated pace using poles.

For our part, we tested the Electric Fatbike , a mountain bike with wider wheels, ideal for off-roading. The region boasts national parks, numerous signposted nature trails and roads, and hundreds of kilometers of bike paths. We did a short 4km loop on the heights. It’s quite invigorating and the paths are fairly easy.

Over 5,000 events are held in Jyväskylä every year. We were there at the end of September for the Fête des Lumières, a fun night-time event. The Finns are among the first Europeans to be very concerned about the environment. Nicknamed the City of Light because it uses very little energy both day and night, Jyväskylä celebrates the approach of autumn and winter with works of light created by leading artists. The city is transformed into a gallery full of surprises.


Finlande | automne | Jyväskylä


  • Enter the old church of Petäjävesi

You probably don’t know this place, but this church is a listed building. Unesco World Heritage. Built entirely of wood between 1763 and 1765, it is considered a masterpiece of wooden construction. The site is quite mystical in autumn, as the church is surrounded by tombstones. It’s like Salem, the town of witches, with all those flaming leaves on the ground. The interior is also made of wood, from the church pews to the hotel and the furnishings. It’s very cold inside, as heating is obviously forbidden. We wondered whether the place was inhabited by spirits, and apparently the devil himself lives here. His face is drawn on one of the church windows…. to be continued!


Finland | autumn | Petäjävesi church


  • Discover the daily life of an organic farm

The small organic farm of Hakamaan Lammastila in Metsäkulmantie is a real favorite in the Jyväskylä region. It’s a chance to experience real life on a farm, and to see the daily life of a Finnish family in love with their animals (ponies, cats and dogs). While involving us in the daily chores, Maija, the owner, explains why she’s come here, their new life in the countryside, in a place totally surrounded by forests. This farm runs sheep, but in a gentle and delicate way. Here, we don’t rush them, we pamper them. It’s the first time I’ve seen sheep approach us so easily and beg for cuddles. The family lives to the rhythm of the sheep, their desires and moods, shearing the wool to make clothes but not killing them. This difficult task is carried out by his neighbors. Maija will also be happy to serve you a local lunch in her pretty house dedicated to handicrafts. In short, it’s a lovely day to spend in their company. A little bonus: on the day we were there, we strolled through their immense forest and felt as if we were in the presence of someone, for it was truly deathly silent. After we left, Maija sent us a message to say that a bear had approached the house and that we’d just missed it! You’ll have to come back to see it!


Finland | Farm stay | Autumn


  • Sleeping in a cottage by the lake

The chalet is truly an institution in Finland. At least 1 in 2 Finns we met owns their own Mokki, meaning the colorful lakeside cottage or cabin. As soon as the vacations arrive, locals flock to the countryside to relax by the water in this ideal cocooning spot, warm and soothing. And how I understand them! These chalets are second homes nestled in the heart of nature, offering a physical and mental escape from the daily grind. Every day, we are subjected to such a degree of noise pollution that listening to silence becomes a real luxury. Hearing nothing but the sound of birds, water and the crackling of the wood fire, I was totally refreshed and my head cleared. Visit Great Lakes Finland is a true paradise for cottage holidaymakers.

Just a stone’s throw from the bustling city of Jyväskylä, known for its beautiful waters and clean nature, you’ll find a calm and relaxing nature. Who hasn’t dreamed of sleeping in a lakeside chalet? I invite you to join us for a night at the Toppala Cottages, a magical place to relax.

The chalet is made entirely of logs, and the interior sleeps 4 (2 single beds downstairs and 2 upstairs). There’s a small kitchen with table and chairs, a fireplace, a small lounge and a private wood-fired sauna. It’s just the place to live the Finnish way. In the evening, we dined locally, in front of an open fire in a Kota just a few minutes’ drive from the chalet. Visit Kota is also part of Finnish culture and can be found in many different forms: wood, teepees, skins… It’s an unusual and perfect experience, and a real favorite.

You can also try a different kind from Petäjävesi, the cottages Lemettillä Farm Countryside or Lemettillä Cottages located on a farm. Lemmettilä Cottages offer accommodation with private sauna, fully equipped kitchen and barbecue hut. Canoes can be borrowed free of charge.


Finland | Hotel | Great Lakes

Finland | Hotel | Great Lakes

Finland | Hotel | Great Lakes


Jyväskylä Practical Information 


We have tested Yöpuu boutique hotel a stone’s throw from the main streets. The town of Jyväskylä doesn’t hold much interest for me, so don’t linger too long around here. It’s just a stopover for a sleep or a coffee before setting off again.

Finland | Hotel | Great Lakes

We recommend the Yöpuu boutique hotel, the Pöllöwaari because it was so delicious. The cuisine is local and well prepared, with a multi-course menu accompanied by a variety of local wines.

We tested the pretty café Verso Bar & Kitchen 5 minutes walk from Yöpuu boutique hotel belonging to the same owner. This is the one that attracted us most, with its meticulous decor and cocooning feel. Alternatively, there is the Alvar coffee which didn’t look bad at all.


  • Thefts

Paris -> Jyväskylä €350 return with Finnair from 09/25 to 09/30

Helsinki -> Jyväskylä = about 1h flight

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  • Currency

Finland uses the euro, unlike its neighboring countries, which use the krona.


  • Time difference

-1h from Paris


  • Formalities

An identity card is all you need to enter the country.


  • Car rental

We rented a Skoda Octavia from Sixt for 3 days. We found it easier to get around and could stop wherever we liked. I love road trips and this total freedom, and even more so in Finland because there’s no one on the roads! A pick-up from Jyväskylä airport and a drop-off in the city center cost around €220. Then there’s the fuel. Find here your cheapest car rental


  • Train

From Helsinki, the train journey to Jyväskylä takes 3h 1/2

Find your cheapest train ticket to Helsinki !


  • Boat

Jyväskylä can be reached from Lahti by lake in summer, by taking a cruise between the two towns.




The town of Lahti, which means bay in Finnish, is just 100 km northeast of Helsinki. Lahti is located not far from Lake Päijänne, Finland’s second largest lake and a favorite with kayakers.


  • Boat trip and picnic in Päijänne National Park

It sounds cliché, but it’s so much fun! And it’s probably even better under the sun! We had a bit of rain and wind that day, but the boat trip on the lake is very pleasant. Water is a very important element for Finns. You only have to look at a map of Finland to realize that it’s a country where houses, millions of saunas and chalets are located in the immediate vicinity of water. I particularly enjoyed the Finnish picnic around the log fire, which reflected Finnish culture. You can do this outing with Lehmonkärki Resort where we stayed. This resort boasts a multitude of more or less modern lakeside chalets.



  • Discover another organic farm and bake your own gingerbread

We were to visit Kinnarin Tila, a farm where there was a friendly little café as well as a store selling local products, gifts and various exclusive home decoration items. But to my dismay, by the end of September, it was closed. We had planned to bake traditional gingerbread. So we went to visit the farm The Niipala Farm which has just opened. The couple are very charming, but they are not yet used to working in tourism and receiving guests. You have to give them a little time to get the hang of it. However, they have a very nice Lavvu, a wooden shelter not far from their home, where we drank tea in front of the wood fire.


  • Collecting superfood from the Finnish forest

I was not familiar with the term superfood but thanks to this outing organized by Best Lake Nature Adventures, I found that Finland has a varied terroir with foods rich in essential nutrients known as “superfoods”. It is even considered a world pioneer in the development of health-promoting foods.

– Mushrooms

Finland is a mushroom-picker’s paradise, with so much to choose from. Mushroom season runs roughly from early May to late November. Note that most of the most interesting mushrooms are picked at the very end of summer and in the first weeks of autumn, when the vast forests are full of edible wild mushrooms, including chanterelles, boletes and many, many varieties of tasty mushrooms whose names I don’t know. Finnish nature is very generous and offers many opportunities to find what you need to fill your little basket. What’s nice and easy is that many mushrooms grow wild and can be picked freely in the wild. There’s even an existing right called “right of everyone” where all walkers have free access to public natural spaces and can pick the products of the earth and forests they find on their way. As a result, the hike becomes a mini expedition. The smell of the moss and the picking brought back many family memories! At the end of the walk, we head for the cottage kitchen to cook up our finds! Delicious!

– Bays

The berries grown in Finland are concentrated in vitamins and sugars and are smaller than average. wild raspberries and blueberries These blue berries are reputed to be super foods, lingonberry which often accompanies reindeer dishes, and la cloudberry called the gold of Lapland’s forests.


Finland | autumn | great lakes region| mushrooms | berries

Finland | autumn | great lakes region| restaurant


  • Test the real Finnish sauna

I think I say this to everyone I meet in my life, but the day I own my own home, I’m going to build myself a sauna. Did you know that there are as many saunas as inhabitants in Finland? Since spending 5 months in Lapland, I’ve become addicted to the sauna and its virtues, and there’s nothing more typically Finnish than the sauna. sauna. Sweating away stress is just great, diving into the cold water in the nearby lake or plunging into the wet snow is just inexplicable, but the post-sauna sensation gives me a total sense of wellbeing that’s beyond compare. I often feel as if I’m soaring, having worked out for hours, and above all that my mind is free and my muscles relaxed. Having a sauna before bed helps me sleep better and decompress.

However, I had not yet tested the famous Sauna treatment. Only two people are authorized to do this in the whole country, and it was to our delight that I tested it with Maarria, the specialist in this Finnish ritual. Are you ready to discover the benefits of oak, maple and birch leaves for your body?


Finland | autumn | Finnish sauna


  • Visit a French boutique in the village of  Vääksy

This coffee shop is called French village shop is run by Stéphane, a Frenchman from Chamonix married to a Finnish woman; The place, which has become very popular over the years, is easily recognizable by its candy-pink façade. It’s the place to come for a cappuccino, some Finnish specialities and, of course, to buy French products, and soon you’ll be able to try Savoy dishes such as raclette and fondue.

If you would like to make a stopover and extend your stay in this village, it is possible to sleep in a chalet at Kopinkallio, by the lake; We recommend you try the Jalmar restaurant in the village of Vääksy.



  • Take a guided cultural tour of Lahti

Lahti is a good stopover when visiting the Great Lakes region. Major attractions are concentrated around the marina. It’s an ideal place to stroll, relax or try out one of the many cafés and restaurants in the area. If you’re a lover of architecture, opera and music, we invite you to visit the Sibelius, the concert and conference hall that is the pride of Finland. Its impressive interior architecture is all wood, and the venue is world-renowned for its symphony orchestra and unique acoustics.

Opposite the Sibelius is the attractive Propuu museum dedicated to wood. For design lovers looking for a local gift, this is the place to be.


On the hill overlooking Lake Vesijärvi, in Kariniemi Park, is a very pretty wood blazing in autumn It houses the Lanu Sculpture Park with 12 sculptures by sculptor Olavi Lanu. It’s quite original, the walk is very pleasant and admission to the park is free.

You can also visit the Lahti’s City Hall, a historic building restored in 1985 that has cultural significance.

Finland | autumn | grans lacs region| lanu sculpture park

Finland | autumn | grans lacs region| lanu sculpture park


Practical information Lahti


We stayed one night at the hotel Solo Sokos Hotel, very well located, right in the heart of the city. This modern hotel was awarded Best Hotel in Europe in 2017. The breakfast is copious and very good. Their sauna is rather large, as are their rooms.

  • We tested the brunch-dinner at the restaurant Roux that doesn’t look like much from the outside. It’s apparently the best restaurant in town and we’re not disappointed. Located in a former pharmacy, this upscale restaurant offers succulent and highly original Finnish-European cuisine, using local seasonal produce. Excellent wine list. Attention, we were there on a Sunday and few restaurants are open in Finland. You’ll need to eat early, at 6pm maximum.


  • For vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, we tested the restaurant Mea Manna, a restaurant like no other that employs disabled people and immigrants. It’s such a successful initiative that the owner has opened a second one. Here, everything is homemade and everything is good!


  • I was also told about Restaurant Olavi, a good little address in downtown Lahti, where the place is renowned for its quality cuisine, coffee roasted by a local roaster and its sharp selection of beers, ciders, whiskies and wines. Test also Taivaanranta Grill and Distillery and the Casseli restaurant.


  • The Kariranta tea room, where the railway station once stood. It is located on the marina facing Lake Vesijärvi and offers homemade pastries including cinnamon roll buns, Korvapuusti, highly regarded in Finland.

  • Café Sinuhe
  • CafeLintan Kammari

This is where we had lunch in this atypical setting, since the café Lintan Kammari is also a boutique café where you can buy decoration, handmade clothes, accessories, soaps. This pretty café, housed in a wooden house dating back over 100 years, offers delicious Finnish pastries.


  • Bus Jyvaskyla -Lahti: €11.40/p for 1h bus with Onnibus.
  • Train journey from Helsinki to Lahti takes an hour
  • It is possible to reach Jyväskylä from Lahti by lake in summer, by taking a cruise between the two towns.
  • Lahti train ticket -> Airport: €15 one way, 30-minute journey.


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  • Currency

Finland has the euro, while its neighbors have the krona.


  • Time difference

– 1 hour from France


  • Formalities

identity card is all you need to enter the country




Vous l’aurez compris, cette région est un véritable coup de cœur. Le meilleur moyen de réaliser une belle immersion en Finlande est de découvrir à l’automne, la région des Grands Lacs en ralentissant le rythme et en testant le trio gagnant que sont le chalet, le sauna et l’eau. Vous aurez un sentiment d’apaisement et de bien être. A cela vous rajoutez le feu de cheminée pour des soirées bien douillettes, des grosses chaussettes de laine, un bon livre entre les mains et une tasse de boisson chaude à côté. Vous ne voudrez plus quitter ce petit paradis.

 Venez découvrir nos autres articles sur la Finlande et la Laponie:





Cet article est notre ressenti, c’est le fruit d’une collaboration avec  VisitJyvaskyla et VisitLahti que je remercie pour leur invitation et cette découverte


N’oubliez pas d’épingler l’article sur Pinterest pour le retrouver plus facilement 🖤


Finlande | grands lacs | automne|conseils | voyages | guide | mademoiselle-voyage





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