Lahti – a spectacular outdoor, sports and culture travel destination formed by the Ice Age

Lahti has quite a name among outdoor and sports enthusiasts and boasts one of the world's top-notch concert halls. The unique landscape shaped during the Ice Age gives the Lahti region its one-of-a-kind charm.

Best reasons to visit Lahti

Choose your sport and get moving – Lahti is an ideal year-round destination for sports lovers. Whether you're a fan of trail running, cycling, cross-country skiing, or open water swimming, the surrounding natural landscapes offer endless possibilities for outdoor activities. What's more, Lahti's Sports Centre, along with Olympic training facilities in Vierumäki and Pajulahti, offers over 400 different sports to participate in. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or just keen to try something new, you'll have access to the facilities, gear, and guidance you need to break a sweat. Whether you prefer the indoors or the great outdoors, Visit Lahti has you covered with tips for an active vacation.

Be part of the sporting excitement – Among Finns, the city is probably most famous for the iconic silhouette of the Lahti ski jump tower. It's a true city landmark and a testament to Lahti's deep connection to winter sports. Around February, Lahti hosts Finland's largest cross-country skiing event, the Finlandia Hiihto. Since the 1920s, Lahti has proudly been the host of the annual Lahti Ski Games, taking place around March. This event brings athletes together to compete for World Cup points in cross-country skiing and ski jumping. What keeps people coming back, year after year, is the incredible atmosphere at these sports events.

Credits : Julia Kivelä
Credits: Visit Lahti

Immerse yourself in culture – The Sibelius Hall has earned its place among the world's finest concert venues, as recognized by The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal. Crafted primarily from wood, this modern concert hall by a lake draws its design inspiration from the beauty of Finnish nature. With its unique setting and a rich calendar of musical events, it's bound to leave a lasting impression on you. Malva, the Lahti Museum of Visual Arts is a recent addition to the city’s culture scene. Besides the visual treasures on display, you can savour a delightful meal or coffee in a charming old redbrick brewery building – complete with a microbrewery. Both the Sibelius Hall and Malva are conveniently located within walking distance of the bus and railway stations. For more information on Lahti's museums and attractions, check out Visit Lahti's website.

Credits: Julia Kivelä

Explore the UNESCO Global Geopark of Salpausselkä – As the Ice Age neared its end, a massive three-kilometer-thick glacier started to melt. The surging water transported and organized vast amounts of sand and gravel towards the glacier's edge. As the glacier advanced and retreated, it moulded this sand into a colossal ridge formation. Today, Lahti is situated on this 500-kilometer-long ridge, known locally as Salpausselkä. In 2022, it earned the prestigious status of a UNESCO Global Geopark. This is precisely why the Lahti region is an exceptional outdoor and nature destination. The ridges and eskers are a haven for runners, cyclists, and hikers. Along Salpausselkä, you'll discover numerous lakes, breathtaking vistas, and woodland paths filled with geological wonders, including boulders, caves, and gorges. Salpausselkä stands as one of Finland's most widely recognized geological natural heritage sites.

Credits: Salpausselkä Geopark

Useful things to know about Lahti

Where is Lahti?

Lahti is in the southern part of Finland. It is situated about 100 kilometres to the north of the capital city, Helsinki. If you are heading to Jyväskylä, Kuopio or Mikkeli, Lahti makes a great stop-over on the way. It is a two-hour drive from Tampere.

How can I get to Lahti from Helsinki?

The quickest and most convenient way to travel from Helsinki to Lahti is by train. Finnish Railways (VR) operates frequent train services between the cities. The journey takes approximately an hour, and the trains are comfortable and well-connected. Advance booking is recommended. By car or by coach, Lahti is around a 1.5-hour drive on the E75 highway North of Helsinki.

For more information on how to get around Finland, please go to our travelling to and within Finland section.

What to do in Lahti?

If you are travelling with children in Lahti, take a cue from the locals and visit Laune Family Park – it is a playground that kids adore. It's spacious, and there is no admission fee. The Lahti Sports Centre is not just for professional winter sports athletes; it is one of the town's most popular attractions. For a unique perspective on ski jumping, hop on the chairlift to get to the top of the Lahti Ski Jump tower. You'll develop a whole new level of appreciation for the athletes who zoom down the hill while enjoying magnificent views. In the summer, the end of the landing area is transformed into an outdoor pool. The area offers restaurants and has access to nature trails. Just North of Lahti, you will find Päijänne National Park. It is one of Finland’s more than 40 national parks.

If you are interested in Finnish architecture, visit the Ristinkirkko church, designed by world-renowned Alvar Aalto. The Lahti city hall by Eliel Saarinen, completed in 1912, represents the Late Art Nouveau. Both are in the centre and can be combined with a walk to visit the Sibelius Hall.

Lahti and nearby municipalities of Asikkala, Hartola, Heinola, Iitti, Padasjoki and Sysmä have cute boutiques, artisan stores and antique and vintage shops. Get off the beaten path to explore the surrounding area.

How can I get around in Lahti?

From the Lahti railway station, you can reach central sites and attractions such as Malva (1,2km), the ski jump tower (2,2km) or the Sibelius Hall (2,3km) by foot. The city has a well-functioning public transit system, so one option is to hop on a local bus or take a taxi. Riding a bike is also an excellent option and is favoured by locals

What is Lahti most famous for?

Lahti is known for winter sports and year-round outdoor activities. Lahti is a pioneer in sustainability and has been – for example –  the first city in the world to introduce personal transport emissions trading for its residents. The surrounding nature formed by the Ice Age is an attraction in itself.

What is the population of Lahti?

There are around 120 000 inhabitants in Lahti.

Fun fact!

Lahti has repeatedly received recognition for its sustainability efforts. For example, it has been selected as the European Green Capital by the European Commission.

Must-see sights in Lahti

Here's a map of some of the most popular sights and locations to visit in Lahti.

Sustainable things to do in Lahti

Here are some highlights of sustainable things to do, see, and experience in this part of Finland.

Villa Vellamo, hotel room

Lehmonkärki Resort villas

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Credits: Julia Kivelä