Paddling on Lake Saimaa
Canoeing and kayaking in Finland is truly the way to experience the beauty of nature. Everything else is stripped away; there is only you and the world around you. There’s no city noise; there’s only the small waves lapping against your boat. There’s no motor working for you; you’ll feel the water with every stroke. There’s no walls or windows; only the breeze in your hair and the smell of the water. In your canoe, or kayak, you rise and fall with every wave and feel at one with nature.
In your small craft, you are not raised above the water – neither literally nor metaphorically.
Paddling a kayak or a canoe is physical and this, combined with the fresh air, makes it a really healthy activity for both body and mind. With the lakes spread out before you, hemmed by lush woodland, the choice is yours as to where to go, what to do, what pace you want to set. You can experience true freedom.
Canoeing and kayaking are very similar activities. The main differences are the sitting position, the paddle and the shape of the craft. Canoes are typically paddled either kneeling or from a seat with a single-bladed paddle and are often open-decked. Kayak’s decks are closed, encapsulating the paddler who sits, feet-forward low in the kayak typically using a double-paddle. Neither use paddles fixed to the craft like oars though.
Generally kayaks are slightly more agile whereas canoes are roomier and sometimes more stable.
Taking a kayak or canoe out paddling is increasingly popular in Saimaa and the rest of Finland so you’ll have plenty of chance and plenty of choice!
Kayaks and canoes offer both experienced and novice paddlers alike the perfect way to experience the nature of Saimaa. That said, getting a few starting tips from a guide can greatly improve your technique and save you getting overly wet and tired!
Guides know the area with its many inlets and islands and will be available to offer tours to help you get the best out of your canoe trip and, of course, to help you improve your paddling. While canoeing isn’t rocket science, the hundreds of islands and bays can quickly become a labyrinth requiring good navigation skills or GPS support.
Kayaking in Finland, particularly around Saimaa with its endless lake system, offers opportunities for hours, days or even weeks of paddling. The quietness of the canoe and the openness of the lakes also make this one of the best ways to see wildlife; to observe without being observed. Some areas, for example in the national parks, are closed to motorised boats making it a paddler’s dream.
The lakes, rivers and forests await you, along with deserted islands, starry skies and the crackle of the campfire. What better way to experience the tranquility of nature than with a canoe?