| The majority of Finland’s
180,000 lakes are located between the coastal area and the eastern
frontier covering an area some 100km (60 miles) wide. The lakes
are a veritable maze with their profusion of beautiful bays, headlands
and islands and some out into broader stretches. The lakes are linked
to each other by rivers, straits and canals forming waterways which
in former times were a principal means of communication between
towns and settlements.
Nowadays, they are attractive routes for the visitor. As the lakes
are usually shallow and the surrounding land is not very high, the
water soon becomes nice and warm in the summer. Many summer festivals
of all kinds take place in the lakeland region, often in beautiful
The eastern region is an area of interconnected lakes and is dominated
by Lake Saimaa, a vast expanse of water. Dotted
over their surface are no fewer than 33,000 islands and the shoreline
is over 50,000km (80,000 miles) long. A network of waterways joins
the lively Savo towns, including Savonlinna
with its medieval Olavinlinna Castle, the best
preserved in Scandinavia. The Savonlinna Opera Festival
is held annually during July. In addition to operas performed to
international standards, there are a number of other concerts. Kuopio
is known for its food speciality kalakukko, a rye bread pie with
fish and pork filling.
Lahti and Hämeenlinna region.
This area comprises 2 major waterways, the oldest of which, the
Finnish Silverline, runs between Hämeenlinna,
the birthplace of Sibelius, and Tampere,
through fertile agricultural lands which are fairly populated. Lahti,
a winter sports centre, lies at the end of Lake Päijänne
where the land is higher and steep rocky cliffs rise to as much
as 200m (650ft). At the other end is Jyväskylä,
famous for its very modern architecture.