The wonder of nature across all seasons in Kuopio
Wellbeing, enjoyment and vitality
Kuopio, the Capital of Lakeland, is located at the heart of the most beautiful Finnish lake scenery Finland has to offer. Kuopio’s residents love that nature surrounds the city and particularly Lake Kallavesi. This environment promotes a way of life focused on wellbeing, enjoyment and vitality across all seasons.
The untouched nature of the north, including ancient forests and lakes inform the unique and special character of the Kuopio region.
Swimmers can jump into the refreshing and clean water of Lake Kallavesi in the summer. You can also ride the waves with a canoe or a SUP board, or hop on a water jet or a motor boat. Traditional inland waterway ships transport passengers to the Saana travel centre and the Alahovi vineyard. The Tahko tourism area is also accessible through the channels and locks in the waterways.
In the autumn, leaves that have turned yellow adorn the forests by Lake Kallavesi, and a northern wind casts waves on the lake, serving as a reminder of the approaching winter. This will not stop the ceaseless fishermen from using their nets to catch fish from Kallavesi – particularly vendace, a delicacy served in Kuopio’s restaurants.
“Kuopio makes it extremely
easy for people to visit nature.”
As winter comes along, the lake surface freezes over offering new activities including iceskating, skiing, riding snowmobiles on the lake and paragliding. Every year an ice track is created for the Kuopio Ice Marathon which is also enjoyed by all who wish to glide on a 12.5-kilometre course of crystal-clear ice.
In the spring, the sun attracts ice fishers who hunch over a hole carved in the ice waiting tirelessly for a catch. The springtime sun also spurs boaters into action, ready to prepare their boats for the summer.
Kuopio is a city surrounded by nature offering clean air, water in every direction as well as many events and activities year round.
Experiences and activities
Seppo Jauhiainen, a forester at the city of Kuopio, believes that genuinely having four seasons is the area’s greatest strength.
– We also have a genuine winter here. Many foreigners gasp when they see the Finland Ice Marathon ice skating track in Kuopio. While Finnish people are used to spending time on the ice, it is something new and amazing for many foreigners.
With different seasons come different outdoor activities and ways to enjoy the beautiful nature in the area for both locals and tourists. Kuopio offers a great variety of hiking and outdoor trails, and has also invested in resting areas.
There are many campfire sites, lean-tos and fishing huts in the forests and shores of Kallavesi, enabling visitors to build a fire and cook food. The shores also have many beaching sites for paddlers and boaters.
– Those into high-energy activities will also enjoy our snowmobile routes, Jauhiainen tips.
Ski Resorts Tahko and Kasurila
It takes less than one hour from the centre of Kuopio to reach Tahko, a leisure time resort for golf, horse riding and mountain biking in the summer, and amazing downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter.
– We are known for beautiful snowy winters offering many different experiences to our visitors and locals alike. What an amazing experience it is to see the sun rise from the top of the slope when you are about to take the morning’s first ride down the hill, describes Lauri Suutarinen, the managing director of Huippupaikat Oy, which runs the Tahko ski resort.
In the summer, the slopes are used for downhill mountain biking, while visitors can also reach an observation tower by climbing the stairs leading up the top of the Tahko hill and enjoy the delicacies at panoramic restaurants.
In Tahko, local visitors get to enjoy a trendy staycation at its best. Kasurila, another downhill ski resort in the Kuopio region, is a neighbourhood centre easily reached by a local bus. Suutarinen says that Kasurila has been named the local centre of the year.
– In Kasurila, visitors get a taste of the local culture and community. It is a joy to see how this small downhill skiing centre has emerged as a living room for the locals.
Reaching nature with ease
Kuopio makes it extremely easy for people to visit nature. The city is located in the midst of nature, surrounded by Lake Kallavesi. The city plan also pays attention to ensuring easy accessibility to nature, and recreation offered to the residents also involves nature.
– I am sure the most exotic thing in Kuopio for a foreigner is our nature itself and the effortless way to access it, Jauhiainen estimates.
According to Jauhiainen, the distance from homes to Lake Kallavesi is less than half a kilometre in the Saaristokaupunki neighbourhood, and nature paths and non-motorised traffic routes start nearly at the residents’ front door. Public transport from different areas of Kuopio also transports people close to natural sites. Many choose to live in a sparsely populated area with easy access to berry and mushroom picking sites as well as excellent conditions for hunting, fishing and camping.
By 2030, Kuopio’s vision is to be not only the capital of Lakeland Finland, but also the capital for a good life. Good life manifests as health, vitality of the region, and richness of everyday life.
– The vision of becoming the capital for a good life is a great reason for further utilising and improving the opportunities for physical activity in nature for Kuopio’s residents and making full use of the health impacts of nature, Jauhiainen plans.
“Kuopio offers the most
astonishing nature and cleanest air!”
Unique Puijo and everyman’s rights
At the centre of Kuopio soars Puijo, an ancient granite hill and the world’s northernmost nemoral forest zone. Puijo is also Finland’s oldest private nature reserve. There is also another wonderful nature reserve close to Kuopio’s centre, the Kolmisoppi-Neulamäki. The area’s size is around 230 hectares and Puijo’s area size is slightly over 200 hectares.
The cross-country skiing season already begins at the Puijo sport and recreation venue in November. In Puijo, skiers can also practise on a 2.5-kilometre track named after skier Iivo Niskanen, Olympic champion on the men’s 50 kilometre classical, and they might even run into the master himself there.
– Puijo has seen incredible successes in sports. Thanks to Puijo’s ski jumping hills and crosscountry skiing tracks, athletes from Kuopio have won a huge number of world championship and Olympic medals, says Pekka Niemelä, the managing director of Puijo Peak Oy.
Above the sports venue, in the middle of ancient pines, is the Puijo Tower Restaurant whose windows display a breath-taking view of the lake scenery.
– Kuopio offers the most astonishing nature and cleanest air! The city has the cleanest urban air in Finland and sixth cleanest urban air in Europe, Niemelä rejoices.
Thanks to the cleanliness of the nature surrounding Kuopio, people can harvest berries and mushrooms to eat every autumn. Finland and the Nordic countries have particularly extensive everyman’s rights. Under these rights, anyone can spend time in nature regardless of who owns the area.
Everyman’s rights enable nearly free movement, berry and mushroom picking, boating, swimming and moving on natural ice. However, these activities must not cause any harm to nature.
– Many foreigners are wondering how people can simply go into a forest here and eat berries when they are in season. Kuopio’s residents are familiar with spending time in nature, and outdoor and camping associations are very active in Kuopio, says Seppo Jauhiainen.
The closeness to wilderness and clean nature are what makes Kuopio a nice place to live and do things in. Indeed, Jauhiainen noted that perhaps Kuopio got a little more than many other places when the world was created.