Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finland travel tips: Lahti

Stories / Cultural tourism / Finland

Lahti Sports Center“Lahti: the sport city”. This is the way I would like to name this “chapter of the journey” due to several reasons. The first and, perhaps, the main reason for that is its famous ski jumps as part of the sport center. We will take a closer look at it later on in this chapter. The second reason for such name is my perception of Lahti. When I was there, I felt as if the whole city was very active in different kinds of sport; people were running, jogging, skiing, skating, etc. It made quite a good impression of the place. Naturally, this “chapter” will not be able to cover everything in the city of Lahti; therefore, there will be something left out for the following “chapters”.

Where: Lahti, Finland 
What:Travel Smart” series

As most of the towns and cities of Finland, Lahti has two names, both in Finnish and Swedish. In Swedish it is “Lahtis”. It is not very different and not very difficult to remember and nice to know that.


Lahti City Hall
Lahti City Hall
Lahti City Hall

It is logical to speak about the ways to get to this city. Probably, the easiest and most enjoyable way is to take a train. Mainly people come from Helsinki, when traveling from the western or southern part of Finland, or when flying to the country via Helsinki Vantaa International Airport, or from Kouvola, when traveling from the northern or eastern part of Finland, or from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Trains go through Lahti and if you travel only between Lahti and Helsinki, you do not have to worry, because there are plenty of trains, including local ones, operating in that region. Another way is to take a bus, which is also quite a good option for travelers. Buses are very comfortable and their schedule is a little different from trains, so that you can choose the best option. As an alternative, you can rent a car and enjoy driving. In this case I would recommend some small towns as places to see. It is impossible to cover each and every small town in any country of the world; thus, it makes sense to pick the most interesting of the most beautiful ones to visit.


Near the city center
Near the city center

Café in the city center
Café in the city center

The city of Lahti is located in the southern part of Finland but if you go from Helsinki up to the north, it takes you about 40-50 minutes by train to get there. My first impression of the city was if I appeared in an American town, so similar it was in some of its look. It has its old and new parts, some parts of the city look typically Finnish in a way similar, but something is very different. Lahti has its beautiful lake, which is spread up to the north to the town of Jyväskylä. If you look at a map, you can see that there is a state road, or speedway coming down from the north of Finland through such cities and towns as Kuopio, Varkaus, Mikkeli, Savonlinna right to the city of Helsinki. The road from Joensuu, Imatra, Lappeenranta, Kouvola goes directly to this speedway and creates kind of an intersection, where one side goes to Lahti and further on to the city of Tampere. Basically, Lahti is a place that can be called the “crossroads” due to its location.


Lahti City center
City center


Let us start our “journey” from the railroad station. I would like to say a few things about it. In Lahti you might find it a little confusing to get to the required platform, because the numbers go in a different order than usual. Besides, you do not have a passenger platform right in front of the building as, for example, in Mikkeli. Here you need to take a tunnel under the railroad and get to the platform. But it is a minor thing. Another thing to point out is the city’s bus station. It is not in the same place as railroad station; it is located in another part of the city center of Lahti. Therefore, you need to walk about 15-25 minutes to get there. Just keep it in mind when you plan your trip. As for the look of both buildings, here I should say they do not seem too nice or attractive; though, the city of Lahti is very beautiful.


Bus station Lahti
Bus station

 Near bus station Lahti
 Near bus station

Once you walk to the city center, you can see a lot of cars, buses and bicycles rushing by while pedestrians enjoy walking on a sidewalk. You can see the city is alive; it has many different stores, supermarkets, cafés, restaurants, hotels, and other places. The city center comprises both old buildings, creating the atmosphere of an old town, and new buildings, making Lahti look modern.


Scandic Hotel Lahti
Scandic Hotel Lahti

If you begin your trip in Lahti from the railroad station and walk to the city center, on your right hand you will see Scandic Hotel Lahti. It has quite a suitable location and attractive design. Naturally, you will find a lot of hotels in the city of Lahti, for instance, Sokos Hotel Seurahuone, Cumulus Hotel Lahti, Omena Hotel Lahti, Kauppa Hotel Grand Lahti or some other options. As you see, there are no problems with accommodation due to the size of the city.


Church in Lahti
Church

View from the hill near the church in Lahti
View from the hill near the church

I had a chance to visit the northern part of Lahti somewhere near Alasenjärvi  (lake) and I felt the spirit of Finland, I mean true northern winter Finland, and a mix of the North American spirit. It was a good impression; it felt quite safe, quiet and white. I was there during a cold sunny day and had an opportunity to enjoy it all. Then I moved back to the city center and was just walking around it. I walked along Aleksanterinkatu, but then I turned to Vesijärvenkatu and then to Kirkkokatu. There I found a nice park on a hill, from which there was a magnificent view. The name of the street means “the church street”, so there is a church right on top of this hill, very unusual in design, but attractive. Just down the road there is a nice red brick building, which is a school, and after that you can see a bus station. It is on Lahdenkatu and Jalkarannantie, right behind the Lahti City Museum. You can see a lot of parks around this place; this is what I especially liked about Lahti… One of the parks is right behind the bus station; it is really close to the harbor. It is very beautiful in summertime.


School in Lahti
School

Lahti City Museum
Lahti City Museum

If you keep walking on Jalkarannantie and turn to Svinhufvudinkatu and then to Salpausselänkatu you can see Lahti Sport Center and Museum on your right side and famous Lahti Stadium on your left. I guess it is the only recognizable and famous symbol of Lahti, the Ski Jumps. It leaves a good impression due to the size of the Jumps and nice look on a sunny winter day.


Lahti Sports Center
Lahti Sports Center

Here I would like to conclude this “chapter of the journey”. I was trying to give you a little glance at Lahti with its beauty and charm, uniqueness and attractiveness, but the “journey” will continue in new destinations; therefore, get yourself in a good mood, Travel Smart and Carpe Diem!


Lahti Sports Center
Lahti Sports Center

Kirill “Traveler” Malyutin


About Travel Smart series:
“Travel Smart” is a section, narrating about different countries and good travel tips, advised by the author, Kirill Malyutin. The series contains recommendations, including selected places to visit, character accommodation, and reasonable shopping. Simply get inspiration!
All stories of the series →  

О серии «Travel Smart»:
«Travel Smart» – раздел, в котором автор Кирилл Малютин рассказывает о разных странах и дает необходимые в путешествии советы. Серия включает в себя рекомендации по посещенным автором местам, характерным средствам размещения, а также разумному шопингу. Вдохновитесь приключением! 
Все выпуски серии →


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