Lakes, Eskers… Finland’s Geography!

Finland has three main topographic or landscape regions.

The Uplands

The Uplands average about 1,500 feet (457 m) above sea level. They rise north of the Artic Circle in a region called Lapalnd. Here we find Finland’s highest peak ” Haltiatunturi ” reaching 4, 344 feet (1,324 m) near Norway. I read that the peak of this mountain is actually in Norway and a few years ago, there was a pertition going asking Noremay to give the peak to Finland. After much excitement, the proposal was turned down by Norway as it did not want to give away its land. This Upland region has Finland’s vast forests. It is home to the “Sami” native people.

View of Lake Inari from a nearby hilltop. Cr. Wiki Commons
Lapland Cr.

Lake Region

Finland’s unique landscape was sculpted by fire and ice. About forty million years ago, ancient volcanic islands began colliding and forming the bedrock beneath the country, which is one of the world’s oldest. (1) After the ice age the glaciers receded forming many lakes and ridges or rounded like paths called ‘eskers.’

I had never really heard of an esker before so I was utterly fascinated. This is what I learned:

When the glaciers melt the eskers are exposed as topographically positive features. Long, linear features, sometimes in a network. Image source:

I looked up to see what an esker looked like. It can vary whether it is in a forest, in an open area or dividing water areas. These are some photos of eskers in Finland. These are in the Punkharju lake area:


This is an esker in lake Saimaa:

They are located in the biggest lake are in Finland:

The largest esker is the “Salpausselkä Ridge” from the Hanko peninsula in southern Finland to the border with Russia. In someplaces this ridge can be 600 feet (183 m) high! They enjoy these eskers as paths in parks and even as ski jump platforms!

Smaller ski jumping hills of Salpausselkä skiing stadium in Lahti. Cr. Wiki Commons

This is a map:

Cr. Wikipedia

Now let’s talk about lakes because Finland is known with the nickname, land of the 50,000 lakes. But it should be land of 187,888 lakes! It is one of the countries with the most lakes per capita. Imagine that it has been estimated that Finland has a lake (water bodies larger than 500 sq. m or just a little larger than the size of a basketball court) for every 26 people! (2). Finland’s lakes and river take up about 10 percent of Finland’s total land surface. Marshes occupy about 17 percent. (1)

The biggest lake is called Saimaa. At approximately 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi), it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe. (3)

I love how much they enjoy the lake no matter what season!

Coastal Lowlands

This is where the most fertile farming land of Finland is located and where most people live. The coastal lowlands form a 20-60 mile wide (32-96 km) band along the south and western seashore. In the southeast there are low hills and valleys. The capital of Finland, Helsinki is in this area.

The coastal plain comprises a narrow tract in the south, sloping from Salpausselkä to the Gulf of Finland; the plains in the southwestern part of the country; and the broad western coastal lowlands of the region of Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia) facing the Gulf of Bothnia. The coastal region has the most extensive stretches of farmland; this region also is the site of the longest continuous settlement and has the largest number of urban centres. Associated with it are the offshore islands, which are most numerous in the Turun archipelago off Turku on the southwest coast. Farther to the north in the Gulf of Bothnia another group of islands lies off Vaasa (Vasa). (4)

Cr. Pintarest
Northern lights over West coast.
The Baltic Sea from Finland. Cr.


(1) Book: Finland in Pictures by Francesca Davis DiPiazza (2011)


(3) wikipedia

(4) Encyclopedia Britannica

(5) The website is filled with geographical information and gorgeous photos from all over Finland. Many of the photos in my post came from this site.

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