Bikepacking tip | Classic route around Lake VesijärviAddress: Rantatie 917, 16710 Hollola Show map
Address: Rantatie 917, 16710 Hollola
Biking around Lake Vesijärvi is one of the classics that active cycling enthusiasts do several times each summer. You can alternate between riding the route clockwise or counterclockwise. The 80 km route is the shortest and can be completed in one day, even without much previous experience.
Lahti—Messilä—Hollola village—Uskila—Lahdenpohja—Laitiala—Viitaila—Kurhila—Hillilä—Vääksy—Vesivehmaa—Paimela—Lahti, 80 km.
You should head out early in the morning and have enough rest and food breaks. When riding clockwise, the route takes you through Jalkaranta and towards Hollola. The route is uphill until the border of the City of Lahti, but the actual Messilä hill, famous for its ski jumping tower, is downhill on the route and ends by the shore of Lake Vesijärvi. The marina offers the services of Camping Messilä, such as a restaurant.
The pedestrian and bike path ends after Messilä, but you will see many cyclists on Rantatie heading towards Hollola. Riding your bike through the rolling lakeside scenery is easy, at least with the wind behind you. There are spectacular opportunities for spotting birds in the fields of Pyhäniemi close to Lake Kutajärvi. In the autumn and spring, migratory cranes can often be seen.
There are many reasons for a break in Hollola: a wonderful beach, medieval stone church and old cemetery, unspoiled village landscape, museum and exhibitions, restaurants and the legendary kiosk. The Kapatuosia hill fort and its views take you back all the way to prehistoric times. Starting right behind the church, the ridge with its steep cliffs was created by the melting stream water from the continental glacier approximately 12,000 years ago. Archeological digs have found the remains of wooden strongholds, among other finds.
Taking a break to rest and recharge with something to eat in Hollola is also a good idea as the steepest climbs uphill along the route start from the former Uskila school, with the steepest of them right next to the school. The road is in good condition after the repairs made for the Ironman 70.3 competition held on this route.
Views of the lake
The journey continues towards Laitiala along Isomyllyntie to Manskiventie, and from there to Lahdenpohja, where you can see Lake Vesijärvi again from the road. However, the majority of the western side route runs through forest, field and village landscapes. The asphalt on the hilly road, with its many twists and turns, is fairly worn in parts, but traffic is mainly safe.
The café in Kurhila village in Asikkala is only open for advance orders, but you should still stop for a moment and enjoy the lovely village scenery. The area between the villages of Kurhila and Pulkkila is part of an area of nationally valuable landscapes.
The journey towards Vääksy continues on Hilliläntie, which merges with Jyväskyläntie.
Canal and coffee in Vääksy
The first couple of kilometres south on Jyväskyläntie are the most unpleasant part of the route because you have to ride your bike on the hard shoulder in busy traffic. Once the pedestrian and bike path begins, it continues through Vääksy. Vääksy is a great place for a stop and a stroll because the busiest population centre in Asikkala has a beautiful canal area and, in addition to that, plenty of culture and cosy cafés.
When heading south from Vääksy, we recommend turning left along Anianpellontie towards Vesivehmas, where you can bike along pedestrian and bike paths instead of riding along the busy Lahdentie. On the western side of Lahdentie-Vesikansantie, cyclists continue on the varied and idyllic Paimelantie, where you can often catch glimpses of Lake Vesijärvi. A pedestrian and bike path starts again close to Kalliola and continues along Vesikansantie all the way to Lahti. In Kukkila, you can pop in the shop and maybe go for a refreshing swim at the nearby Merrasjärvi beach.
When heading to Hollola, add Hollola church to your navigator and, when heading to Old Vääksy, add Vesijärventie 1 from where it’s easy to continue to the canal.