Lake Pielinen's largest island, Paalasmaa, is the highest in Finland at 225m above sea level. The best view is from the 18m-high wooden observation tower, 3km along a marked trail from the Paalasmaan Lomamajat campground. From the mainland, first take the free summer chain-ferry, followed by bridges across four smaller islands to reach Paalasmaa. The mainland's ferry terminal is 6km east of the Nurmes–Koli road (Nurmeksentie; Rd 6); the turn-off is 3.5km north of Juuka.

In winter, an ice road runs via the island en route between Koli and Vuonislahti.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Karelia attractions

1. Bomba Village

18.08 MILES

The centrepiece of this recreated Karelian 'village' encompassing the Sokos Hotel Bomba is the imposing Bomba Talo, with its high roof and ornate wooden…

2. Luontokeskus Ukko

18.28 MILES

By the upper car park of the Sokos Hotel Koli's, this modern nature centre has exhibitions on the history, flora, fauna and geology of the park, and…

3. Pielisen Museo Indoor Museum

18.43 MILES

The separate indoor museum of Pielisen Museo has photographs and exhibits covering Karelian folk history, which makes for an interesting look during the…

4. Pielisen Museo

18.43 MILES

More than 70 Karelian buildings and open-air exhibits at this outdoor museum are organised by century or trade (such as farming, milling and fire-fighting…

5. Paateri

21.19 MILES

Between Vuonislahti and Vuonisjärvi, Paateri was the home and workshop of Eva Ryynänen (1915–2001), Finland’s most respected wood sculptor – as…