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.