Lahti is a traditional industrial city. However, the city has suffered heavily during the economic downturns, especially in the early 90's, earning a somewhat gritty reputation. Unemployment and alienation are still commonplace in suburbs of Lahti. Things are however now looking brighter again with a new direct railroad to Helsinki and city centre being revamped.
Lahti has a population of 100,000 making it the 7th largest city in Finland by population. The area of the city is 154,6 square kilometres, of which 19,54 km² is water. Current mayor of Lahti is Jyrki Myllyvirta.
Lahti is exactly 104 km from Helsinki, a one-hour drive on freeway 4 connecting the two cities. The drive will take under an hour in the summer, more in the winter.
There is an almost hourly ExpressBus coach connection from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Lahti bus station, departing from platform 13 in front of Terminal 2. The service operates round the clock, although there may be a gap of 1 to 2 hours between services in the small hours of the night. The trip takes between 1 h 15 min and 1 h 30 min depending on whether the service calls in towns on the way. In some cases, there is a change of coach at Kerava but it is well co-ordinated and easy. Tickets cost €20.50 (round trip €36.90) for adults, €10.30 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children of age 4-16. Children under the age of four travel free.
Travel from Helsinki to Lahti by train takes about an hour. The train service is provided by VR, the national train company. Trains are also preferred by locals, because they're fast and comfortable. There are several train types:
- Local train Z (Lähiliikennejuna Z). Costs around €13,80 adult, €6,90 child(6-16 years). - Stops at Pasila, Tikkurila, Kerava, Haarajoki, and Mäntsälä. Goes hourly from about 6AM to roughly midnight.
- InterCity trains (InterCity-juna). Costs around €20 adult, €10 child. Very comfortable trains, usually with 6 wagons, 3 of them are double-deckers. Stops at Pasila, Tikkurila and depending on the train also at Kerava. Most of the Intercity trains continue onwards from Lahti and are only marginally faster than the Z train. Current (winter 2009) timetable indicates 54 minutes travel time.
- Pendolino trains. Costs around €25,2 adult, €12,6 child. Very comfortable trains and they tilt while cornering (allows faster speeds).
- Allegro trains connecting Helsinki and St. Petersburg stop in Lahti.
If you travel with children, you should choose perhelippu (family ticket). With each adult, one child can ride for free. For example, if you have three children, you will only pay for 2 adults and 1 child.
The city centre is less than ten minutes walk from the train station. Cross Mannerheiminkatu and travel north on Rautatienkatu. Pass the radio hill (with the tall legacy masts) on your left and the railway tracks behind you.
Lahti has a good system of public transport. You can ride from one part of the city to another with a single ticket of €3.20, kids €1.60. Kauppatori is the center of Lahti's public transport system, but be aware that many bus lines go in both directions from Kauppatori. You can use the interactive route plannerto find bus routes.
Lahti has a partly deserved reputation as an unattractive, economically depressed industrial town. In the recent years, however, Lahti has improved its reputation with a lovely harbour area with outdoor cafes and bars. In the harbour area there is also beautiful Sibelius Hall which is used for concerts and conferences.
- Sibelius Hall (Sibeliustalo), Ankkurikatu 7. Built in 2000, Sibeliustalo is an example of a modern wood construction and the largest wooden building built in Finland in a century. Finnish forests were the main inspiration for the architects. The building consists of four parts: The renovated ex-carpentry factory (the oldest industrial building still existing in Lahti, built by August Fellman in 1907 to serve as a kraft pulp factory with a sawmill, the building was extended many times and it served as a glass factory, wood meal factory, carpentry factory and wooden house factory), the Main Hall with wonderful acoustics, the congress centre and the Forest Hall (a beautiful lake scenery opening from Forest Hall's windows). Guided tours for groups of 1-13 persons. The ex-carpentry factory was renovated into a restaurant, offices and cabinets. Sibelius Hall host about 800 events every year: about 140 concerts from classical music to rock, pop etc.
- Lake Vesijärvi, Ankkurikatu. A nice way to spend a summer day is to embark on a paddle steamer (stern-wheeler) to cruise Lake Vesijärvi. Remember to have an ice-cream onshore.
- Radio and tv museum, Radiomäki, ☎ +358 3 814 4512, fax: +358 3 814 4515, e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Fri 10-17, Sat & Sun 11-17. Lahti's radio and television museum is located on Radiomäki (literally Radio Hill). You can see receiving and transmission equipment from the 1920's to modern times, and outdoors you can't miss the two long wave masts that can be seen from everywhere around the city. Adults €5, Children €2.
- Lahti Historical Museum, Lahdenkatu 4. Adults €10, childer €5.
- Lahti Art Museum, Vesijärvenkatu 11 A. Adults €7, children €3.
- Lahti Sports Center, Salpausselänkatu. There you can see the ski jumping hills, ski museum and Lahti stadium. In summer there is a outdoor swimming pool. It's also possible to buy ticket which allows you to use a chairlift and an elevator to get to the top of the ski jump which provides a panoramic view of Lahti.
Lahti has the best known symphony orchestra in Finland, Sinfonia Lahti. The annual winter sport event Salpausselän kisat is very popular and worth seeing.
- Puksu city train. Puksu train goes through the city's entertaining places. It starts from Vesijärvi harbour, then goes to Laune park, then Farm Animal Yard, "Little Marketplace" and back to Vesijärvi harbour.
- Yli-Marola 4H Farm Animal Yard, Neljänkaivonkatu 47. Barnyard animals in the sweet country milieu right in the city center. Open only in Summer. Free of charge.
- Outdoor swimming pool, At the ski jumping centre. In the summer, the bottom part of the highest ski jump is opened as a pool. There's a shallow kids area as well as a deeper area, which goes quickly from 2m to 3m deep. Swimming ability required. You can borrow trunks and glasses.
- Sports Park (Kisapuisto). You can play almost anything in the sports park. There are tennis courts, a tennis wall, volleyball court, baseball field and of course a football field. Inside, there are tennis, badminton, and squash courts. Indoor tennis €12/hour, squash and badminton €8/hour..
- Laune Family Park, Kaarikatu 26 (Bus no. 31 from Kauppatori stop A). In Laune park, you'll have lots of fun. There's a traffic city, where you can drive with free bicycles and scooters. There are pipes and water, and parents can rest on grass while kids are having fun. Free of charge.
- Vesiurut, Pikku-Vesijärvi park (Very close to the city center). Vesiurut means water organs. Every day at 1PM and 6PM, at the park there is a small 15 minute concert. The fountain starts in unison with music from speakers up in the trees. There are some classical music pieces and some Finnish pop music pieces. You can sit on rocks around the fountain, but be aware - you may get wet. During the fall, there are also lights playing. Free of charge.
- Ankkuri beach (Ankkurin Uimaranta), Ruoriniemenkatu 10, Lahti (a 1km walk north from Sibeius House harbour area). Public beach, changing rooms and toilets, a small number of public parking spots are located nearby. Close to city centre on the shore of Vesijärvi, water quality in the lake is excellent. Free of Charge.
- Salpausselkä trails (Salpausselän Virkistysalueen Ulkoilureitit), Salpausselkä, Lahti (West of the city starting from the Sports centre). Tens of kilometers of forest trails for walking, cycling and skiing. No dogs allowed on ski trails in winter. Free of charge.
Lahti has several big shopping centers.
- Trio, Aleksanterinkatu 20. Open on weekdays between 10AM - 8PM, Saturdays between 9AM and 6PM.. There are over 90 shops on 3 floors.
- Sokos department store, Aleksanterinkatu 19-21. Open on weekdays between 8AM - 9PM, Saturdays between 8AM and 6PM.. It's a big center with 3 floors and a basement floor. The three upper floors are filled with shoes, clothes, toys, electronics, kitchen utilities, games, movies and everything that you need in your household. In the basement, there's a S-Market grocery store, a chain which has a store in almost every city in Finland.
- Liike, Kauppakatu 16. A big 2-floor Anttila department store which sells nearly everything. There are also several smaller shops, a cafe and an InterSport sports shop.
- Syke, Kauppakatu 18. Shopping center Syke is located just opposite of Liike. Unlike Liike, which has a few shops. Syke has several — S-Market, which sells household products and food, Clas Ohlson, which sells electronics and household products, Emotion, which sells cosmetics and womens lingerie, TOP Sport, which sells sports equipment.
- Laune district (Buses no. 72, 8, 13, 16, 21, 30 from Kauppatori stop C.). Most stores are open on weekdays between 9AM - 8PM, Saturdays between 9AM and 5PM.. A couple of kilometers south of the city center, a large commercial area filled with large hypermarkets, electronic goods, car stores and charity shops (flea markets).
- Karisma. Situated about 5 kilometers east from the city center, next to the E75 motorway. It has nearly 80 shops.
- Kärkkäinen, Pasaasi 2. Independent shopping center in Renkomäki district.
Just by walking around in the city centre you can find stores that sell almost anything (everything from buttons to cars).
Lahti has several good factory outlets. For clothing Finnkarelia Outlet in Hollola and Luhta Outlet in Lahti are good places to visit. Maria Drockila's candle factory in Orimattila's old spinning mill is also worth a visit.
- Ahtialan Pizza-Kebab, Ahtialantie 137. There is a variety of pizzas and kebabs. It's located quite far from the town centre.
- Tonin Pitsa, Rautatienkatu 15, ☎ 0400-156-706. An Italian restaurant serving Italian-style pizzas and also has a catering service.
- Aspendos Kebab, Aleksanterinkatu 15. This place is said to have the best kebabs in Lahti.
- El Toro, Mariankatu 8. Spanish styled food
- Marry Dian, Ritaniemenkatu 11.
- Pizzeria Kebab Antonio, Rauhankatu 19. famous for their wrapped kebabs.
- Restaurant Roux, Rautatienkatu 7 (Near Town Hall), ☎ +358 10 279 2930. Finnish fine dining with local delicacies.
- Santa Fe, Aleksanterinkatu 10. Right next to Kauppatori. An interesting restaurant specialized in Mexican food. There's also a bar downstairs.
- Ravintola Mamma Maria, Vapaudenkatu 10, ☎ +358 3 751 6309. Italian food, good pasta and their own ice-cream. You can talk Italian with the owner.
- Lahti passenger harbour, Vesijärven satama. At summertime it is worth visiting the Lahti passenger harbour, several restaurant ships operate as popular alfresco pubs.
- Torvi, Loviisankatu 8. The most legendary bar in Lahti. If you dig rock music, Torvi is a must
Other places worth to visit are restaurant Taivaanranta and Teerenpeli which have their own whisky distillery and beer brewery.
- Teerenpeli, Vapaudenkatu 20. This place has its own whisky distillery and beer brewery. You can buy single cigars as well, they are kept in a big humidor. In Teerenpeli there is very nice atmosphere and friendly service.
- Matkakoti Patria, Vesijärvenkatu 3, ☎ +358 3 782 3783, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Budget hostel near railway station.
- Omenahotelli Lahti, Rauhankatu 14. A budget chain hotel next to the market square.
- Hotelli Cumulus Lahti, Vapaudenkatu 24, ☎ +358 3 813 711, fax: +358 3 781 8922, e-mail: email@example.com. Pet friendly hotel in the center of Lahti. There are conference facilities for 50 people. The hotel has 171 rooms, bar and disco.
- Musta Kissa, Rautatienkatu 21, ☎ +358 3 544 9000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Double rooms from €80..
- Scandic Lahti, Vesijärvenkatu 1 (Next to the railway station.), ☎ +358 3 339 39 11, fax: +358 3 339 39 399, e-mail: email@example.com. Formerly known as Next Hotel Salpaus. Standard mid-range hotel of the Swedish chain.
- Sokos Hotel Lahden Seurahuone, Aleksanterinkatu 14 (In the city center, next to the market square and shopping facilities.), ☎ +358 20 1234 655, fax: +358 3 7523 164, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the neighboring towns and cities are Asikkala, Heinola and Orimattila. Many of them have something worth a visit, although perhaps just a brief one.
- Medieval Greystone Church of Hollola, Rantatie 917 (Hollola kk). mon-fri 10-80, sun 11-16. Visit nearby Hollola for it's medieval greystone church. Completed around 1480 it represents the best middle aged church architecture. This church is famous for it's well preserved wooden carvings, some of which are from the 1400s. Free.
- Messilä resort (In Hollola municipality, 10 km towards Tampere). In the winter one of the most popular ski resorts of southern Finland, in the summer a place to hike and play golf.
|Routes through Lahti|
|Rovaniemi ← Jyväskylä ←||N S||→ Helsinki → END|