Lake Hoytiainen, Finland

Also known as:  Sea of Karelia

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Hoytiainen.

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Lake Hoytiainen visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: Finland - Lakeland -

Lake Hoytiainen, also known as the Sea of Karelia, is a 72,402-acre freshwater lake located in the North Karelia region of eastern Finland. Whether visiting in summer or winter, the Lake Hoytiainen area is an outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland. Recreational offerings include swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, golf, tennis, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, and snowboarding.

Lake Hoytiainen and the North Karelia area are famous for over 600 miles of hiking trails. While many of these trails have been in use for thousands of years by itinerant merchants and aboriginal people following reindeer herds, the trail system as a whole has only been around since the 1950’s. The area is famous for trail huts, so many hikers spend days on the trails without having to carry a tent. This particular style of backpacking is very popular because of the lighter packs required to traverse the trails. Shorter day hikes and loop trails — one to two hours — are also available to enjoy the countryside.

Close to Lake Hoytiainen is the Kontiolahti Biathlon Centre, one of the most technologically advanced biathlon centers in the world. Visitors can use the facility and its well-maintained trails to ski in the winter or roller ski in the summer. Other towns close to Lake Hoytiainen are Eno and Joensuu. The City of Joensuu offers nature lovers a chance to jog in the nearby wilderness as well as enjoy many sport facilities, theaters, an art museum, and the local orchestra. Eno, located in the middle of North Karelia, is the capital of the region and offers fishing on the Pielisjoki River and hiking in Kolvananuuro. The Ukko-Koli slopes offer the highest slopes in the area for downhill skiing.

To fish Lake Hoytiainen, try angling, trolling, or using nets in summer or winter to catch perch or vendace. The lake is regularly stocked with bass and trout. Ice fishing is very popular on the lake as well as fishing for Kankikoski salmon on the rapids during the spawning season. For off-water fun, head to the lakeside golf course that is located on a Karelian heathland. If you don’t have time for a full round, check out the practice range, putting green, and pitching green.

Lake Hoytiainen has two beaches at Vierevannieme Beach and Harbour Beach and two harbors at Haikanniemi Harbour and Kontiolahden Harbour. Boat and fishing trips can be booked on the lake to satiate your inner adventurer. Lakeside vacation rentals range from cottages to log homes and villas. Camping is also available along many of the hiking trails.

In an effort to create more arable land for cultivation and agriculture, Finland reduced the size of Lake Hoytiainen by one-third in 1859. Previously one of the largest lakes in Finland, the surface level of Lake Hoytiainen was reduced using a series of dams, a lot of digging, and the emptying of water into Phyhaselka Lake. Today, the lake’s maximum depth is 184 feet, down 31 feet from its original depth.

With contrasting barren heaths, green glades, deep blue lakes, and hills, the Lake Hoytiainen area offers breathtaking scenery and more outdoor activities than most people could fit into a vacation. Grab your fishing rod and hiking boots and head out to the North Karelia region and Lake Hoytiainen for the trip of a lifetime.

Custom Lake Hoytiainen house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Hoytiainen

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Hoytiainen

  • Bass
  • Perch
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Vendace

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Hoytiainen

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Lake Hoytiainen photo gallery

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Lake Hoytiainen statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 72,402 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 286 feet

Average Depth: 39 feet

Maximum Depth: 184 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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