Waterways and travelling by steam boats have benefitted the biggest towns Savonlinna, Kuopio, Lappeenranta and Joensuu through centuries and they still do. Imatrankoski rapids, Punkaharju ridge, Koli hills, Puijo viewing tower, Olavinlinna castle &, Lappeenranta fortress are acknowledged as some of the first touristic sights in Finland. A visit to see the ancient rock paintings in Hossa national park completes the experience. Welcome to feel the spirit of cultural crossroads.

 

 

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Itinerary

DAY 1 Savonlinna– Kerimäki – Punkaharju 40 km
DAY 2 Punkaharju -Parikkala – Imatra 92 km
DAY 3 Imatra – Lappeenranta 36 km
DAY 4 Lappeenranta – Luumäki – Lemi – Mikkeli 163 km
DAY 5 Mikkeli – Puumala 70 km DAY 6 Puumala – Rantasalmi 83 km
DAY 7 Rantasalmi – Varkaus – Leppävirta – Kuopio 120 km
DAY 8 Kuopio
DAY 9 Kuopio – Kajaani (Oulujärvi) – Hossa 370 km
DAY 10 Hossa – Raate – Kuhmo 195 km
DAY 11 Kuhmo – Ruunaa – Vuonislahti – Koli 288 km
DAY 12 Koli – Joensuu – Heinävesi 124 km
DAY 13 Heinävesi – Kerimäki – Savonlinna 118 km
DAY 14 Savonlinna

DAY 1 Savonlinna – Punkaharju 40 km

Fly to Savonlinna (SVL). Drive from Helsinki takes about four hours.

The Punkaharju ridge area is one of the oldest nature reserves in the world and one of the most beautiful parts of Finland. The unique combination of impressive eskers and stunning lake views has for centuries inspired artists and attracted travellers.

Bucket list today

The Finnish Forest Museum Lusto is a museum with exhibitions on the significance of forests in the Finnish society and their role in the life of Finnish people in the past and present. From Lusto, it is also easy to walk to get to know tree species in the Punkaharju arboretum.

Saimaa Art Cave Retretti is a unique art centre hosting national and international art exhibitions with most of its exhibition space in caves and underground galleries.

Accommodation options:

>> Hotel Punkaharju since 1845
>> Kruunupuisto Punkaharju
>> Holiday Resort Harjun Portti

Restaurant options:

>> Restaurant of Hotel Punkaharju
>> Restaurant in Art Cave Saimaa Retretti

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DAY 2 Punkaharju -Parikkala – Imatra 92 km

Imatra is situated in the southeast of Finland where it rubs shoulders with the Russian border. Imatrankoski has been a famous tourist attraction already 300 hundred years ago, and it was considered as one of Europe’s most known attractions.

Bucket list today

Parikkala Sculpture park is an outdoor museum, an art collective representing around 560 different sculptures known also as a paradise garden.
>> Parikkala Sculpture Park

Visiting the first tourism destination of Finland and one of Europe’s biggest rapids – Imatrankoski. Also a guided tour is possible.
>> Imatrankoski Rapids

Take a cruise to Saimaa from Imatra Harbour with the sauna boat m/s Emma.
>> M/S Emma

Accommodation options:

>> Holiday Club Saimaa
>> Imatran Kylpylä Spa Resort

Restaurant option:

>> Karelian Gourmet

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DAY 3 Imatra – Lappeenranta 36 km

Lappeenranta, starting point for the historical Saimaa canal waterway from Lake Saimaa to the Gulf of Finland, hosts Finland’s oldest orthodox church located within the Fortress of Lappeenranta, a lively meeting point of three cultures dating back to history.

Bucket list today

Guided tour in Lappeenranta Fortress organised by Saimaa Travel. Surrounded by the ramparts, this historic district represents the original town which began as a medieval trading centre during the Swedish regime in 1649.
>> Guided tours in Lappeenranta – Saimaa Travel

Take a few hour cruise to Lake Saimaa or to the first lock of the Saimaa Canal.
>> Karelia Lines

Accommodation options:

>> Hotel Rakuuna
>> Original Sokos Hotel Lappee
>> Salpalinjan Hovi
>> Hotel Salpa

 

Restaurant option:

>> Kehruuhuone

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DAY 4 Lappeenranta – Luumäki – Lemi – Mikkeli 163 km

In South-Karelia distances are not long – two cities, seven municipalities, all with rich history and their own special features. The biggest lake, Lake Saimaa, has cousins, as Finland is the land of thousand lakes.

Bucket list today

Throwback to history and hear enchanting stories. Visit Salpaline underground bunkers with a guide. The Salpalinja defense line was built in the 1940s to protect Finland from the Soviet Union.
>> Salpalinja History and Bunkers

Visit Kotkaniemi – the home museum of the former Finnish President P. E. Svinhufvud. Wonder around in the garden and zip a cup of tea while admiring the waves at Lake Kivijärvi.
>> Kotkaniemi – the home museum of President PE Svinhufvud

Särä from Lemi is one of Finland’s seven wonders. Prepared from a thousand-year-old recipe, this traditional lamb roast is delicious beyond comparison. In line with local custom, Särä should be savoured slowly, so feel free to eat your fill.
>> Säräpirtti Kippurasarvi

Accommodation options:

>> Kyyhkylä Manor & Hotel
>> Tertti Manor
>> Halla Resort

Restaurant options:
(if you are still hungry after Särä)

>> Kenkävero
>> Tertti Manor

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DAY 5 Mikkeli – Puumala 70 km

Mikkeli, the city of headquarters, is well-known especially for its military history, beautiful manors and gardens as well as numerous destinations of nature. The city is also the holiday capital of Finland – there are over 29 000 cottages in Mikkeli region.

Bucket list today

Muisti, the Centre of War and Peace and the Headquarters Museum offer a new perspective to war in Mikkeli. In Muisti exhibitions you can live through war-time events and spend a moment with those who experienced war.
>> Muisti Centre of War and Peace

An important Saimaa Geopark Geosite and a national shrine, Astuvansalmi in Ristiina, is one of the biggest rock painting sites in the Nordic countries. The paintings can now be reached without a car or boat of your own – just Hop on aboard!
>> Astuvansalmi rock paintings
>> Saimaa Hop On Hop Off

Route 62 from Mikkeli to Puumala, an amazing sightseeing route with several unique sites worth visiting and a popular lookout point at Lietvesi.
>> Route 62 from Mikkeli to Puumala

Accommodation options:

>> Sahanlahti Resort
>> Okkola Holiday Cottages

Restaurant options:

>> Sahanlahti Resort restaurants
>> Okkola Holiday Cottages/Restaurant Niinipuu

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DAY 6 Puumala – Rantasalmi 83 km

The village of Rantasalmi is located in the shores of Lake Saimaa and Linnansaari National Park, the home of Saimaa Ringed Seal. Besides of the lake nature, you can relax and pamper yourself in the Spa Hotel Järvisydän or private Kuru Resort.

Bucket list today

The Unique Lake Spa of Järvisydän is built in the middle of the natural rocks and the large windows overlook Lake Saimaa.
>> Lake Spa – Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän

Linnansaari National Park’s magnificent landscape alternates between a labyrinth of sheltered islands and broader open waters. The park includes more than 130 islands and hundreds of smaller islets and protruding rocks. Daily trips from Järvisydän.
>> Trip to the National Park

Saimaa Ringed Seal watching safari in Linnansaari National Park.

Accommodation options:

>> Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän
>> Kuru Private Resort

Restaurant options:

>> Restaurants of Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän: Restaurant Piikatyttö, Savonian Kota
>> Restaurant, Bistro and Boat Restaurant Puijo

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DAY 7 Rantasalmi – Varkaus – Leppävirta – Kuopio 120 km

Lake Saimaa waterways extend to the city centre of town Varkaus. The region offers holidaymakers great opportunities including the city’s own caviar and sturgeon delicacies, as well as the home of amazing instruments, the Museum of Mechanical Music.

Bucket list today

In the Museum of Mechanical Music you will experience how music has been played before the mp3-player, compact discs, mini-discs or hifi-systems.
>> Museum of Mechanical Music

Art Centre Väinölä is an idyllic wooden house in the shadow of birch trees in the centre of Varkaus with changing art exhibits throughout the year.
>> Art Centre Väinölä

Make a visit to the world´s one and only Moomin Ice Cave 30 meters underground! Enjoy a variety of winter activities, such as snow slides, snow tubes and the sleigh-go-round.
>> Moomin IceCave

Accommodation options:

>> Boutique Hotel SawoHouse
>> Lapland Hotels Kuopio – Hotel Kuopio
>> Original Sokos Hotel Puijonsarvi | hotels Kuopio – sokoshotels.fi
>> Scandic Kuopio | Hotel in Kuopio

Restaurant options:

>> Restaurant Isä Camillo
>> Puijo Tower Restaurants

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DAY 8 Kuopio

Kuopio, the capital of Northern Savo is the right place for those who are interested in culture, history and wellbeing. Here you can enjoy a 3-course tasteful menu during a sightseeing tour and at the end of day relax in the gentle steam of the sauna.

Bucket list today

Discover the magnificent Puijo Tower: The peak of Puijo Tower pierces the sky at 224 meters above Lake. Come and try out nature activity park Puijo Peak; exciting activities in different seasons, world-class cuisine and stunning panoramic Lakeland views extending as far as the eye can see.
>> Puijo Peak

Kuopion Saana – Finnish Sauna Paradise: Kuopion Saana combines a Finnish sauna experience, excellent restaurant services and a multitude of events and activities in one location. The spa’s outdoor area has a smoke sauna and two heated pools. Enjoy also an indoor hot tub, an experience shower and heated loungers.
>> Kuopion Saana

Visiting and tasting Distillery Company; Lignell & Piispanen is an alcohol producer founded in 1852. Visitor Center offers customers Factory Tours, Tastings, and factory store Kauppahuone and Arctic Bar, where you can enjoy our products and signature cocktails.
>> Lignell & Piispanen

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DAY 9 Kuopio – Kajaani (Oulujärvi) – Suomussalmi – Hossa 370 km

The landscape of Hossa National Park was already enjoyed during the Stone Age. The popular hiking area was appointed a national park in honour of the centenary of Finland. On the way to Hossa, experience a paradise island Ärjä with sandy beaches and nature trails.

Bucket list today

Island Ärjä in Lake Oulujärvi, called the pearl of Oulujärvi and an island of paradise. You can reach an island either by steamboat or by local entrepreneur boat transportation.
>> Island Ärjä (Ärjänsaari)

The almost one thousand strong band that makes up the Silent People (art installation) suddenly emerges before the passing motorist like some great stroke of magic. Remember to keep your eyes open at road 5 between Suomussalmi and Hossa!
>> The Silent People and Cafe

Hossa Visitor Centre and its special exhibitions provide introductions to the area’s unique nature with good tips about the destinations in the national park and for choosing paths.
>> Hossa Visitor Centre

Accommodation options:

>> Hossa’s versatile range of accommodation
>> Wild Eco Camp Seipiniemi

Restaurant options:

>> Restaurant and cafe Gastrobar3
>> Restaurant Kultainen Kukko
>> Hossa Reindeer park and restaurant

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DAY 10 Hossa – Raate – Kuhmo 195 km

Hossa National park offers visitors a wide range of activities and different places to explore from easily managed guided trails to much more challenging eskers. After Hossa day, this is your unique chance to see the most famous inhabitants of the region, like Wild Brown Bear.

Bucket list today

In Hossa, the mystical rock paintings of Värikallio, the lichen forest, and Finland’s greatest canyon lake Julma-Ölkky, are unparalleled attractions for their uniqueness and beauty.
>> Rock paintings and canyon lake Julma-Ölkky

Travelling down the road Raatteentie, you’ll be taking a walk through an impressive array of Finnish war history. This trip will no doubt leave the viewer with an unforgettable impression. >> Winter war museum Raatteen Portti and Raate road.

Wildlife watching and photographing; large carnivores and other animals in Wild Taiga region. Choose overnight trip or evening hide excursion from variety of hides offered by multiple wildlife companies.
>> Wildlife watching and photographing trips

Accommodation options:

>> Hotel Kalevala
>> Hotel Kainuu

Restaurant options:

>> Hossa Reindeer park and restaurant
>> Restaurant Kanteletar

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DAY 11 Kuhmo – Ruunaa – Vuonislahti – Koli 245 km

A tour around lake Pielinen offers a great chance to take a peek into Karelian culture and lifestyle. Try river rafting and visit Paateri church and Eva Ryynänen’s atelier. And finally, dive into the Finnish national landscape at Koli hills at sunset.

Bucket list today

River rafting at Ruunaa rapids is suitable for all ages. Alternatively, you can shoot the rapids by a traditional wooden boat or an inflatable board. We also do rafting trips on a wooden boat with backrests.

In the scenic and beautiful landscape of Lieksa and on the shore of Vuonisjärvi Lake lies the sculptor Eva Ryynänen’s (1915 – 2001) Atelier, Paateri Church, her former house and a cafe.
>> Paateri church & Eva Ryynäne’s ateljee

To enjoy the Finnish national landscape from Koli hills to to lake Pielinen, either make a walk to the three tops of Koli hills at sunset or admire the view from Koli Relax Spa sitting in a hot tub.
>> Koli Relax Spa

Accommodation options:

>> Break Sokos Hotel Koli, hotel rooms with a view on the top of Koli
>> Koli Freetime Oy, cosy apartments, cottages and rooms next to the Koli national park

Restaurant options:

Gastropub Kolin Ryynänen serves tasty food and brew their own beer in Koli Village.

Restaurant Kolin satamaravintola Small restaurant in Koli harbour serves fresh fish dishes from lake Pielinen. Also nice terrasse for the warm summer days and local beer is available.

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DAY 12 Koli – Joensuu – Heinävesi 124 km

Bustling Joensuu market place welcomes you with mouthwatering taste of warm hand-made Karelian pasties with melting butter. Visit the Taitokortteli Arts & Crafts quartier and then continue to New Valamo monastery, where east and west shake hands firmly.

Bucket list today

At Cafe Marttakahvio at Joensuu Market place anyone can watch local ladies baking the traditional pasties. Fresh warm pasties are incredibly delicious. Market is where the local meet each other to hear the news and gossip.
>> Cafe Marttakahvio and Joensuu Market place

Taitokortteli Arts & Crafts quartier welcomes you to join skills workshops, visit little artisan boutiques and have a look at changing exhibitions. Lovely cafe serves snacks and pastries and refreshing drinks all day long.

The peaceful atmosphere of the monastery and close proximity to nature, offer the hurried people in the busy world of today a rare opportunity to relax − far from the bustle and noise of everyday life. Interesting history is told on guided tours.
>> Valamo Monastery

Accommodation & restaurant option:

>> Valamo Monastery hotel and hostel

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DAY 13 Heinävesi – Savonlinna 118 km

Savonlinna region at the heart of Lake Saimaa is Finland’s oldest tourist destination. Its diverse and dazzling scenery has drawn in visitors since the 19th century. Finns have voted Savonlinna as the best summer city in the country.

Bucket list today

Kerimaki Church the Yellow Giant” is the biggest wooden church in the world. The church, whose spacious interior accommodates over 5,000 people, is located in the village of Kerimäki 23 km from the Savonlinna city centre.

Olavinlinna Castle, the world’s northernmost medieval castle in the world, is the crown jewel of Savonlinna. It is located in the city centre in the midst of beautiful lake scenery. It is best known as the stage of the world-famous Savonlinna Opera Festival.

A steamship cruise in the Savonlinna archipelago is a wonderful way to spend a summer’s day. Try also theamed cruises, e.g. yoga, dinner, mushroom picking, seal watching.
>> Cruises on Lake Saimaa

Accommodation options:

>> Spa in the heart of town – Spa Hotel Casino
>> Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone
>> Boutique Hotel Villa Aria

Restaurant options:

Taste the local fish speciality, muikku, at Muikkuterassi, the roof terrace of Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna while enjoying the spectacular views over the city.
>> Muikkuterassi Restaurant

Get a taste of the delicious regional cuisine and the award-winning beers of Waahto Brewhouse in Brewery Restaurant Huvila. Try also the beers of the other two local breweries Olaf Brewing and Karvila Brewery whose restaurants you can find in the city centre.

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DAY 14 Savonlinna

Home journey

Fly from Savonlinna (SVL). Drive to Helsinki takes about four hours.

MORE INFORMATION FROM TEAM LAKELAND (REGIONAL DMOs)

Arctic Lakeland Kainuu, Hanna Linjala, hanna.linjala@kamk.fi
GoSaimaa, Katja Vehviläinen, katja.vehvilainen@gosaimaa.com
SavoGrow, Teija Neuvonen, teija.neuvonen@savogrow.fi
Savonlinna Travel, Tanja Lajunen, tanja@visitsavonlinna.fi
VisitKarelia, Leena Tervakorpi, leena.tervakorpi@visitkarelia.fi
Visit Mikkeli, Tarja Vesalainen, tarja.vesalainen@mikseimikkeli.fi

SALES AND BOOKING (DMC)

Finland Lakeland Tours, Anu Huusko, anu.huusko@lahtiregion.fi

NB! If you already cooperate with another DMC, feel free to send the program to them for price and booking.