This page is part of Lake Saimaa 2.0 project and is funded by South Savonia Council.

9 reasons to travel Lake Saimaa region, Finland 

Lake Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake and well worth visiting on its own, but what makes this region an ideal choice for your travel destination? With these 9 reasons to visit the Lake Saimaa region, you’ll discover why Finland is the happiest country in the world. In Lake Saimaa region this happiness is patent in various elements that you should also experience! Lake Saimaa region welcomes you at any time of the year.

1. Tasty local gastronomy

In the Saimaa region, cuisine is crafted using fresh and pure natural ingredients. As Lake Saimaa proudly holds the title of European Region of Gastronomy 2024, the culinary scene here is exceptional. Numerous local producers contribute to the rich food culture, and the D.O. Saimaa label signifies this as the first Finnish Designation of Origin label. The D.O. Saimaa label indicates that the product or ingredient has been produced in the Saimaa region in accordance with high-quality criteria

Vendace, a staple fish in Finnish cuisine, flourishes in the pristine waters of Lake Saimaa and features prominently on the menus of local restaurants, prepared in diverse ways. In the coming summer, you will have the unique opportunity to dive into the fishing culture of Lake Saimaa by joining vendace trawling cruise in Puumala.

All in all, visitors are consistently impressed by the culinary prowess of our local chefs, creating super tasty food that is also healthy and made from pure, local ingredients.

Tip: Enjoy the dinner or lunch in best restaurants in the Lake Saimaa region such as the  historic Tertti Manor, the luxurious  PihlasResort, the rustic TeaHouse of Wehmais or artisanal restaurants in Sahanlahti.

2. Saimaa Ringed Seal and other wonders of nature in the Lake Saimaa region

The ringed seal is a true rarity offered by nature in the Saimaa region. This special local resident is one of the world’s most endangered seal. It is found only in Lake Saimaa, with a population of around 480 seals. If you are lucky, you can encounter the gentle ringed seal on guided seal watching cruises. The excursions are organised by skippers who know the best places and can steer their boats quietly close to the shy seals without frightening or disturbing them. Whether you choose Linnansaari National Park or the stunning waters of Puumala and Anttola as your destination and canoe or boat as your transport, with a guide you will have the best chance to admire these adorable animals at close range. And the stories these skippers have to tell – a trip you won’t forget.

Saimaannorppa rantakalliolla

3. Natural luxury

Would you prefer the opulence and sustainability of an eco-luxury resort with all-inclusive amenities, where every detail is meticulously crafted to minimise environmental impact while maximising comfort? Or perhaps the allure of a romantic staycation nestled in the heart of the woods, in a resort exclusively for adults, where serenity and intimacy blend seamlessly with nature’s embrace? Or envision an activity-filled holiday perched atop the breathtaking Lake Saimaa, where you can spot the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal from your own villa?

The choice is yours to make, each option promising unique experiences and unforgettable memories.

Top 4 luxury accommodations in the Lake Saimaa region:

Luxurious eco-resort in Joroinen, PihlasResort
Private getaway exclusively for adults, KuruResort
Wellbeing and peace in heart of Lake Saimaa, Elsanranta Villas
Luxury steamship for unique cruises on Lake Saimaa, VipCruises
Grain Drying House Suite for romantic staycation, Woikoski
Perfect getaway in lakeside cabin, Rock & Lake

4. Cultural events and must-see attractions in the Lake Saimaa region

Summer in Lake Saimaa region is full of exciting events. The world-famous Savonlinna Opera Festival and Mikkeli Music Festival bring top international stars to the area and provide high-quality cultural experiences to satisfy even the most demanding of tastes. There are also original exhibitions, concerts, and many other events to enjoy.

Tip: Combine your cultural excursion with visiting Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings and Muisti Centre of War and Peace in Mikkeli or Finnish Forest Museum Lusto in Savonlinna.

Stay in city hotels like Sokos Hotel Seurahuone or Spahotel Casino in Savonlinna. In Mikkeli Sokos Hotel Vaakuna in city centre or Landhaus Kekkola in rural landscapes.

Savonlinna Opera Festival

5. Enchanting local lifestyle

Do you want to learn how to catch your own fish? Knowledgeable fishing guides will lead you to the fish-rich spots of Lake Saimaa.
Or maybe forage berries and mushrooms by yourself from forest and make a pie from the pure ingredients? Bake the traditional Karelian pasties with a local? With local guides, you will learn how to catch big fish, forage superfoods from the forest, and prepare tasty delicacies from them. Also, try Paula’s Karelian pasty workshop, where the lovely Paula teaches how to bake traditional Karelian pasties.

6. Finnish lakeside sauna combined with crystal-clear Lake Saimaa

Enjoy the magic of summer in cabins on the shores of crystal-clear waters of Lake Saimaa. Relax with the gentle heat of sauna, take a refreshing dip in Lake Saimaa, savor local ingredients, and enjoy beautiful landscapes.

Tip: If you want to experience the sauna in the traditional Finnish way, we recommend a lakeside sauna experience with a local in Uhkua, Mikkeli.

7. Summer cabins and midnight sun

The nature of Lake Saimaa offers something extraordinary for all night owls in the summer. During June and July, the sun stays above the horizon almost around the clock. It is a perfect time to wonder the peace and quiet around you, relax after sauna and take a midnight swim – have a wonderous moment absorbing all the best that Finnish nature can offer.

In Lake Saimaa region situates 50 000 summer cabins, so we can say that we are crazy about cottage life. You can choose from traditional cabins with no running water to modern ones with all facilities.

8. Wellness in a Finnish way

The secret behind Finnish happiness is nature connection. Nature holds a sacred place for Finns, where you can experience a true connection by participating in forest meditation, refreshing your mind, and energising your spirit as you listen to the quiet hum of trees and feel the soft touch of the earth beneath your feet.

Tip: Add forest meditation in Kruunupuisto to your bucket list!

9. Pleasant service and friendly locals

At Lake Saimaa, the level of service is first-class. Here, you don’t feel like a stranger but, above all, a valued guest who is warmly welcomed. Entrepreneurs, chefs, guides, and other staff love to chat with their guests and share the fascinating story of Lake Saimaa. Come and try it out, you will be delighted.

Find us

Tourist office Mikkeli

tel. +358447945669
Maaherrankatu 9-11, Mikkeli

Tourist office Savonlinna

tel. +358 44 417 4466
Riihisaari, Savonlinna

Tourist office Varkaus

tel. +538 44 444 2606
Kauppatori 4, Varkaus