Finland has a huge range of summer holiday activities on offer. With a mosaicked landscape of vivid green forests and shimmering blue lakes, hilly meadows and mystical wetlands, you’ll find plenty to see and do in the Lakeland of Saimaa.
By May, the daylight hours stretch longer and longer. This makes for warm, pleasant weather and gives you plenty of time to enjoy the peace of the Finnish countryside, or get involved with any number of fun summer activities.
Cruises and sightseeing tours from Mikkeli and Savonlinna offer an easy and relaxed way to see the sights. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the critically endangered Saimaa ringed-seal, the mascot for wildlife conservation in Finland.
If you’d prefer a more direct approach, you can swim from almost any shoreline around Saimaa. There are signposted swimming beaches but if the need to swim takes you when you’re exploring the countryside, go ahead and jump in!
Similarly, canoes, kayaks and other boats are readily available for hire and offer instant access to the water. Hand-paddled boats offer a great connection to the water, great views of the landscape, and the potential to see wildlife that would otherwise retreat and hide. Go it alone or take a guide with you; having fun is the key thing.
Fishing is a big draw to the Saimaa region with its abundant and varied water life; look out for perch, zander, pike, trout, salmon, grayling, whitefish and vendace.
And any kind of trip onto the water is the perfectly accompanied by the Finnish sauna!
Those looking for summer activities where they can keep their feet dry might want to make the most of the sprawling network of hiking and biking trails, or to take advantage of the Finnish “Everyman’s Rights” allowing you to roam where you please.
Hiking and camping evoke an ancient way of being when in the heartland of the northern forests. Rest as you please at the free “laavu” lean-to shelters, cool your feet in the lake and enjoy the warmth of the campfire and the company of friends.
And fear not the dreaded mosquito! The breeze from the lakes means that you’ll be more or less safe, particularly outside of their high point in July.
Look out too for glimpses of the Finnish wildlife: from the common red squirrel to their relatives, the flying squirrel; from small roe deer to the enormous elk or moose; from the industrious beaver to the elusive brown bear. The list could go on and on, really!
Gather seasonal berries, mushrooms and other wild edibles; these forest-grown foods are true Finnish superfood, filled with flavour and packed with nutrition.
Horse-riding and quad bikes (ATVs) typically have their own trails and are available, like the other summer holiday activities, either self-guided or with help from an instructor. Take a unique trip through the woods on the back of the good natured Finnhorse, Finland’s own national breed.
Be sure to check out the magnificent sights of Saimaa’s national parks, Kolovesi, Linnansaari and Repovesi, the delicious regional cuisine, and the local attractions such as the Savonlinna Opera Festival and St. Olaf’s castle during your stay!