Finland Travel – Travel tips for Savonlinna | Visit Saimaa

Travel tips for holidays in Savonlinna, Finland

Savonlinna has a justified reputation as a place where life is good – a beautiful historic setting, a strong centre for services, culture and the arts at the highest level, a safe and clean environment. Its quality of life and range of services makes the area an attractive one for new businesses, jobs, studying and leisure activities.

Located in the centre of Finland’s largest lake system Lake Saimaa, Savonlinna is one of the most rewarding destinations for exploring nature. Savonlinna itself is built on islands, so you will find freshwater lake wherever you turn. Punkaharju national scenic area and two national parks Kolovesi and Linnansaari offer year round opportunities for a getaway and recreation in nature.

Travel tips – culture

Savonlinna is culturally rich destination – a historical borderland where the cultures and traditions of East and West meet. Olavinlinna Castle from the 15th century is the most popular sight in the city, and one of the best-known attraction in Finland. Olavinlinna is a popular location for many festivities due to its magical atmosphere with amazing and natural acoustics. Savonlinna Opera Festival held annually in Olavinlinna is a cultural event known across the world. Olavinlinna is the northernmost medieval castle in the world and has seen centuries of history.

In addition to opera, Savonlinna offers many other forms of live music, art, theatre, and history. Next to the Olavinlinna, Riihisaari – Lake Saimaa Nature and Culture Centre expresses the history of Lake Saimaa sailing with its hundred-year-old steam ships. About 20 minutes’ drive from the city center you can find the world’s largest wooden church in Kerimäki and the Finnish national forest museum and science centre Lusto in Punkaharju.

Travel tips – activities

During the summer swimming, boating and fishing surrounded by beautiful islands and islets leave you with an unforgettable experience. The forests call you for hiking and riding excursions, and for berry and mushroom picking.

Ice swimming, skating, skiing and snowshoeing in the breath-taking scenery of the lake ice and through the snowy forests and hills give you an amazing experience in the wintertime.

Travel tips – seeing Lake Saimaa

Boat tours and cruises can be found easily from the harbour in the centre, offering pleasant trips of various lengths onto the lake. Lake Saimaa is far too large to take in all in one go, so these trips offer a great way of seeing something of its size as well as its gorgeous scenery.

Lake Saimaa is also well known for the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. Boat tours and cruises are probably the easiest way for travellers to look out for this charming creature, but you can also try your luck with your own hired canoes, kayaks, and boats. From time to time, they can even be seen in the harbour!

Travel tips – getting to Savonlinna

There are a few options for travelling to Savonlinna. There are frequent buses and trains to and from Finland’s capital, Helsinki, and other local towns, including the very affordable coach line Onnibus. There’s also a direct flight to Savonlinna’s airport from Helsinki operated BASe airlines. Check flights at www.airlink.fi (site available in English).

Savonlinna is a brilliant place to stay not only to take in the town’s attractions but also the beautiful surrounding countryside of Finland. Check out countless outdoor activities such as kayaking during your stay and head to one of the many local restaurants to try the delicious regional cuisine which uses wild ingredients from nature!

Facts

  • Lake Saimaa is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe.
  • 40% of Savonlinna is covered by clean freshwater.
  • Olavinlinna Castle is the northernmost medieval stone fortress still standing.
  • Savonlinna is a home for Saimaa ringed seal – one of the rarest seal breeds in the world.
  • Approximately 800 000 tourists visit Savonlinna per year.
  • An hour direct flight from and to Helsinki twice a day.