Saimaa is unique in Europe. Situated in the heart of Europe’s largest lake district, Lake Saimaa’s stunning nature, clean food, attractions and great opportunities for outdoor activities make it one of the best places in Europe to visit for a holiday. In addition to all the natural wonders, The World Economic Forum also named Finland the safest country in the world in 2017.
Finland’s spectacular nature makes it an exceptional destination to visit in Europe. 73% of the country is covered in predominantly boreal woodland and another 10% is water from its 187,000 lakes. That’s a lot! The towns of Savonlinna, Mikkeli and Varkaus are to be found at the heart of this wonderland on the shores of Lake Saimaa.
Along with the scenic landscapes, you’ll find beautiful wild flora and fauna and a relaxed, welcoming culture. With its wild-growing foods and seemly climate, Saimaa cuisine is full of delicious, fresh, healthy ingredients that are packed with flavour and nutrition alike. Finnish food is superfood!
The summer is an experience in itself with a sun that hardly sets and daylight almost around the clock. Long, warm days give you plenty of chance to be out and about and make the most of your stay here. You’ll be in no rush whatsoever despite the number of great places to visit and events being held, plus restaurants, local attractions such as Europe’s northernmost medieval fortress, St Olaf’s castle in Savonlinna and the Astuvansalmi rock paintings near Mikkeli, and outdoor activities.
No matter whether you’re staying in a log cabin, a quaint boutique hotel, a traditional manor house or under the starry sky in a camping site, you’ll find plenty to do in the Saimaa region of Lakeland. If you want to keep busy, there’s plenty of action to be found on the water in the way of boating, swimming, canoeing and more, as well as areas for all kinds of sports, regardless of the season. If you would rather just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet – the silence and solitude – you will find plenty of space to do just that at Lake Saimaa.
Finland’s nature is dynamic, changing wildly from summer to winter. The vivid green forests, blue waters and cloudless skies give way to the cool hues of snow and ice, and everything takes on a slower pace. Saimaa though, like the rest of Finland, thrives on this contrast and you’ll find the same number of opportunities for peace and quiet or for outdoor adventure as in the warm season, be it relaxing by the fire at your cabin in the woods or skiing cross-country by moonlight.
Any introduction to Lake Saimaa or Finland would be incomplete without mentioning the sauna. “Sauna” is in fact a Finnish word and with a ratio of one million saunas to five and a half million Finns in Finland, it’s a huge part of the Finnish culture and psyche. The perfect cure for the low temperatures of the northern winter or a great thrill paired with the refreshing Saimaa lakes, no visit to Finland is complete without a trip to the sauna!
Finland is closer than you think. Travelling by plane, the Finnish capital of Helsinki is less than two or three hours from most countries in Europe, and all Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Varkaus are easily within reach from there by car, bus or train. “There’s also a route by plane between Savonlinna and Helsinki. Airlink flights, operated by BASe airlines, run twice daily, Monday to Friday, and offer a quick and affordable way of travelling to and from the capital. Visit them at www.airlink.fi.