Outdoors Finland – 10 things to do in Saimaa

Saimaa is the biggest lake in Finland and also the fourth biggest natural freshwater lake in Europe. Surrounded by cities as Varkaus, Savonlinna and Mikkeli it’s not only a great place for some urban adventures but mostly it’s a perfect spot for various outdoor activities.

Finland is a true natural paradise. And you know what? Most people speak English, it’s pretty affordable (especially compared to other Nordic countries) and the food is great. The Saimaa region is awesome and there are plenty of things to do. So what are you waiting for? Pack you bags, fly to Finland and enjoy!


  1. Eat vendace or vendace roe, which is special delicacy in Lake Saimaa region. The Lake Saimaa region has been awarded the prestigious, international European Region of Gastronomy title for year 2024. The unique gastronomy and culture of Eastern Finland are celebrated with rich experiences that combine the purest food in the world and the original culture.
  2. Experience the Saimaa Ringed Seal watching cruise. Try to spot one of the most endangered seals in the world!
  3. Discover Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings, which constitute the largest rock art site in Northern Europe.
  4. Visit Olavinlinna Castle or enjoy the world-class Opera Festival, set in the globe’s northernmost medieval castle.
  5. Experience the activities of four seasons. How about paddling, hiking, biking, tour-skating, fishing, yoga, forest meditation, sightseeing cruises… You name it!
  6. Join the Karelian Pie workshop with Paula at Okkola Holiday Cottages. A curiosity for many foreigners, this rye-crusted pie filled with creamy rice porridge is cooked in a tradional wood burning oven and served with lashings of egg-butter. Hearty and delicious, this pastry has been made in the region for centuries and is an important part of Saimaa’s cultural and gastronomic heritage.  
  7. Try a traditional Finnish lakeside sauna surrounded by the magnificent nature of Lake Saimaa. If you want, the local host in Uhkua will join you in the sauna and teach you the best traditions to fulfil the sauna experience.
  8. Visit Muisti War and Peace Center in Mikkeli, which is a modern museum which examines the effects of war from the perspective of human experience.
  9. Ensure the restful night’s sleeps at PihlasResort, Elsanranta or Kuru Resort.
  10. Dine at Tertti Menor, recognized as one of the world’s top restaurant by National Geographic.