Finnish scenic countryside roads in Saimaa
Whether you’re cycling or travelling by car or motorbike, the captivating views of Saimaa’s lake district in Finland invite you on a fascinating journey. Here are a few suggestions for holiday routes in the wonderful natural Finnish countryside of Saimaa, through pine-filled forest and beautiful lake country.
The lakeside views of Route 62
One of the country’s most beautiful routes is Route 62 between Mikkeli and Ruokolahti towards Finland’s south-eastern border with Russia. The road winds through the stunning lakes and countryside of Saimaa via rural towns such as Anttola and Puumala, with open views of the rocky forested lake country so unique to Finland and Saimaa.
Take the time to visit Ollinmäki winery in Anttola, which has a long tradition of wines made from local berries and fruits, and visit the famous sandy beaches of Pistohiekka to sunbathe and swim in the summertime lakes.
Enjoy a picnic along the route’s many rest places and viewing spots such as Lietvesi, or pull over at a kiosk or local shop for souvenirs, ice cream, coffee or other refreshments like local speciality pastries while you walk amongst the unforgettable scenery of Saimaa’s lakes.
You’ll find welcoming and well-equipped campsites along the route If you’re travelling with a tent, or alternatively you can rent a comfortable summer home.
The Green Gold Culture Road
The 250km of holiday road known as the Green Gold Culture Road stretches through the Saimaa lake district from Mäntyharju to Parikkala and is particularly forest-themed. The main route follows smaller side roads which let you get even closer to the shorelines and woodland.
Forestry is as large a part of the Finnish economy and culture as ever, and “green gold” refers to the money to be made from the timber harvested from Finland’s forests. In a way, money really does grow on trees here in Saimaa!
Along the way, you’ll be able to visit many towns which offer interesting sights on nature and culture. Savonlinna is one of the largest towns in the area and has much to offer including an opera festival, a sizeable stone medieval castle and fun events.
There is so much to see along the Green Gold Culture Road, such as cultural heritage sites, archaeological sites historical buildings, richly biodiverse forests and family-friendly day trips.
Punkaharjun Harjutie –a ridge between two lakes
Punkaharjun Harjutie is a road along a very narrow ridge, reminiscent of a spit, that divides Lake Puruvesi from Lake Pihlajavesi, and is only a few kilometres long. The route, though short, is worth the trip, ideally done by bicycle, car or motorbike, with beautiful open views of the lakes on either side, mere metres from the shorelines.
The island of Laukansaari is a nature reserve with walking trails ideal for shorter hikes and walks. There’s also the Finnish Forest Museum Lusto which is well worth visiting and is right by its quaint countryside train stop, and the Hotelli Punkaharju (former State Hotel Valtion Hotelli – the firts hotel in Finland still running) on the route itself.