Strengths of Saimaa

Nature, culture, activities, and food are the four strengths of Saimaa

Saimaa is authentic. Clean nature, changing seasons, diverse cultural sites and delicious culinary experiences invite you to enjoy unique experiences at Saimaa.

Sustainable nature travel in Saimaa Geopark

Saimaa is a Geopark recognised by UNESCO, full of interesting natural attractions, geological and historical sites such as the Astuvansalmi rock paintings, Neitvuori hill and Punkaharju ridges and the Kolovesi and Linnasaari national parks. The greatest natural wonder of Saimaa is the most endangered seal in the world – the Saimaa ringed seal, which has inhabited Saimaa for more than 8,000 years. This cuddly cutie can also be sighted on a seal trip in Saimaa.

Activities and well-being for all seasons

You can easily reach the national parks, nature sites and trails in the Saimaa region from any direction and by any means of transport. Themed routes around the cities of Mikkeli, Varkaus and Savonlinna include great rural sites, wonderful restaurants and accommodation, as well as unique attractions.

Of course, Saimaa is also a paradise for summer visitors and those enjoying lake-front saunas. Clean, peaceful shores, atmospheric sunrises and sunsets, gentle steams and a dip in the fresh lake water are well-being at its best.

Saimaa culture combines traditions and new developments

Saimaa has been an important waterway between East and West for thousands of years. The culture of the area has been marked by agriculture, wars, castles and manors, the way of life in rural villages and archipelago. Dozens of specialties have been created in the region, some worth visiting are listed here:

  • Great manor houses in the Mikkeli region
  • Muisti Centre of War and Peace in Mikkeli
  • Savonlinna Opera Festival the historic Olavinlinna castle
  • The Finnish Forest Museum Lusto at Punkaharju
  • Riihisaari Nature and Museum Centre in Savonlinna
  • Museum of Mechanical Music in Varkaus

Saimaa Gastronomy is local food at its best

Fine lake fish, forest products and local food produced by local farmers are examples of the purest gastronomic tastes Lake Saimaa has to offer. Many people enjoy familiar vendace, Karelian pies and lörtsy pastries, but for a more sophisticated taste you can find, for example, ecologically produced fresh sturgeon roe from Varkaus – it is also authentic local food.

As a sign of high quality, Saimaa Gastronomy restaurants have been granted the D.O. Saimaa quality and origin label. They value origin, purity, and high quality in their raw materials. Read more about D.O. Saimaa restaurants and producers.

Did you know that Saimaa boasts

15,000 kilometres of shoreline
15,000 islands
15,000 trees for every South Savo resident
approx. 50,000 holiday homes
430 ringed seals
129 manor houses, some of which also serve as travel destinations