The 10 Best Things to Do in Southern Savonia, Finland

January 6, 2018 Emerita Lamoureux

Southern Savonia (Finnish: Etelä-Savo; Swedish: Södra Savolax) is a region in the south-east of Finland. It borders on the regions Pohjois-Savo, North Karelia, South Karelia, Päijät-Häme, and Central Finland. The total area of Southern Savonia is 18,768.33 km (7,246.5 sq mi), with a population of 153,738 (2011).
Restaurants in Southern Savonia

1. Olavinlinna Castle

Savonlinna 57130, Finland +358 29 5336942
Excellent
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4.5 based on 469 reviews

Olavinlinna Castle

The building of Olavinlinna, castle of St. Olaf, began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region. The castle was supposed to repel Russian attacks from the east and to guarantee the control of the Savo region for the Swedish Crown. The history of Olavinlinna is a mixture of medieval arms clashing, cannons roaring and every-day chores inside the security of the castle's thick walls. The changes in the ownership of the castle left their mark on Olavinlinna: this can be seen in the varied architecture of the castle. These days the castle's halls and rooms can be rented and used for all kinds of events.

Reviewed By Tiikeri2011 - Mikkeli, Finland

Might seem like an obvious statement, but whilst visiting the castle on a guided tour last weekend, I saw too many women struggling with high heels and too many kids petrified of the steep staircases. Olavinlinna is a medieval castle and the history tour is incredibly interesting, but you need to be aware of the limits of your party in order to make the most of the tour. You are not able to visit any of the towers unless you are accompanied by an official guide, which means joining one of the official tours starting every hour during the summer and also climbing 90+ very steep steps up and down the towers.
Even if you don't want to take the tour, you will get to look around the lower parts of the castle and let the atmosphere sink in. Olavinlinna is an exceptional place and definitely worth a visit - whatever the season.

2. Kerimaki Church

Kerimaentie, Kerimaki 58200, Finland +358 15 5789123
Excellent
59%
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4.5 based on 102 reviews

Kerimaki Church

Reviewed By Lyeheng - Singapore, Singapore

Beautiful old wooden church that worth to drop by this quite town . It was the largest wooden church in Finland. Located 5-10min walk at the main town.

3. Lusto - The Finnish Forest Museum

Lustontie 1, Punkaharju 58450, Finland +358 15 345100
Excellent
74%
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4.5 based on 63 reviews

Lusto - The Finnish Forest Museum

Lusto is a national museum and science centre of international importance focusing on Finnish forest culture. Lusto is situated in the rural district of Punkaharju in south-eastern Finland, at the heart of the Saimaa lake district. Lusto’s Exhibitions, events, work demonstrations and theme days provide a diverse and illustrative insight into the significance of Forests in the life of Finns. Lusto is sure to appeal to visitors of all ages.

Reviewed By ShannonPH - Atlanta, Georgia

Our hotel owner in Savonlinna suggested we visit this museum and I have to admit that at first we didn't think it sounded that interesting. However, after Reading some reviews on TripAdvisor we decided to go for it and we are so glad we did! The museum is absolutely beautiful and the exhibit was fascinating. It provided a lot of insight into the history of Finland more broadly, in addition to the forestry industry. It was one of the highlights of my parents trip to Finland and I highly recommend a visit!

Ristimaenkatu 2 50100 Mikkeli, Finland, Mikkeli 50100, Finland +358 40 0143300
Excellent
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4.5 based on 52 reviews

Mikkeli Cathedral

Reviewed By GGriNdeR - Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam

It was raining, when we entered the Cathedral, and the wedding ceremony met us in the entrance, so nice to see it in the contrrast of northern nature, dark catholic church and beautiful bride in white dress... We were pleased to visit this place.

5. Linnansaari National Park

Rantasalmi, Rantasalmi 58900, Finland +358 20 6395929
Excellent
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4.5 based on 31 reviews

Linnansaari National Park

Reviewed By JariJK - Kouvola, Finland

This is Finland's most beautiful place for tour skating (aka Nordic skating, trip skating or wild skating). The route from Porosalmi to Oravi is a bit over 18 kilometers in one direction. Almost the whole route is located in Linnansaari National Park.
We started our skating trip from Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän (read separate TripAdvisor reviews) in Porosalmi, Rantasalmi. The cost of a tour skating package (skates, shoes, poles, a helmet, a route ticket) was 24 euros per day (66 euros per week). Alternatively you could choose a kick sled or a cross-country skiing set. Even winter fishing sets are available.
It is only 3 kilometers from Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän to Kaarnetsaari Island. There is a crepe cafeteria there. You may fry your own crepes in a fireplace inside a small cottage. You can also buy salty pies, brownies, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, beer, cider and wine there.
From Kaarnetsaari Island it is less than 1 kilometer to Pieni-Lappi Island. There is a campfire site there. After that it is a quite long way to Linnansaari Island, the main island of Linnansaari National Park. After Linnansaari Island it is only 5 kilometers to the village of Oravi, which is situated between the national parks of Linnansaari and Kolovesi. You can take a rest in Oravi and then skate back to Porosalmi. Or you can turn back anywhere, because it is a two-way route.
There are accommodation possibilities also in Oravi, Savonlinna. So you can rent a tour skating package and start you skating trip from Oravi, too.
The best skating season is in late January or in February. Sometimes the route may be in good condition until mid March. We were skating in late February and the route was in excellent condition. It was impossible to lose one's way and lake ice was perfect. However, notice that this activity depends on the weather. Sometimes only routes from Porosalmi to Kaarnetsaari Island (3 kilometers) and from Oravi to Linnansaari Island (5 kilometers) are open - or even they may be closed. Luckily there are also many other interesting activities in Porosalmi and Oravi.
You can also book guided winter excursions from Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän to Linnansaari National Park. They have excursions to Kaarnetsaari Island. You may choose if you to go there by skates, skis, snowshoes, kick sled or by the sleigh.
In summer they have many other excursions, e.g. guided wooden boat tours and even Saimaa ringed seal Safaris. The Saimaa ringed seal is one of the most endangered seals in the whole world. It lives only in Lake Saimaa and the total population is about 380 individuals.
There is also a wooden observation tower (address Porosalmentie 360, Rantasalmi) 500 meters after Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän. From there you can see the national park higher. The walking distance from the road is about 100 meters.
We will definitely come back in summer!

6. New Valamo Monastery

Valamontie 42 | Uusi-Valamo, Heinavesi 79850, Finland +358 17 570111
Excellent
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4.5 based on 51 reviews

New Valamo Monastery

Reviewed By mmikko - Joensuu, Finland

Peaceful place, there are accomodation available. This is an creek orthodox monastry. There are two churches (old and new), visitors center, souvenir shop and restaurant. There are Exhibitions in the culture center, permanent in downstairs and new exhibition (open until 30.4.2016) of religious art of "masters", like Rembrandt, Chagal, Dali, Picasso, Schjerfbeck, Edelfelt, Simberg etc. Admission 3€ to 6€, children under four free - to exhibition, no admission to monastry area. There is also winery and you can buy wines from souvenir shop. If you like you can do volunteer work for monastry. Most of icons are saved from Valamo monastry, during WW2.

7. Lakeland GTE

Kuntorannantie 14, Varkaus 78200, Finland
Excellent
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5 based on 38 reviews

Lakeland GTE

Exclusive sightseeing tours by Ecoboat in lake Saimaa (Varkaus, Mikkeli, Savonlinna area), with skipper who plays accordion. Guided canoe Safaris in the national parks of eastern Finland: Kolovesi, southern Konnevesi, Linnansaari. Kayak Fishing tours for fishing enthousiastics. We guarantee the best summer experiences. Let me be your Lakeland guide.

Reviewed By Vincent190485 - Southampton, United Kingdom

A big thanks to Arto for his support in preparing and providing great logistics and advice for a 6 day canoe trip in autonomy, 5 days round Kolovesi and 1 day back to Oravi with my dad. Despite very late in the season, Arto made this trip possible by renting the equipment we needed. The result was 2 days of snow and 4 days of rain but a wonderful exploration of Kolovesi National Park and the beautiful Wilderness of central Savonia, and great fishing! To all out there dreaming of the great Finnish canoe escape this is the spot! Kiittos Arto.

8. Lietvesi Scenic Road

Lietvedentie, Puumala, Finland
Excellent
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4.5 based on 15 reviews

Lietvesi Scenic Road

Reviewed By Anand R

Words and pictures cannot explain the magnificent views along this road. We had planned to complete the Vihreän kullan kulttuuritie road trip just for seeing this part of Puumala and it was worth the visit. Roads sway between the lakes and it gives a totally different view of Finland in the summers. I recommend this place as part of the rad trip itinerary through lakeside Finland.

9. The Astuvansalmi rock paintings

Suurlahdentie 2039 | At the Shores of the Lake Yovesi, Ristiina 52360, Finland
Excellent
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4.5 based on 17 reviews

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings

Reviewed By JariJK - Kouvola, Finland

Astuvansalmi rocks paintings (Astuvansalmen kalliomaalaukset in Finnish) are about 5,000 years old. They are situated on the shores of Lake Yövesi, Saimaa, in the village of Ristiina (which belongs to the city of Mikkeli). This is a free attraction and it is always open (but in the winter the path may be very difficult and risky to walk).
You can see these rock paintings by taking a cruise from the city of Mikkeli or from Anttolanhovi Inn in the village of Anttola, Mikkeli. You can also drive by your car quite near to these rock paintings, as we did.
The address of the parking place is Suurlahdentie 2039, Ristiina (Mikkeli). It is situated 20 kilometers from the highway 15 (through the village of Ristiina and then along the asphalt road number 4323). There are traffic signs "Astuvansalmen kalliomaalaukset" which tell you the right way from the highway 15.
You have to walk about 2.2-2.5 kilometers (one way) from the parking place to the rock paintings. It takes about 30-60 minutes. The route is quite easy to walk although it is a forest path. There are very beautiful views on the way. You see lakes, Forests and cliffs. There are also some benches on which you can take a rest. If the weather is fine, normal walking shoes or running shoes are enough.
Astuvansalmi is Finland's largest single rock painting site. The painted area is almost 17 meters high and 8 meters wide. Over 60 painted individual designs have been identified. The paintings are some of the largest in the Nordic Countries.
There are 20 figures of European elk and 17 human figures (including three female figures) 20-50 centimeters in height there. There are also 11 boat designs and a hand impression which can be seen very clearly. Other paintings are not as clear.
This place is very striking!

10. Art Centre Salmela

Maentyharjuntie 25, Mantyharju 52700, Finland +358 50 3388114
Excellent
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4.5 based on 13 reviews

Art Centre Salmela

Reviewed By Heljä M

In Salmela you can enjoy both interesting contemporary art (young Finnish artists) and great finnish lake and countryside view. The restaurant offers good food and the lunch buffet is tasteful with typical finnish food. You can also buy art in Salmela.We thank you for your comment and we welcome you again.

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