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Welcome to Lakeland - the heart of Finland

A blue labyrinth of lakes, islands, rivers and canals, interspersed with forests and ridges, stretching for hundreds of kilometers in a placid and staggeringly beautiful expanse. In the waters of Lake Saimaa, by far the greatest attraction is nature: the archipelago, over 14 000 islands, lake scenery and the clear water. If you are lucky, you may even see a Saimaa ringed seal basking on a rock on a summer's day. Enjoy the beautiful and pure Finnish nature, magnificent Lakeland views, intriguing cultural sights in addition to local food and people.

Experiences in Lakeland

Day 1 & 2

Mikkeli Region and Rantasalmi

Drive from Helsinki to Mikkeli
Mikkeli (St.Michel), the heart of Lakeland Finland, is well-known especially for its beautiful manors, numerous destinations of nature, excellent local-food, holiday activities and its war history. Did you know that Mikkeli is also the holiday capital of Finland - there are over 10 400 cottages in Mikkeli region!
Tertti Manor
Tertti Manor is a functioning farm, a heaven for gastronomes and a cosy farm hotel located by only 7km from Mikkeli city center. The Manor Shop and the Dairy Café are open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. Lunch is served daily. The main building's restaurant as well as our charming guest rooms are available all year round by request. Restaurant stands out for its calm atmosphere and traditional Finnish cuisine which are provided by unique views from the window. Restaurant has appreciated Chaîne des Rôtisseurs shield. Interior which is kept from 1890's gives a sense of being a special and important guest. Traditions, given from generation to generation and combined with new technologies and natural products which are grown in manor garden, guarantee high food and service quality
Kenkävero vicarage
Kenkävero is a magnificent tourist attraction and prides itself on having the biggest and most beautiful vicarage in all Finland, in an impressive milieu. It has something to interest everyone at all times of the year: fine restored buildings, exciting exhibitions and events, exquisite handicrafts as gifts, souvenirs or simply to enjoy. In summer it is further enhanced by a garden and handicraft workshops, and delicious food is served in the restaurant daily all year round.

Admire the rare findings of Astuvansalmi rock paintings
Dating back to approximately 4000-2200 BCE, around 80 pictures have been found on Astuvansalmi’s rock. The motifs include human figures, moose, boats, fish, lines, as well as hand and paw prints. The curiosity of Astuvansalmi is the female figure holding a bow, often called Artemis of Astuvansalmi. Depictions of women with weapons in rock art have not been found anywhere else in Finland. The paintings are protected by the Antiquities Act.
Take a cable ferry to Niinisaari island and try baking traditional Finnish “Karelian pies” with Paula 
Niinisaari is a vibrant village in the southern archipelago of Puumala. Hostess of Okkola Farm, Paula, guides you to the secrets of baking Finnish berry pies or traditional salty karelian pies in her own kitchen. Alongside baking pies you will get acquainted with genuine Finnish country house. As well with Paula you will get familiar with rural entrepreneurship, local flavours and authentic Savo region’s hospitality.
Saimaanranta Resort
Saimaanranta Resort is a wellness tourism destination located in a scenic location on Lake Saimaa in South Savo. Our wooden villas, decorated in Scandinavian style, offer the perfect setting for enjoying life, relaxing and spending your holidays, as well as for important meetings. Our modern villas offer a combination of Saimaa's nature and Scandinavian design. The decoration of each villa corresponds to a specific artist, whose works are on display inside the villa. The décor of the villas combines Finnish classics with designer products by young designers.
Sahanlahti ResortThe scenic holiday resort Sahanlahti is located by Lake Saimaa, only 45-minute drive from Mikkeli. In Sahanlahti you will spend a relaxed holiday, enjoy first-class dining experiences or organize a memorable party in historically valuable and unique sawmill surroundings. The hillside view of the resort is a breathtaking experience and our welcoming staff will ensure that you have everything you need for a perfect holiday
Okkola Holiday Cottages 
Hotel and Spa Resort Järvisydän
Järvisydän is a vibrant resort with plenty of activities or peace and quiet, whatever you wish to do. Nestled in a bay of Lake Saimaa, the resort offers luxury accommodation, an amazing spa and lots of nature activities. The resort has been run by Heiskanen family since 1658 and is steeped in tradition.
Accommodation in Mikkeli 

Day 3 & 4

Savonlinna and Punkaharju

Drive from Rantasalmi to Savonlinna
The varied nature of the area of Savonlinna shows the beauty and gracefulness of Finland’s Lakeland. From Savonlinna, a traveller can quickly get to the beautiful scenery of Punkaharju so characteristic of Finland, the rugged rocky shores of Kolovesi National Park, and the open waters and many islands of Linnansaari National Park. Savonlinna itself is built on islands, so Lake Saimaa is never far away.
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. 
On the way from Savonlinna to Punkaharju, visit Kerimäki wooden church
The church of Kerimäki is the world’s largest Christian wooden church and has the most spacious interior in Finland. It is 45 meters long, 42 meters wide and 27 meters high. The height of the dome is 37 meters. There are altogether 1670 metres of pews and a seating capacity for over 3000 people
Try the local dish “Muikku”at Café & Hotel Saima.   
A must try, these small white fish are caught from the nearby Lake Saimaa, fried with rye flour and butter and served with fresh creamed potatoes.
Drive along the Road of the century
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.
Rent a kayak or a small boat from Harjun portti resort to discover the crystal clear water of Puruvesi-lake.
Café & Hotel Saima.  
The newly created boutique style accommodation consists of 6 rooms in total, including 5 double rooms with en-suite bathrooms and a twin room with separate bathroom facilities. All the hotel rooms in this historic 1897 building have been renovated into high standard hotel rooms in 2017.
Lossiranta Lodge
Lossiranta Lodge is a small boutique hotel in Savonlinna, closest to Olavinlinna Castle. Each one of the five rooms is a unique entity with stylish design. Every room has own entrance and a small terrace. View from the rooms is straight to the lake and Olavinlinna Castle. Lossiranta is open all year round. Lossiranta Lodge has joined an international environmental program Green Key.
Lomamokkila and B&B Taipaleenniemi
Lomamokkila provides an excellent setting for a holiday in Savonlinna in the heart of Saimaa lake area. You can choose Bed&Breakfast in rooms of high quality or enjoy peace and quiet in lakeside cottages all around the year. We also offer delicious meals and use our own products.
Kruunupuisto resort.  
Unique location in the Nature Reserve Area ensures natural peacefulness for everyone visiting Kruunupuisto for rehabilitation, well-being and holiday. Staying in an early 20th-century Art Noveau building or charming Villa Urhola, gives a historic touch of nostalgia while enjoying renovated rooms, ranging from standard to superior. The spa and gym facilities, pampering treatments and excellent opportunities for guided indoor and outdoor activities in the unique landscape all year around complement your stay.
Accommodation in Savonlinna.     
Accommodation in Punkaharju 


Day 5 & 6

Imatra and Lappeenranta

Lappeenranta and Imatra are located in the region of South Karelia in southeastern Finland. The magnificent metropolis of St. Petersburg is just about 200 km away from Lappeenranta and Imatra. The region's cultural life is rich and varied, mixing both old and new. There are events galore, particularly during the summer months. The greatest natural wonders in Lappeenranta and Imatra region are the two parallel Salpauselkä ridges, dividing the whole province - a scenery that always has interesting stories to tell.
Strange attractions on the way
Located in Parikkala, the Parikkala Statue Park with more than 550 strange concrete statues and a lush garden, forms a very special entity worth visiting.
The Ruokolahti forest hides a natural wonder which is definitely one of the most interesting sights in South Karelia. Kummakivi is a large glacier-carried boulder with a size of about 7 m x 4 m x 5 m and a weight of 500 tons.
Vuoksi Fishing Park.  
Vuoksi Fishing Park offers versatile services. There are fishing licenses and equipment available as well as possibility to prepare and smoke fish.
The famous Imatrankoski rapids and one of the most beautiful buildings in Finland, Scandic Imatran ValtionhotelliThe Fortress of Lappeenranta and the historic district
Step on board – Have a cruise experience on Saimaa
There are numerous cruises available that take you around local routes or all the way to Vyborg.
Go shopping at Iso Kristiina shopping center
Pamper yourself with spa experiences
Go cycling along Saimaa Archipelago Route.  
Cottages - Hotels - Farm stays and B&B


Route Map

Total route apprx. 844 km / 524 miles

Helsinki - Mikkeli 231 km / 144 miles
Mikkeli - Puumala (Niinisaari) 84 km / 52 miles
Puumala - Rantasalmi 87 km / 54 miles
Rantasalmi - Savonlinna 44 km / 27 miles
Savonlinna - Punkaharju (via Kerimäki) 48 km / 30 miles
Punkaharju - Imatra 90 km / 56 miles
Imatra - Lappeenranta 35 km / 22 miles
Lappeenranta - Helsinki 225 km / 140 miles

Driving in Finland

Driving in Finland
Driving tips

Follow the weather


Bring along

  • International driving permit
  • Comfortable outdoor clothing
  • Swimming suit for sauna

Sustainable Travel Finland

Sustainable Travel Finland label will make it easier for travel trade and travellers to recognize a tourism company and destination that takes sustainability seriously. The label is only awarded for those companies and destinations that have undergone the entire Sustainable Travel Finland programme and fulfilled the criteria. The programme includes regular auditing and renewal of the label. Find sustainable travel options and STF labelled companies on

Useful links

Experience Sustainable Finland 
Sustainability - Visit Finland
Sustainable Travel Tips