Savonlinna is a town in the southeast of Finland located in the middle of Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland, where the spectacular and varied nature is unmatched. Vast expanses of open water contrast with narrows, inlets and labyrinthine mazes of islands, many with beautiful rocky caves and steep, craggy cliffs. The Savonlinna region has a rich culture and history to interest visitors, as well as action and adventure. Savonlinna is one of the most rewarding destinations for the nature loving outdoorsy type.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Finland then best time to visit depends on what you’re wishing to do as the winter season from December through to April is ideal for dog sledding and winter sports (Feb and Mar best time to go for daylight) whereas the arrival of the spring in May sees the sun making a welcoming return prior to the long hot summer days. During the summer, the bustling Savonlinna marketplace offers a great place for local delicacies, coffee and refreshments, while restaurants open their doors to travellers and steamboats cruise amongst the calm waves of Lake Saimaa. One of the world’s most renowned opera festivals, held annually in summer in the month of July, in the incredible setting of a medieval castle, it has been attracting music lovers from around the world for almost 100 years.
Top Places to Visit in Savonlinna
1. Olavinlinna Castle
Olavinlinna Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Scandinavia, and is the site of two museums outlining its history and displaying a wealth of orthodox treasures. Moored outside the museums are three historic and beautiful ships, the Mikko, the Salama, and the Savonlinna, each one housing exhibitions. 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 courtyard of Castle Olavinlinna is the annual setting for the world-famous Opera Festival, where for four weeks every summer in July operatic performances attract thousands of visitors and some of the best performers internationally.
2. Linnansaari National Park
Linnansaari National Park consists of hundreds of islands and big open lakes. It is a wonderful area for day trips, camping and boating. In Linnansaari you might even get to see the endangered Saimaa ringed seals. Many nature paths and hiking routes await you. From a sightseeing point you can admire the astounding scenery of Lake Saimaa.
3. Kolovesi National Park
Kolovesi National Park, which spans over three counties (Enonkoski, Heinävesi,Savonlinna) is 55km2. this national park is ideal for canoeing and kayaking. There is a nature trail and a hiking trail which lets you get to know the area and the surrounding nature. The most famous sight at Kolovesi National Park is Ukonvuori. Its magnificent stone inclines will stay in your mind. On its walls it also has ancient rock paintings which are definitely worth seeing. In Kolovesi National Park silence is guaranteed; because of nesting sites of the Saimaa ringed seal, using motorized boats is forbidden in almost the whole park.
4. Kerimäki 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.
Winter in Savonlinna
During the winter months in the Savonlinna region, you can ski downhill and cross-country, ice skate, or even snowshoe on lake Saimaa. The snow covered Lake Saimaa is rugged and magnificent, its skating tracks and ski routes winding past islands and islets that leave you with an unforgettable experience. There are many things to see and experience in the Savonlinna region during winter months, including concerts, theatre and museums.