Finland is the beautiful land of forests and lakes. Saimaa is Finland's largest lake connecting several cities including the stunning city of Savonlinna. Lake Saimaa region has an amazing and calm countryside, a real natural paradise offering peace and beauty. Savonlinna is also situated on four islands between lakes Haapavesi and Pihlajavesi. There are two national parks in the region, Kolovesi and Linnansaari, suitable for various outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, and cycling, giving nature and culture lovers a reason for a rewarding and important destination to visit Savonlinna.
Medieval castle of Olavinlinna
Olavinlinna is the well-preserved medieval castle in the city of Savonlinna overlooking Lake Saimaa and forests on the coastline. It remains as one of the best known sight destinations in Finland. The castle is built on an island that connects two lakes. It has remained as an intact stone fortress from the Middle Ages and where Savonlinna Opera Festival is held annually.
The castle was founded during Swedish Crown in 1475 by Erik Axelsson Tott with the purpose of protecting the Savo region from Russian forces. The castle museum provides information about the history of the castle. When the Olavinlinna was being built, people with different skills started to come to see what else was needed for the castle. This is when Savonlinna became the place to find skilled craftsmen. Nowadays, visitors will see and enjoy their workshops and boutiques at the old train station and at the old part of Savonlinna.
Savonlinna Opera Festival
The Olavinlinna medieval castle surrounding the amazing Lake Saimaa makes a delightful attraction to invite and drag people from around the world to the famous and well known Savonlinna Opera Festival each year in July. It's almost 100 years now that the city of Savonlinna hosts this even for music lovers to enjoy and experience the Finnish talent and quality performances. The Opera Festival is popular not only within the locals, but also in the international scene. The organizers of this festival mostly showcase the best Finnish opera singers and would sometimes include some foreign artists.
How to get to Savonlinna
Savonlinna is in the middle of eastern Finland and Lake Saimaa. The cities close by are Mikkeli, Joensuu, Varkaus, Kuopio, and Lappeenranta. You can drive by car from Helsinki for about 3 hours or take the bus, train, boat or airplane. Here's a useful website for more detailed information: visitsavonlinna.fi
Accommodation There are many different ways to enjoy the stay in Savonlinna. The best option specially in the summer time is to stay in a wooden charming cottage house near Lake Saimaa in the middle of forest. If you wish to be close to different local services, there are other options like hotels, city apartments or even camping areas. For more information, check out visitsavonlinna.fi Where and what to eat The city of Savonlinna produces and offers local fresh food from Lake Saimaa and the surrounding countryside. International cuisines are also available. There are charming wooden coffee houses and restaurants in the old town and a beautiful marketplace coffeehouse. Visiting the market square of Savonlinna is worth it. The harbour close to it gives a magnificent view. Visitors usually enjoy eating the authentic Savonlinna's famous delicacy called lörtsy, which comes in savoury or sweet flavors.