In the picturesque Finnish Lakeland, on a small island between the Haapavesi and Pihlajavesi lakes there is an old fortress. This fortress is the historical center and the main attraction of Savonlinna.
Savonlinna travel information
The town of Savonlinna is located in the eastern part of the Lake District of Finland. There are a large number of lakes in the region, separated by isthmuses, ridges and islands. The town of Savonlinna is also partly located on the islands, surrounded by water. Residents of Finland like to spend their summer vacation in this region, on the lake shore or on the islands. Foreign tourists also often visit this region. The most famous event in Savonlinna is the annual opera festival, which takes place in a medieval fortress. Boats tours are also popular on the Lake Saimaa in summer.
Distance from the city of Savonlinna to some cities: Helsinki - 330 kilometers, Turku - 470 kilometers, Lappeenranta - 150 kilometers, Mikkeli - 90 kilometers, St. Petersburg - 320 kilometers, Petrozavodsk - 410 kilometers.
Details of the history of the city
The history of the city begins in 1475, when the Danish knight Erik Tott founded a fortress on the island. It was built to protect country from the eastern neighbors. The fortress was named in honor of St. Olav - Olavinlinna. At first it was also called the New Fortress. A settlement was established n the neighboring island. The settlement received the rights of the city in 1639. The city was called Savonlinna. The Saimaa Canal opening and the railway construction improved the economy of the city. The quiet beauty of these places attracts many tourists to the city in the summer.
About the city
Olavinkatu is the central street of Savonlinna. The street is running from northwest to southeast, passing the Market Square (Savonlinnan kauppatori) towards the fortress of Olavinlinna. The length of the street is about 1.25 kilometers. On the street and next to it, there are many shops and cafes. The market square is located approximately in the middle of the street, next to the strait between two lakes. The passenger port is located near the market square. The distance from the port and the market square to the medieval fortress is about 900 meters. There is also a railway station next to the market square. You can walk along the shore of the lake from the fortress to the port and the market square (Martti Talvelan puistotie and Erik Laxmannin puistotie).
Attractions and interesting places
The medieval Olavinlinna fortress is one of Finland's most famous landmarks. The construction of the fortress was started in 1475 by the knight Eric Tott on the orders of the Swedish king to protect these lands from an attack from the east. The history of the fortress is rich in events, which you will be told when visiting the fortress. The International Opera Festival is annually held in the fortress in the summer. In the fortress, you can also rent rooms for meetings. There is a museum that is open for visitors all year round.
The Savonlinna history museum is located near the fortress of Olavinlinna on the Riihisaari Island. The museum building was built in 1852 for grain trade. Originally, the museum was located in the fortress of Olavinlinna, but was later moved to this building. The museum's activities focus on the history of the city and the region, the history of crafts and navigation on Saimaa. Near the museum, there are museum steamers "Salama" and "Mikko", which can be visited in the summer.
The Savonlinna cathedral
The cathedral construction was conducted from 1874 to 1878 under the guidance of architect Dahlström. At the end of the Winter War, on 1.03.1940 the cathedral was badly damaged during the air raid. The cathedral was rebuilt after the war. The height of the cathedral is 51 meters. It is located about 400 meters to the west of the market square.
Church in Kerimaki
The world's largest wooden church (Kerimäen kirkko) is located in the village of Kerimäki (20 kilometers from Savonlinna). The church provides seating for 3000 people. The height of the arch of the main hall is 27 meters. The church was designed by the architect Granstedt. The construction was completed in 1848. Dimensions: length 45 meters, width 42 meters, the top point of the cross - 37 meters.
Linnansaari National Park
The Linnansaari National Park is located at a distance approximately 45 kilometers north-west of Savonlinna. This is a great place for nature lovers. The park is located on the island of Linnansaari and on nearby islands. The length of the park is about 40 kilometers. In summer, you can go boating (kayaking) and in winter skating and skiing. On the island, there is also a camping site on the territory of which there are places for tents. You can get to the island only by water.
Kolovesi National Park
Kolovesi National Park is located on the islands, about 40 kilometers north of Savonlinna. There are drawings made by people about 5000 years ago on the rocks. Access to the park is open in summer only. It may be recommended for kayaking lovers.
Punkaharju is a stone ridge that arose during the glacial period. The ridge divides the two lakes - Puruvesi and Pihlajavesi. This is a unique place, giving the opportunity to experience all the fascination of the lake region of Finland in one place. Passing to Savonlinna on the road number 14, you will not miss Punkaharju, a narrow strip of land about seven kilometers long surrounded on both sides by water. There are located in Punkaharju: Punkaharju Resort, summer water park "Kesämaa", museum of forest "Lusto", hotel.
The Opera Festival is the most famous annual event in the city of Savonlinna. The festival is held annually in the summer, during the White Nights period in a medieval fortress. It was first held in 1912 on the initiative of the opera star Aino Acte. The festival gives an opportunity to admire not only the beauty of music, but also the splendor of Finnish lake landscapes. If you plan to come to the city during the festival, then you should take care of the place to stay well in advance (places in hotels are usually not enough for everyone).
"Spahotel Casino" hotel
"Spahotel Casino" is the most popular hotel in Savonlinna. The complex of buildings is located on a separate private island, not far from the city center. The medieval fortress is located 1.5 kilometers from the hotel. The hotel has 80 rooms, swimming pools, a gym, a restaurant and saunas. The hotel has meeting facilities for up to 80 people. (Despite the name, the hotel does not have a casino.)
You can book a hotel room online.
Address: Kylpylalaitoksentie, 7, Savonlinna, Finland.
"Pietari Kylliäinen" hotel
Pietari Kylliäinen hotel is located in a beautiful location near the city center. The hotel has 48 rooms. The distance to the main sight of the city, the medieval Olavinlinna castle, is about 600 meters. The market square, the passenger port, shops and cafes are within walking distance. The hotel has a restaurant, sauna, bowling, gym and rooms to hold meetings.
Address: Olavinkatu 15, 57130 Savonlinna, Finland.
The "Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone" is located in the city center, next to the Market Square and the port. Many of the hotel rooms offer a beautiful view of the lake. The hotel has two saunas with a terrace and a view of the lake, restaurants and a bar. There are rooms for meetings in the hotel. The Olavinlinna fortress of is located within walking distance.
Address: Kauppatori square 4-6, Savonlinna.
The "Vuohimäki" camping is located about 7 kilometers west of the town of Savonlinna, on the shore of Lake Pihlajavesi. In the campsite there are country houses (in each house there is a toilet, shower and mini-kitchen), places for campers, tents, saunas, mini-golf. There is a shower, washing machines, a kitchen like in all campsites. Attention: during the days of the opera festival and the Juhannus feast the prices in the camp are much higher than usual.
Address: Sun Camping Vuohimäki Savonlinna, Pärnäläntie 21.
In the lake region of Finland, there is large number of holiday homesof different sizes and levels of comfort. Such houses are usually located on the shore of the lake, and have everything you need for a comfortable living. City residents like to spend one or two weeks in these houses during the summer holidays. Among the residents of big cities of Europe there are also a lot of lovers of leisure in Finland. Guests come from America rarely in this region. You can rent a house on the lake shore by using one of the international reservation services (booking.com or Interhome).
How to get there?
If you drive by car from Helsinki, your path lies past the cities of Lahti and Mikkeli: road E75, motorway 5, motorway 14. If you are going to Savonlinna by car from Russia, you should take the motorway No.6 from Lappeenranta to the north, and then turn to the road No. 14 near the village of Särkisalmi.
Savonlinna can be reached by rail from many cities in Finland. The railway station is located in the city center. The bus station is located about 800 meters to the west of the Market Square.
Tourists can get to Savonlinna by plane from Helsinki. The airport is located about 13 kilometers north of the city center. The distance to the recreation center in Punkaharju is about 40 kilometers. Address: Lentoasemantie 50, 57310, Savonlinna, Finland.