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Surrender yourself to Saimaa

15th April 2010 Print
Saimaa, Finland

A labyrinth of 120 clear blue lakes dotted with 14,000 green islands, Saimaa Lakeland forms the largest continuous lake district in all of Europe.

Located in South Karelia and Savo, in the South Eastern part of the country the Saimaa lake district has historically been a renowned tourist attraction for the Russian elite from St. Petersburg and city dwellers from the Finnish capital area. The lake district has more water than land, and the archipelago has a shoreline of an astonishing 14,850 kilometres; five times greater than the shoreline of Thailand, and rivalling the shoreline of the North American Great Lakes combined!

To guide you through this natural maze, 15 local destinations have come together to show the Charms of Saimaa. These destinations offer the best in local cuisine, culture, history as well as other delights.

Summer Tour of Saimaa

The Charms of Saimaa is a co-operation of 15 enchanting destinations around the Saimaa region. The variety of services offered includes distinctive hotel and farm accommodation, high-class restaurants, delightful boutiques, and atmospheric steamboat cruises.

Next Hotel Satulinna is an early 20th century manor, which serves as a hotel, restaurant, conference venue, as well as sauna and spa village. At Satulinna, there is the possibility to enjoy the nature of southern Savo, bathe in a traditional Finnish smoke sauna, swim in the clear blue waters of Lake Puulavesi, and indulge with a variety of beauty treatments. The former barn of the manor now serves as a restaurant in the summer time; serving food prepared using all-organic ingredients.

Those looking for a culinary experience should try Tertti Manor. In this delightful manor hotel and gourmet haven in southern Savo, the charms of the past meet modern comfort. The manor dates back to the 1500’s and has been run by the same family for over a century. Tertti is known for its high-class cuisine: this year, The Finnish Gastronomic Society acknowledged Tertti’s achievements in consistently promoting high-quality gastronomy, as well as sustaining the authentic manor house atmosphere. One of the secrets behind Tertti’s cuisine is their passion for local and organic produce. The restaurant serves rye bread based on a 100-year-old dough root from local suppliers, partridge and other game hunted from the manor’s own forests, and salads and herbs grown in Tertti’s own garden.

At the Ollinmäki Wine Farm in Anttola award-winning wines made from Finnish berries and fruits are produced. A Central European wine-making technique – with a healthy dose of Finnish pioneering spirit – is used to turn the berries into wine. In addition to the berries, the names of all the wines come from Finland as well, from an old collection of songs and hymns called Kanteletar.

For getting around Saimaa cars should be left ashore and instead visitors can enjoy travelling back centuries on a nostalgic steamship cruise. Sightseeing cruises on the traditional handmade Finnish steamships S/S Paul Wahl or S/S Punkaharju offer an insight into the history of the Finnish inland lake. The tour travels around the Saimaa Lake district and Savonlinna’s famous medieval Olavinlinna castle, home to the world-famous opera festival held at the height of summer each year. Daily cruises in the Savonlinna archipelago between the 1st June–31st August 2010, are at noon, and at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. on the S/S Paul Wahl, and at 11 a.m. and 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. on the S/S Punkaharju.

These are only a few examples of the Saimaa region’s charming possibilities. For more information about the Charms of Saimaa, visit

For a complete six-day Charms of Saimaa Summer tour, check the Savonlinna travel website at

For more information about tourism in Finland, see

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Saimaa, Finland