Kuopio is a special place; situated on Lake Kallavesi in the Eastern Lake District, the town is largely built on islands. This provides a perfect and verdant environment for many activities and is also rich in flora and fauna. It has a diverse culture and a variety of festivals are held throughout the year. The city also offers many attractions and has a valuable architectural heritage. A city break in Kuopio therefore offers a wide range of activities and sights to suit all tastes.
People have been living in the Kuopio region for thousands of years, but the current City of Kuopio was founded in 1775. The city still possesses a number of buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which are well worth a visit during your trip. For instance, you could visit the Old Kuopio Museum, consisting of 11 old wooden houses, the oldest dating to the late eighteenth century. Kuopio contains the home of writer Minna Canth, and the city's older architecture is also represented by CL Engel's Kuopion Lyseo upper secondary school. The city has several fine churches, including Kuopio Cathedral and the orthodox St. Nicholas' Cathedral.
Kuopio’s diverse culture offers a wide range of things to see and do. One of the most famous events is definitely Kuopio Dance Festival, the oldest dance festival in Scandinavia. There are plenty of dance and music performances during the week, each of outstanding merit. A somewhat different experience can be found at Kuopio Wine Festival, with a different theme country every year. In addition to wines, the festival also showcases the country's cuisine, music and culture. Be sure to book your hotel well in advance of the festivities. In addition, various theatres and museums, like the Kuopio Museum, provide cultural experiences for every season.
Kuopio Market Square, which locals jokingly call the centre of the world, is one of the city's most famous attractions. From the square, you can buy traditional Savo food, such as "kalakukko" fish pies, without which a trip to Kuopio would not be complete. This traditional delicacy can also be purchased from the picturesque market hall, which is in itself well worth a visit. On the edge of Market Square you will find the Pikku Pietari market alley, with small stalls selling a variety of arts and crafts products and gift items. In Kuopio, you can spend all day shopping!
With its extensive network of lakes, Kuopio provides a variety of sports opportunities and outdoors facilities. You can find activities at Puijo sports and recreation area and admire the amazing lake scenery from Puijo tower, the main landmark in the area. In summer, the many beaches attract people to enjoy a day's sunbathing by the lakes, and in winter the same lakes can be used for ice fishing or skating. Good nearby ski resorts also offer opportunities for downhill skiing.
Kuopio enjoys excellent transport links from all over Finland. The journey from Helsinki to Kuopio takes less than an hour by plane, and about five hours by train.
Kuopio attracts both gourmets and culture lovers looking for a city break, and is surrounded by great day trip destinations, suitable also for families with children. Tourists have many, many good reasons for choosing this diverse city.