Culture and lake scenery while on holiday in Savonlinna

This city on the shore of Lake Saimaa is known for Olavinlinna Castle, tasty herrings and lörtsy pastries, as well as the cultural summer peak event, the Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Savonlinna, located in Savonlinna, is situated amid the Haapavesi and Pihlajavesi lap of the city, which attracts tourists each year from around the world. Opera-lovers come to follow the highbrow exhibitions presented by the Olavinlinna, or just to admire the historic building itself. A holiday in Savonlinna also means a holiday on Lake Saimaa, as the body of water is surrounded by partly-built islands on all sides of the city. In the Savonlinna region, there is enough to see and do for culture-starved tourists during the whole trip.

Olavinlinna itself is undoubtedly Savonlinna's main attraction. Since the end of the 1400s the city has developed beside the island castle. Cross the Olavinlinna pontoon bridge and a go on a guided tour of the castle stone walls and into its depths. You can visit the Olavinlinna Castle during the summer and winter season as, with the exception of Christmas, the castle is open all year round. During the opera season there are also backstage tours that take place in the make-up and dressing rooms.

A trip to the Savonlinna Opera Festival has many highlights of the summer for the cultural connoisseur. Originally a modest presentation in the old castle ruins organised by the singer Aino Ackté, the festival has grown to a month-long international affair in the magnificently restored Olavinlinna. Sit in the enclosed courtyard and listen to the great opera classics and the works of domestic composers. When you arrive at the scene in an elegant evening gown or as a local does, in everyday clothing, an opera experience is sure to be unforgettable.

In addition to the castle concerts, opera celebrations are also held, for example, in Kerimäki Church, the world's largest wooden church. Visit the magnificent yellow and white painted shrine, which can accommodate up to 5 000 people. Those interested in the history of the church area should also visit Savonlinna Cathedral and Enonkoski Church. Finally, return to the vicinity of the castle and visit the Riihisaari Provincial Museum, which is anchored on the shore, with interesting museum ships.

Savonlinna is a popular tourist destination, especially during the Opera Festival in July and early August, so for cheap trips, you should look before and after festivals. Go and admire the landscape on a cruise right on Lake Saimaa from Savonlinna Market Square departing ships. Then, enjoy a cup of market square coffee and lörtsy, which is a large, semi-circular sweet or savoury filled pastry.

In winter, Savonlinna is calms down, but still offers the traveller a wide variety of experiences. For example, you may go skating or snowshoe hiking in Linnansaari National Park’s rousing landscape. Near Savonlinna, there is also the museum, Lusto, which is open all year and focuses on present Finnish forest culture. All year-long you have access to a truly unique destination, Parikkala Statue, with well over 500 concrete fountains over an area spanning about half a hectare.

Travel Savonlinna is easily accessible by train, bus or plane. In Savonlinna, you will experience a genuine Savo laid-back feeling on the slopes and international high culture, surrounded by the sparkling waters of Lake Saimaa.

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