Hey My Foreign Friend, Go And See Punkaharju And Savonlinna!

Travels — 26.6.2019

Even though I enjoy the four seasons spring/summer is the best time in Finland, for sure! Summer is great time to do some road tripping. Last week I had a great excuse to go to Southern Savonia where I hadn’t been much before. This is kind of weird because I’m originally from Northern Savonia – but we have quite a big country. I went to a wedding in Punkaharju. That was beautiful.

Punkaharju is a one of a kind place: the nature here looks so unique with the high pine landscapes. There is a long ridge, which is partly very narrow. The view is amazing when rolling up in the hill and seeing Finnish lake on both sides. Punkaharju is a great visit on a beautiful weather: it’s possible to hike and bike and swim in the clear waters.

Hotel Punkaharju is a historic place that started the Punkaharju tourism already in the 1800s. Many famous Finnish people like a poet Runeberg or an author Topelius visited the place and praised the place in their work. It’s also said that Punkaharju and for example Koli area represent the very Finnish national landscape.

So you can only imagine, how traditional and memorable the wedding was. I had a well spent weekend in Hotel Punkaharju and the area. We stayed in the “forest room” cottage. That’s a way to stay very close to nature! After the wedding I enjoyed sauna and the-first-swim-of-the-summer in a beautiful calm summer morning.

In this direction, Savonlinna is a must place to visit too! I would have never guessed what an adventurous day I had there. After eating fried vendace at the market it was time to go to Olavinlinna! Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna is just gorgeous. It’s one of the four medieval castles in Finland – grounded already in 1475! (The others are Turku Castle, Hämeenlinna Castle and Vyborg Castle (well Vyborg nowadays under Russia). It felt like being in a game of thrones setting when I wandered in the king’s hall and the very narrow staircases. A guided tour is a must – you always get so much more out of it!

Olavinlinna / Savonlinna is located by Saimaa, the largest lake of Finland. If you are lucky you can see the endangered Saimaa ring seal there. So maybe take a Black Brook Brewery beer and start the watch.

Hotel Punkaharju wedding

Vendace and rose in Punkaharju
They offered fried vendace (Finnish delicacy) and rose wine as an aperitif at the wedding, so good!

Hotel Punkaharju, couple in the wedding

Punkaharju wedding guests/friends
Weddings = great catch up with friends!

Punkaharju wedding guests

Hotel Punkaharju beach

Punkaharju forest room Finnish cottage type of accommodation
Punkaharju forest room is a Finnish cottage type of accommodation – there’s a separate toilet and shower. So if you’re a fancy-ass take a hotel room in the chateau.
Hotel Punkaharju forest room cottage
Nice to wake up under the duvet and see this

Hotel Punkaharju and Finnish lake

Hotel Punkaharju swimming
First swim of the summer, it’s chilly but refreshing!
Finnish landscape in Punkaharju
Punkaharju is a sandy ridge
Punkaharju pine tree landscape
You can see the Hotel Punkaharju forest room cottages there!
savonlinna harbour
Welcome to Savonlinna harbour!
Olavinlinna in Savonlinna in Finland
Since 1475!
Saint Pyha Olavi by Ville Vallgren Olavinlinna
Saint Olaf (Pyhä Olavi) by sculptor Ville Vallgren, 1912
Olavinlinna medieval castle door
There are reliefs that have lasted since the early days of the castle
Olavinlinna window view
If you lucky you can manage to spot some ringed seals by the Lake Saimaa – but they are very endangered, they are only a few hundred 🙁
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