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.