Kuopio – a Lakeland harbour town
Like most Finnish provincial cities, Kuopio comes into its own in the summer when it plays host to a major dance festival, as well as a lively wine festival. The city’s essence, however, comes from its lakeside location on the shores of Kallavesi and its role as a harbour for lake traffic.
On a nearby ridge overlooking Kuopio is the Puijo observation tower and it offers some of the best lake views in Finland. Located in the heart of the Savo district, this delightful city boasts its own distinct dialect and is also home to the Finnish Orthodox Church, the country’s official religion.
In traditional Finnish style, a bustling market place forms the hub of the city. In the picturesque Pikku-Pietari market you can find a variety of Finland’s best delicacies, from the tiny and scrumptious freshwater vendace to a fine selection of quality handicrafts.
During the summer, Kuopio has a number of restaurant terraces down by the harbour from which you can watch steam boats chugging about on the water. Enjoying an evening cruise on a passenger steamer departing from Kuopio’s harbour is a quintessential Finnish summer experience.
One other intrinsic Finnish ritual is the smoke sauna available at nearby Rauhalahti, which is claimed by some to be the world’s biggest. It is close to the lake, providing an ideal location for both swimming and sauna sessions.