Kuopio is one of the biggest cities in Lakeland. The rolling hills and crystal clear waters typical of the region are best viewed from the Puijo Tower. Locals are open, talkative, and have a peculiar sense of humour.
Joensuu is the capital of the North Carelia region, and a major cultural hub. The verdant surroundings have bred many a Finnish artist and are home to a score of cultural events, biggest among them the Ilosaarirock festival.
Savonlinna, nestled by Lake Saimaa, is great for both short city breaks and lakeside cottage holidays. The main cultural event is the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival, held in the medieval Olavinlinna Castle.
These two cities lie on the shores of Lake Saimaa, half an hour’s drive from each other. Spas, water, cottages, and a score of both winter and summer activities to be experienced next to the Russian border.
One of Finland’s major cities, Tampere is a great example of industrial heritage reinvented for modern urban purposes. Cafés, shops, restaurants, cinemas, galleries and museums in old factory buildings are complemented by glittering lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi that surround the city.
Jyväskylä is the green and blue hub of Central Finland, its forests and lakes serving as ideal terrain for all the active young people the city’s educational facilities attract. A 45-minute drive from the city, ski resort Himos is ready to fulfill all outdoor expectations.
A mix of old and new, Hämeenlinna is a medium-sized city with two impressive castles to visit, large park areas to enjoy and galleries and museums to hop, among them the birth place of Finland’s most famous composer Jean Sibelius and the enchanting Iittala Glass Museum.
Lake Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe. The beautiful, often-changing landscape of the vast waters dotted with islands is a perfect setting for sheltered kayaking or boating.
Kuopio comes alive 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 Lake Kallavesi and its role as a hub for inland waterway traffic.
Cottages and cabins are an essential element of Finnish life. Many are situated by a lake somewhere. Sweating out the stress in a sauna, with regular dips in the lake, is the ultimate way to purify both the body and the mind.