Savonlinna On a Budget
SightsOlavinlinna castle is a popular sight in the area. The castle was founded by Erik Axelsson Tott in 1475 in an effort to protect Savonia and to control the unstable border between the Kingdom of Sweden and its Russian adversary. During the Russo-Swedish War (1741-1743), the castle was captured by Field-Marshal Peter Lacy. It was held by Russia between 1743 and 1812, when it was granted back to Finland as a part of Old Finland.
See the doll museum. Art teacher Kapy Tarus has collected dolls since 1986, and now her unique and priceless collection of 3000 dolls is showcased in the Doll museum Suruton. The association "Friends of Doll Museum Suruton" was established in 2010 in order to uphold and run the doll museum, which opened its doors to the public at the beginning of June 2011. The new museum is a great place for the whole family and a perfect addition to the Old Savonlinna district that already offers a great variety of tourist attractions.
NeighborhoodsThe city center is the main neighborhood of interest. This is where the main attractions, restaurants, and shops are located. The ambience of the small town can be felt at the market place or at one of the marvelous summer terraces of the harbor. The local atmosphere of the impressive summer market is characterized by a lively entertainment of the locals and market vendors.
ActivitiesSavonlinna has so much to offer, whether you are looking for a relaxed city break, to spend some time re-energizing in a spa, to soak up some culture and history, or whether you want to spend your time in energetic pursuits, like cycling, hiking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, or even diving.
The city hosts the famous annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. The operas are performed on a stage built inside the castle. It also has hosted the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships annually since 2000.
Savonlinna is the perfect spot for enjoying cruises, which leave from the busy harbour, either short cruises around the castle, or considerably longer ones around the archipelago. There are plenty of sightseeing cruises around Lake Saimaa. If you're extremely lucky, you just might spot the very rare Saimaa Ringed Seal.
Lovers of the outdoors have plenty of options in Savonlinna. There are two national parks in the region, Kolovesi and Linnansaari, which make for excellent trekking, hiking, and cycling expeditions, and situated as it is in the midst of Finland's largest lake system, Savonlinna also has a wealth of water based activities to choose from, including some excellent fishing and kayaking opportunities in the summer, and for ice skating and ice fishing in the winter.
Food and DiningAs a long-established holiday resort, Savonlinna offers a wide range of dining choices for visitors. Take a stroll along the beach by Olavinlinna Castle where you'll find a nice selection of restaurants and cozy restaurant ships, and in the market square be sure to try local specialties like, Lortsy (a sweet or hearty pastry filling), mozzas (salty pastries) or Savumuikut (smoked Small Marais).Try a visit to Beerhouse Sillansuu, one of Finland's finest bars, with a vast selection of beers, or the Brewery restaurant Huvila, which is also live music venue.
TransportationThe best prices for buses and trains in Finland can be found on Omio (formerly GoEuro). They let you search across all train, bus, and plane routes throughout Europe.
Savonlinna has its own airport and is well connected, with Finnair flying there from Helsinki, Mikkeli, and Varkaus. There are also regular bus services from Helsinki, Kuopio, and elsewhere, and trains from Helsinki, although you have to change at Parikkala. Another option is to arrive by ferry from Punkaharju or from Kuopio, and enjoy the beauty of the waterways, canals and locks, which stops along the way at Oravi, Heinävesi, Karvio canal and Palokki, among others. Savonlinna is stretched out on a series of islands in the middle of Lake Saimaa. While you can cover the central parts on foot, you'll need to resort to buses (or rent a car) to access the suburbs. If you want to rent a car, there is a rental office at the waterfront, near Hotel Tott. Savonlinna is surrounded by lakes and you can also go around town centre by a cruise ship. Taxi's are also plentiful, and certainly cheaper than renting a car for the day if you are only going to one or two places.
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