Mikkeli (St. Michel in Swedish) is a cozy town in South Savonia province, Eastern Finland with a population of 54,400. It is 230 km NE from Helsinki and 100 km west from Savonlinna. It was founded in 1838 and the Finnish Army HQ under Marshal Mannerheim was based there during World War II.
- 1 Mikkeli airport (MIK IATA) (in the city area roughly 3 km west from the city centre). The airport is only used for charter and business flights. Suitably calm, Mikkeli airport is also a home for active glider and parachute enthusiasts.
Mikkeli railway station is in the centre, one block from the market square. The city is on the main Savonia railway between Helsinki and Kuopio. Sometimes you may have to change trains in Kouvola. Typically, there are 7 daily connections from Helsinki to Mikkeli, ranging from "regular" old express trains (seize the opportunity while they still are around!) to slightly better equipped InterCity 2 trains. The fastest connection are the Pendolino trains, making the trip in 2 hours and 16 minutes.
Mikkeli has good bus connections to all main cities of Southern and Northern Finland. Direct routes are available for example from Helsinki, Lahti, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Lappeenranta, Savonlinna and Imatra. Buses leave from the Matkakeskus terminal integrated with the railway station.
From Helsinki drive through road 5. Almost equal in distance is the road via Kouvola (roads 7, 6 and 15).
Mikkeli has a comprehensive public transport system (buses to e.g. Anttola and Otava almost every hour). Information about local transport you can find here. You can use theDigitransit route planner[dead link] to find local bus routes between given locations and addresses. One-way tickets for buses in the city area cost around €3, while fares for longer routes are distance based. The Waltti Mobiili mobile app can be used to purchase tickets.
Major car rental companies, such as Europcar and Hertz, are available in Mikkeli. In summertime, one may also hop in a sightseeing bus or take a cruise in Saimaa from the harbour.
Taxis are also available (☏ 0600 300 55 (in country only; shared cost)).
- Let’s go taksi, ☏ (booking €2.50 + pvm/mpm), (office M–Th 09:00–15:00), email@example.com. You can order a ride by calling or using the "Book a Taxi" smartphone app.
- Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi
By electric kick scooter
- See also: Finland#By motorised scooter
Finnish Joe Scooter rents electric kick scooters for use in the centre.
During World War II, Mikkeli was the headquarters of the Finnish Army, and quite a few sights from the period remain.
- 1 Jalkaväkimuseo (Infantry museum), Jääkärinkatu 6-8. War museum, exhibitions depicting Finnish infantry from the independence to today.
- 2 Päämajamuseo (Headquarters museum), Päämajankuja 1-3. Mannerheim's headquarters during World War II.
- 3 Viestikeskus Lokki (Communications Centre Lokki), Vuorikatu. Mannerheim's headquarters' communications centre.
- 4 Suur-Savon museo (Suur-Savo Museum), Otavankatu 11. Regional museum.
- 5 Naisvuoren näkötorni (Naisvuori Observation Tower). An observation tower overseeing the town of Mikkeli.
- 6 Kenkävero, Pursialankatu 6. An old vicarage, a summer garden, restored buildings, handicrafts to buy.
- 7 Mikkelinpuisto (Mikkeli Park). Summer garden by the lake, formed by several exhibitors.
- 8 Valokuvakeskus (Mikkeli Centre of Photograpy), Puistokatu 3. Photography exhibition and research centre.
- 1 Visulahti (Visulahti Travel Centre) (A couple of kilometers towards Kuopio). Water park, wax cabinet and camping.
- 2 XON-puisto (XON-Park) (A couple of kilometers towards Kuopio). Adjacent to Visulahti Travel Centre. Motor park, paintball and some extreme amenities like catapult and bungee jumping!
- 3 Urpolan luontokeskus (Nature centre of Urpola), Selännekatu 30. A nature conservation zone next to the town centre, popular for small treks.
- 4 Mikkelin Ravirata (Mikkeli Racetrack). Horse racing track known for its fastness. Many trotting world records have been set in Mikkeli. St Michel Race-weekend arranged in Mid-July is one of the biggest yearly trotting events in Finland and a popular travel destination of horse racing fans.
- 5 Hiihtomäen lava, Tuukkalankatu 2 (Pursiala, 1 km south from the centre; drive along road 15, turn right to Kaituentie, then immediately left to Tuukkalankatu, left again after 250 m, pass under the highway and drive 250 m more; walking or by bike you can use either side of the highway or use a map for going through the residential areas), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. May–Sep (with some exceptions): F 19:00–23:30, senior dances W 12:00–15:30. Dance pavilion surrounded by forest with view to the lake, although 100 m to the highway behind a ridge. Audience from the young to pensioners. Simple café during dances, with grill. Outhouse dry toilet, running cold water. Beach. €10–15.
- 6 Wild Canoe, Lotjasaarentie 5 (Anttola, 25 km south-east from Lappeenranta centre), ☏ , email@example.com. May–Sep. Canoe and kayak rental, introduction, guided canoe tours. Equipment suitable for novices. Guided tours and suggested routes for novices and families as well as more advanced paddlers. Overnighting before/after the trip possible at their base. Use own sleeping bags, compass, hat, rainwear, eating utensils, mosquito repellent, sunscreen etc. Rental July–Aug single €130 for three days + €50 per every two additional days, double €180 + €60, tour equipment (tent, camping stove, bag) +€50, €90 per additional two days, shoulder season €20–30 cheaper; map €20; transport (if needed) €50–200 for recommended routes.
- 7 Astuvansalmi rock paintings (42 km southeast of Mikkeli). Astuvansalmi is one of the biggest rock painting sites in the Nordic countries. The paintings on a cliff next to a lake are thought to be 4500-5000 years old and they depict elk, human, hands, animal tracks, boats etc. The site can be reached by a 3-km walking path. You can arrive to the trail head from Ristiina (21 km south of Mikkeli on Highway 15) by car. In Ristiina turn to "Suurlahdentie", road 4323. Drive 19 km and find a small parking place with the Astuvansalmi sign. In winter the paintings can be viewed from the ice on the frozen lake. In summer boats trips are possible.
Festivals and happenings
- Hummeripoikarock: . Hummeripoikarock is a festival on the stage outside of Restaurant Hummeripoika in Haukivuori, Mikkeli. (date needs fixing)
- 1 Stella. A Sokos department store with a large S-Market supermarket, smaller shops selling clothing, eating and services can be found right next to the market square. Also in Stella is a small market hall with small shops selling local food products.
- 2 Akseli. Neighbouring shopping centre to Stella. Clothing stores, some wellness services, a couple of restaurants and cafés.
- 3 Market square (Tori). The largest and one of the busiest marketplaces in Eastern Finland. Cafés, terraces, local produce, flea markets on weekends and especially on "Mikkelinpäivä" (Michaelmas, 29 September).
- 4 Raijan Aitta, Kipparintie 2, Majavesi (15 km south of Mikkeli), ☏ . Handmade linen and flax products, plus raspberries and strawberries in summer and cottage accommodation from €30/person. The surrounding countryside and nearby lake are beautiful, but you'll need your own wheels to get here.
Mikkeli has quite a few restaurants given to the city's relatively small size, although many of them are generic chain restaurants. Fast food is available in the form of kebabs and pizzas. McDonald's and Hesburger have two restaurants each in Mikkeli. Almost all kebab restaurants stay open until the closing time of night clubs, and are thus seen as the preferred late-night eating options. There is a list of lunch offers for each day.
Some noteworthy restaurants:
- 1 Anfora Kebab & Pizzeria, Porrassalmenkatu 12, ☏ . Popular pizzeria close to the centre and nightclubs. A favourite especially with students and the late-night crowd. Good service and affordable prices.
- 2 Ravintola Fernando, Porrassalmenkatu 22. Family run, Tex-Mex-influenced restaurant. Good sized portions. Good option, if you're getting bored with the always ubiquitous chain eateries.
- 3 Tertin Kartano, Kuopiontie 68 (some 8 km east of the centre). Nice manor restaurant serving excellent lunch.
- 4 Vilee Puoti ja Bistro, Porrassalmenkatu 22. Good quality food made from local ingredients. Not cheap, but very tasty. Daily changing menu. Sometimes crowded, so booking a table might be a good idea. Open only in office hours and Saturdays.
Mikkeli's nightlife is not perhaps one of the busiest in Finland, but has some nice pubs to visit. Surprisingly the live music scene is very active. Most of the bars are centred along Porrassalmenkatu, so exploring the night is very easy. In wintertime the city is quiet, but in summer many nice terraces open up throughout the centre.
- 1 Keskus-Baari (KB), Porrassalmenkatu 12. Nostalgic and small pub from 1960s. Very wide choice of music, cheap beer and welcoming atmosphere. In weekends very crowded. Local favourite for artists. Maybe the best Guinness pints of Mikkeli.
- 2 Pub Päämaja, Raatihuoneenkatu 4. Nice and traditional pub serving beer brewed in Mikkeli (still in existence?). Sports on TV available. Nice pub burgers as well. Also popular place to eat lunch.
- 3 Gastropub Eino, Raatihuoneenkatu 4. Tidy gastropub. Good selection of beers. Little bit pricey, but good pub food available.
- 4 Parnell's, Mikonkatu 9. Irish-themed pub even in Mikkeli (still in existence?). Part of small chain. Offers nice environment.
- 5 Pub Jälkipeli, Mikonkatu 5. Good pub with two sides: sports pub and rock bar. Sports on TV available. Good terraces on summer. Frequented by local football fans as the Urheilupuisto stadium is located next to the pub.
- 6 Stoppari On The Rocks, Porrassalmenkatu 16. Stoppari is legendary name in Mikkeli. Legendary rock bar of past decades has returned to its roots. Rock themed night club playing all varieties of rock music "from rockabilly to black metal". Occasional gigs.
- 7 Bar'n'Night Vaakuna, Porrassalmenkatu 9. Considered to be the classiest night club of Mikkeli with prices matching the status. Good place to find gigs. Open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
- 8 Wilhelm Public House, Porrassalmenkatu 10. Pub-like night club. Sometimes very quiet, but still quite nice interior and good selection of beers. Live music quite often, mostly rock.
There are a few hotels in the town centre but not many hostels can be found. Camping is a good choice for cheaper accommodation.
- 2 Lakeistenrannan Leirintä, Pitkälahdentie, Anttola (30 km from the centre), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 Topjupek, Kaura-Ahontie 11, Otava (10 km from the centre).
The area around Mikkeli is one of Finland's main centres for summer cottages (kesämökki). Most are inconveniently located unless you have your own car, and primarily geared for families or groups who can bring all their own gear (bedding, food, etc.) and stay a week or longer, but a few cater also to short-stay visitors. Prices vary widely depending on the facilities: some places go for as little as €30/night, top-end facilities ten times that.
- 4 Nopolan Lomamökit (Nopola cottages), Nopolantie 37 (while in Anttola, drive down Pitkälahdentie about 8 km to the north, then turn right on the last fork before Pitkälahti; Nopola is about 200 m from there), ☏ , email@example.com. Cottages available any season, Bed & Breakfast (1 single and 1 double room) open June–Aug. Sauna, rowing boat, grill and summer kitchen. Very pleasant family-run place. Really great breakfast with home-made bread.
- 5 Hotel Cumulus Mikkeli, Mikonkatu 9, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 Hotelli Uusikuu, Raviradantie 13, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Savonlinna — 100 km away by car
- Astuvansalmi rock paintings near Ristiina — 40 km by car
|Routes through Mikkeli|
|Kuopio ← Varkaus ← Joroinen ← Juva ←||N S||→ Mäntyharju → Pertunmaa → Heinola|