Mikkeli (St. Michel in Swedish) is a cozy town in South Savonia province, Eastern Finland with a population of 54,400. It is located 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 situated there during WWII.
Mikkeli airport (MIK IATA) is located in the city area roughly three kilometers west from the city center. Currently the airport is only used for charter/business flights. Suitably calm and ideally located, Mikkeli airport is also a home for active glider and parachute enthusiasts.
Mikkeli is located on the main Savonia track between Helsinki and Kuopio. Typically, there are 7 daily connections from Helsinki to Mikkeli ranging from regular express trains to slightly better equipped InterCity 2 -trains. The fastest connection from Helsinki to Mikkeli are the Pendolino trains, that take 2 hours and 16 minutes to Mikkeli from Helsinki.
If traveling by train, one may have to change trains in Kouvola. Mikkeli railway station is located in the city center, just one block from the market square.
Mikkeli has good bus connections to all main cities of Southern and Northern Finland. Buses leave from the Matkakeskus terminal integrated with the railway station.
Mikkeli has a comprehensive public transport system (buses to e.g. Anttola and Otava almost every hour). One-way tickets for buses in the city area cost around €3, while fares for longer routes are distance based. Taxis are also available (tel. 0600 300 55) and fares start at €5 and climb up to €1.30/km during weekdays (typically depends on the amount of passengers).
Major car rental companies, such as Europcar and Hertz, are available in Mikkeli. During the summertime, one may also hop in a sightseeing bus or take a cruise in Saimaa from the Mikkeli harbor.
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.
- 3 Viestikeskus Lokki (Communications Centre Lokki), Vuorikatu. Mannerheim's Headquarters' communications centre
- 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.
- 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 right 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.
- Hiihtomäen lava, ☏ . May–Sep F 20:00–00:30, Jun–Aug also Tu 20:00–00:30, senior dances W 12:00–16:00. Dance pavillon.
- 1 Stella. A Sokos department store with a large S-Market supermarket, smaller shops selling e.g. clothing, eating and services can be found right next to the market square. Also included to Stella is small market hall with small shops selling local food products.
- 2 Akseli. Neighboring shopping centre to Stella. Clothing stores, some wellness services, couple of restaurants and cafes.
- 3 Tori (Market square). The largest and one of the busiest marketplaces in Eastern Finland. Cafes, terraces, local produce, flea markets on weekends and especially on "Mikkelinpäivä" (Michaelmas, 29th of September).
- 1 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.
Some noteworthy restaurants:
- 1 Anfora Kebab & Pizzeria, Porrassalmenkatu 12, ☏ . Popular pizzeria situated 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.
- 4 Tertin Kartano, Kuopiontie 68. Nice manor restaurant serving excellent lunch. Outside of town centre
- 5 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 on office hours and Saturdays.
- 6 Best & Co Mikkeli (Best Burger Pizza&Sub Mikkeli), Porrassalmenkatu 51 (At the corner of Mikkeli central market.), ☏ , email@example.com. 9AM-20PM. Burgers, pizzas, subs and salads made with high-quality ingredients. Also good for specialty coffees and late-night drinks on weekends.
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 centered along Porrassalmenkatu, so exploring the night is very easy. In wintertime the city is quiet, but in summer many nice terraces open up troughout 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. Sports on TV available. Nice pub burgers as well. Also popular place to eat lunch.
- 3 Gastropub Eino, Raatihuoneenkatu 4. New and tidy gastropub. Good selection of beers. Little bit pricey, but good pub food available.
- 4 Parnell's, Mikonkatu 9. There is Irish themed pub even in Mikkeli. 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 Tiki Bar Muru and Kharma, Porrassalmenkatu 18. Cheaper option to Vaakuna for party animals. Low entry age, thus frequented by teenagers. Downstairs tiki themed bar.
- 9 Club & Bar Wilhelm, 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.
- 3 Lakeistenrannan Leirintä, Pitkälahdentie, Anttola (30km from Mikkeli town centre.), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 4 Topjupek, Kaura-Ahontie 11, Otava (10 km from Mikkeli town 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.
- 5 Nopolan Lomamökit (Nopola cottages), Nopolantie 37, Anttola (While in Anttola, go down Pitkälahdentie about 8km to the North. Then turn right on the last fork before Pitkälahti. Nopola is about 200m from there.), ☏ , email@example.com. Cottages available any season, Bed & Breakfast (1 single and 1 double room) open from 1 Jun through the summer. Sauna, rowing boat, grill and summer kitchen. Very pleasant family-run place. Really great breakfast with home-made bread.
- Savonlinna — 100 km away by car
- St. Petersburg — 320 km by car. Trains are also available.
- Astuvansalmi rock paintings near Ristiina — 40 km by car