North Savonia (Pohjois-Savo) is a province in Finland.
In general cities in North Savonia are small - population of region's largest city, Kuopio, is around 92 000 inhabitants and the second largest city Varkaus has only 23 000 inhabitants.
- 1 Rautalampi
- 2 Sonkajärvi
- 3 Vesanto
- Tahko , a ski resort near Nilsiä offers accommodation and some outdoor activities also during the summer.
Local dialect of Finnish is Savo. Most people speak English at least satisfactory, especially young people. Also Russian and German may be understood (not widely), but don't expect people to speak or understand Finland's second language Swedish in this region.
There are 9-10 daily flights from Helsinki to Kuopio airport. The airport is located 14 km from the center. There is a bus connection from airport to the city center on weekdays(5,00€) or take a taxi (around 20€).
Buses operate to all centers of municipalities and cities.
In the area where distances are long and service level of public transportation is poor, the best way to get in and get around is by own car. It is possible to rent a car from Rissala airport or Kuopio.
Trains of national operator VR are possible to use for travelling inside province.
Matkahuolto has a dense bus network covering most of the province.
Onnibus offers discount bus service by few routes.
Especially if you are willing to go to more remote areas of province, having your own car is useful. Rent a car in Kuopio, Iisalmi or Varkaus.
- Pumpulikirkko in Rautavaara
- Seinävuoren rotkolaakso in Tuusniemi. Around 50 km from Kuopio there is a gorge with a short 2,5 km hiking trail.
- Go hiking to Orinoro gorge in Leppävirta. There is around 7 km long hiking trail which´leads you into a narrow gorge with vertical cliffs. Alternatively you can drive by car as close as 700 m to a gorge.
- Pisa, a fell and a view spot and a protected area between Juankoski and Nilsiä. The Treaty of Teusina in 1595 determined Pisa to be one landmark of the border between Russia and Sweden. On the top (270 m) you can still see the markings in stone.
- Mekaanisen Musiikin Museo in Varkaus is the only mechanical music museum in Finland.
- Olvi - Panimomuseo in Iisalmi shows the history of beer and different stages of brewing.
- See Kuopio and its surroundings from Puijo observation tower.
- In a nice summer day, take a cruise in Finland's biggest lake area Saimaa. Depart from Kuopio.
- Metsäkartano, located in the municipality of Rautavaara in northern North Savonia, this nature tourist centre offers variety of sport and outdoor activities both in summer and winter and accommodation in log buildings and even in a tepee made of peat. In the restaurant they serve organic food.
- Relax in a spa in Leppävirta
- Ski downhill or cross-country in Tahko, Nilsiä (nowadays officially a part of Kuopio).
- Navitas Marathon in the beginning of June in Varkaus
- Vekara-Varkaus is a summer event for children held in June in Varkaus.
- Kuopio Dance Festival in June.
- Kuopio Wine Festival; wine, food, friend, celebration. The wine village opens in the beginning of July offering wine, food and music performances and festivities continue for one week.
- Suonenjoki strawberry carnival is one of the oldest summer festivals in Finland. In 2010 the carnival tradition will be 40 years old. Suonenjoki municipality is considered as a strawberry capital of Finland, as it is the biggest strawberry producer in the country.
- The Wife Carrying World Championships is arranged in Sonkajärvi each summer.
- Kalakukko, a specialty of the region, a rye bread pastry filled with fish and meat. Buy it in a marketplace, especially in Kuopio.
Try kotikalja, non-alcoholic home-made ale, usually served in summer season but can be found in restaurants, especially in buffet, all year round.
Tap water is drinkable everywhere.
As in the whole Finland, it is really safe to travel in North Savonia. There are few brown bear in wilderness but you almost never see them as they give way when hear people coming. Beware of vipers in the summer. Insects, such as mosquitoes, gadflies and deer flies are irritating and their bite itchy but not dangerous. Ticks may carry borreliosis and dangerous Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) but it is extremely rare to get a disease (there has been only one recorded case of TBE in North Savonia).