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North Savonia (Pohjois-Savo) is a province in the Finnish Lakeland, north of Saimaa proper, but with connecting waterways.


The port of Kuopio, with lake cruises; observation tower in the background
Map of North Savonia

In general cities in North Savonia are small – the population of the region's largest city, Kuopio, is around 121,000 inhabitants and the second largest city Iisalmi has only 21,000 inhabitants.

Other municipalities[edit]

Other destinations[edit]

Unnukka, one of the numerous lakes
  • 1 Tahko Tahkovuori on Wikipedia, a ski resort near Kuopio, with accommodation and some outdoor activities also during the summer.


The region is known for its natural beauty, including the stunning scenery of the Finnish Lakeland and the hills and forests of the North Savo uplands. The economy of the province is diverse, with a mix of traditional industries such as forestry and agriculture, as well as more modern sectors such as high-tech manufacturing and healthcare. The region is also home to several universities and research institutions, including the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio.


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.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

An aerial view of the Kuopio Airport in the Siilinjärvi municipality

There are flights from Helsinki to 1 Kuopio Airport (KUO IATA). Lappeenranta and Tampere airports are the nearest airports with international connections.

By train[edit]

Kuopio, Varkaus and Iisalmi have railway connections.

By bus[edit]

Buses operate to all municipality and city centres.

By car[edit]

Distances are long and service level of public transportation is poor, so 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.

By boat[edit]

In summer there are daily cruises from Savonlinna in South Savonia to Kuopio.

North Savonia (up to Iisalmi) is reachable from the oceans via the Saimaa Canal.

Get around[edit]

The canal Konnus between Kallavesi and Unnukka, on the 4-m fairway from the sea

Trains can be used from Varkaus via Pieksamäki to Kuopio and Iisalmi or between the latter. Some intermediate stations may have VR bus connections.

For coaches and buses, in addition to Matkahuolto, see the schedules of Waltti.

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.

By taxi[edit]

  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi, Taksi Itä-Suomi
  • Menevä Kuopio. Smart phone app offers address based routing and calculates price according to them. €4/7+€0.90/1.60km+0.90/min; the lower fee for 1–4 persons; prebooking free.
  • Taksi EHT-Line, +358 200 14200, . Smart phone app offers address based routing and calculates price according to them. €5.90/9+€1.91/2.23km+0.90/min; the lower fee for 1–4 persons; prebooking €7.10.

By boat[edit]

See also: Boating in Finland#The Finnish lakes

The main waterway is from Iisalmi via Kuopio to Varkaus on Saimaa. The Keitele–Päijänne–Vesijärvi route leads from Keitele via Päijänne in Central Finland to Lahti and Kouvola. There are also many smaller lakes, most with many bays and islands.


Orinoro Gorge near Leppävirta
  • 1 Lepikon torppa, Urho Kekkosentie 121 (a few kilometres from Pielavesi centre), +358 40-489-4827 (café), +358 44-274-7408. 23—31 May daily 10:00—16:00, Jun–4 Sep daily 10:00–18:00. Birthplace and childhood home of President of Finland Urho Kekkonen (1900–1986), a small croft bought by the family. Fish soup served for groups (min. 10 persons) on advance request. €5/3/3, family €10. Lepikon torppa (Q11875597) on Wikidata
  • 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.
  • Pisa, a fell and a view spot and a protected area between Juankoski and Nilsiä in Kuopio. 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.
  • See Kuopio and its surroundings from Puijo observation tower.
  • 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.


  • 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).
  • Hike to the Orinoro gorge in Leppävirta, between Varkaus and 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.


Kuoppi ("the cupboard") – one of the smaller restaurants
  • 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.

Stay safe[edit]

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 the 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).

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to North Savonia is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!