Download GPX file for this article
61.7705229.35753Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Highway 14 along the Punkaharju ridge

Punkaharju is a town and municipality in South Savonia in the Finnish Lakeland. Punkaharju is in Savonlinna.


Punkaharju is also the name of the ridge north of the town centre that nearly divides Lake Saimaa. The iconic ridge is one of the national landscapes of Finland.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Local trains between Parikkala and Savonlinna stop in Punkaharju. A couple of trains run each day on the line. There are three railway stations in the area:

  • 1 Retretti train stop. Access to Harjun Portti equipment rental, marina, resort area, skating tracks (winter).
  • 2 Lusto train stop. Access to Forest Museum Lusto, Arboretum, Aseman taidelaituri gallery, Punkaharju esker hiking trails.
  • 3 Punkaharju train stop (Punkasalmi station). Note: The names are misleading! This is access to Punkasalmi village. Punkaharju esker and the national landscape are better accessible through Lusto and Retretti stops. If you are looking for a longer hike along the entire length of Punkaharju esker, you might as well jump off here. The village itself has supermarkets and some basic services.

By bus[edit]

Buses between Parikkala and Savonlinna stop in Punkaharju.

By car[edit]

Highway 14 between Parikkala and Savonlinna passes through the town, and continues along the ridge.

Get around[edit]

Map of Punkaharju

By car[edit]

Driving is the quickest way to go from one place to another.

By foot or bike[edit]

The more leisurely way to get around, popular in the summer, is walking or cycling. There are good paths for these activities in the area.

By public transport[edit]

Bus lines between Savonlinna, Parikkala and Imatra give access to most of the sights. The buses run on the old "esker road" giving good views to the national landscape. Punkaharju is exceptionally well served by train: There are three stops namely Punkarju (village), Lusto (esker area) and Retretti (resort and activities centre), giving access to sights and activities.


  • 1 Lusto (Lusto Suomen Metsämuseo), Lustontie 1 (use train stop Lusto), +358 15 345-100, fax: +358 15 345 1050, . Closed for renovation until May 2024. National forest museum: learn about Finland's forests and forestry.
  • 2 Punharju Arboretum, Puistometsäntie 14. The Punkaharju arboretum entails over 150 hectares of research forest, consisting of more than 50 species of trees, mostly conifers. Since the 1990’s, the arboretum has been thoroughly renewed and developed, aiming to collect all the conifer and hardwood species that could possibly thrive in the local conditions.
  • 3 Salpa Line fortifications (Kuikonniemen linnoitus), Harjutie 266. World War II fortification structures build in 1940-1944.


  • 1 Punkaharju esker ridge and Punkaharju Nature Reserve (accessible from Lusto, Punkaharju or Reretti railway stops and from coaches between Savonlinna and Parikkala/Imatra). Punkaharju is a glacial land form – a narrow winding esker formed from gravel, stones and sand in a tunnel under the ice during the last glaciation. Walk or bike along the paths, climb it, drive on the highway along it, see it from a rowing boat or from the observation deck of Punkaharju water tower. Part of the ridge is a nature reserve with trails, lookout points, camp fire site and rental cabin. The area offers very nice lake sceneries, a national landscape of Finland portrayed by many Finnish and foreign artists. Hiking trails connect you to services. Punkaharju (Q10646796) on Wikidata Punkaharju_Ridge on Wikipedia
  • 2 Kesämaa, Kesämaantie 2, . Basically a water-themed playground geared towards younger children.
  • 3 Harjun Portti (Punkaharjun Tuunaanportti), Tuunaansaarentie 2 (next to the road 14, at the petrol station), +358 44 755 0382, . Holiday resort. Rent a kayak and accessories and take a trip on Lake Saimaa. It is easy and enjoyable even for beginners. The rental should be booked in advance during the summer season. They will also lend you a waterproof map in the rental and suggest trip options. Other equipment that can be rented includes: bikes, skike roller skates, scooters, rowing boats, motor boats, ... If you plan to stay over night, the accommodation can be booked in comfortable cottages, which are quite similar to those of Punkaharjun lomakeskus. A single kayak: €30/day.


  • 1 Wanha Koulu fashion boutique. Fashion boutique.


  • 1 Wanha Koulu, Puistometsäntie 14. serving visitor in summer time.
  • 2 Cafe Rantakivi (short walk from Retretti train stop, also buses between Punkaharju and Savonlinna bring you there.). Café Rantakivi is a fresh and relaxed cafe and restaurant located in Punkaharju, by the lovely lake Puruvesi, offering locally sourced food - including fish. Open during summer.
  • 3 Restaurant Lusto, Lustontie 1, . The Lusto museum restaurant offers lunch and dinner as well as sweet servings delivered to you by the chef Ilkka Lääveri. (Closed in winter 2023-2024 due to renovation of the museum).
  • 4 Ravintola Kruunupuisto, Vaahersalontie 44. Offering food from lunch buffet and for different occasions.



  • 1 Inkeritalo, Vaahesalontie 44. Charming summer café at the Saimaa lakeshore.






Go next[edit]

  • Savonlinna — The largest town in the region, best known for its castle Olavinlinna.
  • Kerimäki — The village with the world's largest wooden church.
This city travel guide to Punkaharju is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!