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South Savonia (Etelä-Savo) is a province in the Finnish Lakeland.


Map of South Savonia

  • 1 Mikkeli — the largest city in the region, after mergers it includes:
  • 2 Pieksämäki — major rail junction
  • 3 Savonlinna — the northernmost remaining medieval stone castle, a famous opera festival and scenic views of Lake Saimaa
    • 3 Kerimäki — A village with what is believed to the largest wooden church in the world, built in the mid-19th century to hold 3000 seats.
    • 4 Punkaharju — The famous national landscape Punkaharju Esker and the most popular nature recreation area in Southern Savonia.
    • 5 Savonranta — Village at the border of Savonia and Karelia in the midst of stunning lakes. Genuine rural life of Savonia at its best.

National parks[edit]

  • 1 Kolovesi National Park Kolovesi National Park on Wikipedia: labyrinth of lake channels, with ancient rock paintings and the Saimaa seal, paradise for canoeists.
  • 2 Linnansaari National Park Linnansaari National Park on Wikipedia: lake cruises among forested islands and rocky islets, home of ospreys and Saimaa seals; slash-and-burn farm; hiking trails in summer, skating trail in winter.
  • 3 Repovesi National Park Repovesi National Park on Wikipedia: rugged backwoods with lakes, log floating history; popular hiking destination.


Autumn in Rantasalmi

South Savonia is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including the Saimaa lake district, which is the largest lake system in Finland and one of the largest in Europe. The province also has three national parks, of which Linnansaari National Park and Kolovesi National Park are in Saimaa.

The economy of South Savonia is largely based on agriculture and forestry, with the region producing a variety of crops including oats, barley, and potatoes. The province is also home to several manufacturing industries, including wood processing, metalworking, and food processing.

In terms of culture, South Savonia is known for its traditional music and dance, particularly the polska dance. The region also has a strong literary tradition, with several notable Finnish authors hailing from the area.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

From abroad, the main option is Helsinki Airport (HEL IATA). From there you can fly to Savonlinna (SVL IATA) or continue by bus or train to South Savonia. Lappeenranta airport (LPP IATA) is closer to the area and has a few flights from abroad operated by Ryanair. Savonlinna Airport also has charter/seasonal routes from Frankfurt (FRA IATA) and Rotterdam (RTM IATA).

By train[edit]

South Savonia's major cities are all well-served by rail, although you may need to change trains in Kouvola. Savonlinna is via Parikkala by IC trains destined to Joensuu. A journey from Helsinki to Savonlinna or Mikkeli takes 3 hr, one to Pieksämäki about 4 hr. There's also a service from Turku via Tampere and Jyväskylä to Pieksämäki.

  • Mikkeli has connections from Helsinki and Kuopio.
  • Savonlinna has connections from Parikkala, Joensuu, Imatra, Lappeenranta and Helsinki.
  • Pieksämäki has connections from Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Mikkeli and Helsinki.

By bus[edit]

South Savonia has good bus connections from neighbouring provinces and even from farther away. See Matkahuolto.

There are connections from the directions of Helsinki (to Mikkeli, sometimes onward), Jyväskylä (to Mikkeli, Pieksämäki and Heinävesi), Kuopio (to Savonlinna), Varkaus and Joensuu (to Savonlinna, Heinävesi and Pieksämäki), Imatra (to Puumala and Mikkeli).

Soisalon Liikenne operates a few routes such as:

  • S5: Helsinki–Lahti–Mikkeli–Varkaus
  • Kuopio–Varkaus–Savonlinna
  • Varkaus–Savonlinna
  • Joensuu–Heinävesi–Varkaus–Pieksämäki–Laukaa–Jyväskylä

Linja-autoliike S Kosonen operates a few routes such as:

  • K13: Jyväskylä–Kangasniemi–Mikkeli
  • K14: Helsinki–Lahti–Mikkeli–Savonlinna

Savonlinja operates a few routes such as:

  • Joensuu–Kitee–Savonlinna

Saimaan Turistiliikenne operates a few routes, such as

  • Imatra–Puumala–Mikkeli

The following routes serve the province. They don't take bikes or pets and there are restrictions on children. See Finland § By bus

  • M5: Helsinki—Mikkeli—Kuopio
  • M14: Helsinki—Lahti—Mikkeli—Savonlinna

Get around[edit]

Trains of VR are usable. There is a dense bus network covering most of the region, see Matkahuolto and schedules of Waltti traffic[dead link].

Google Maps includes timetables of trains, long distance buses and local transport of many cities and towns. Other useful route planners are[dead link] for trains and local buses and Matkahuolto Reittiopas for regional buses.

By taxi[edit]

  • Etelä-Savon Taksi. Operates in Kangasniemi, Mikkeli, Mäntyharju, Pieksämäki, Puumala, Ristiina and Savonlinna.
  • Let's GO TAKSI. Operates in Juva, Kangasniemi, Mikkeli, Mäntyharju, Pieksämäki, Puumala, Ristiina and Savonlinna.
  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi, Menevä


Astunansalmi rock paintings
  • Olavinlinna: World's northernmost mediaeval castle standing on a rugged rock in the midst of the lake. The castle in the venue of the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.
  • Astuvansalmi rock paintings: One of the most remarkable rock painting sites in Northern Europe, consisting of c. 80 images preserved from the prehistoric time on the rock surface. Part of the European Council Cultural Route "Prehistoric Rock Art Trails".
  • Punkaharju esker: Esker formation between lakes that constitutes one of the iconic national landscapes of Finland portrayed in paintings and stamps and described in poems.
  • Kerimäki Church: Immense cathedral-style church made entirely of wood. Said to be world's largest wooden church.


  • Green Gold Cultural Route. The route traverses the entire region. It is an official tourist route in Southern Savo and runs from Mäntyharju to Punkaharju through Ristiina, Puumala, Sulkava and Savonlinna. The route winds through exceptionally beautiful landscapes and allows visitors to admire the area's rich cultural heritage, which has been strongly linked to the forest throughout history. There are several wonderful places to visit and visitors can also enjoy a wide range of services, products and events provided by local entrepreneurs along the route.





Stay safe[edit]

South Savonia region is a safe place.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to South 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!