- Six days’ journey to the wonderland of Lake Saimaa. We do relaxed sightseeing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities
- Country/region visited: Finland, Lake Saimaa region
- Type: Guided Small Group Tour, maximum group size 15 people
- Start/end: Helsinki (city centre or Helsinki international airport)
- Duration: 6 days/5 nights
Itinerary in Short:
- Day 1 (Monday): Helsinki – Porvoo – Kotka – Imatra – Puumala, travel by private minibus
- Day 2 (Tuesday): Puumala – Savonlinna – Oravi – Savonlinna, travel by private minibus
- Day 3 (Wednesday): Kayaking and exploring Linnansaari National Park
- Day 4 (Thursday): Cycling, hiking, or kayaking in Puumala, Saimaa UNESCO Global Geopark
- Day 5 (Friday): Cycling, hiking, or kayaking in Puumala, Saimaa UNESCO Global Geopark
- Day 6 (Saturday): Puumala – Ristiina – Kouvola – Porvoo – Helsinki, travel by private minibus
- The itinerary includes a lots of outdoor activities, but can easily be adjusted for people with a preference to relax at the beach and to enjoy leisurely sightseeing.
- You do not have to be an experienced kayaker, but this trip certainly can be adjusted to satisfy the highest demands of keen sea kayakers.
- Equally, it can be adjusted to the needs of smaller children.
- Options/variations: This itinerary is strongly focused on kayaking. On request, it is possible to do other outdoor activities as well.
How much does it cost and what’s included?
Included in the base price:
- All travel by a private minibus from Helsinki to Helsinki
- Accommodation in comfortable cottages and hotels in a twin-room or double-room. The initial itinerary may change due to various reasons, hence the accommodation may change as well, but the cottages or hotels used are always of good quality
- Breakfast and one meal per day
- Guide and driver on every day of travel
- Optional extras:
- Accommodation in a single-room, 350 EUR/5 nights
- Meals, drinks and snacks on request
How to prepare and what to bring:
- Normal summer outdoors clothing including rain coat, warm clothes for evening, light trekking boots, kayaking clothes for those, who choose to go kayaking, and cycling clothes for those, who choose to go cycling.
- Sun screen, sun hat, sun glasses, and mosquito repellent.
Day 1 (Monday): Helsinki – Porvoo – Kotka – Imatra – Puumala, travel by private minibus
Meet your host and driver, and join the group in central Helsinki at 09:30 a.m. or at Helsinki International Airport at 10:30 a.m. Sit back and enjoy the scenic drive from Helsinki to Lake Saimaa region. We’ll have a lunch in Kotka, a very attractive seaside town in South-Eastern Finland. We also have time for a walk in Kotka National Urban Park, of which Kotka is so famous for. Travelling further North-East, we visit charming towns of Lappeenranta and Imatra at the southern-most point of Lake Saimaa.
We arrive in Puumala, one of the absolutely most beautiful municipalities in Finland at 18:00 allowing you good time to settle down and prepare for tomorrow’s activities. Of course, you can go swimming, kayaking, fishing, or rowing; during the summer season, there will be sunlight until very late. Dinner is served at your lodge. On request, it is possible to cook your own dinner with chefs of Pistohiekka Resort. Pistohiekka Resort has an excellent restaurant by Lake Saimaa. The restaurant is a five-star D.O. Saimaa (designation of origin) restaurant, which sources most of its food from the local farms, fishermen, and other food producers in Lake Saimaa region. The region is nominated “European Region of Gastronomy 2024”.
Pistohiekka Resort has Sustainable Travel Finland label and Good Travel Seal certification for responsible travel.
Day 2 (Tuesday): Puumala – Savonlinna – Oravi – Savonlinna, travel by private minibus
We have a breakfast in Puumala and take an early morning drive to the town of Savonlinna and Linnansaari National Park in Northern Lake Saimaa. Savonlinna is a historic archipelago town famous for its medieval castle. From Savonlinna we continue another 40 km north to the village of Oravi and launch our kayaks (if you don’t want to paddle to the national park, we arrange a transfer by a motor boat).
Located between two archipelago national parks, Linnansaari and Kolovesi, Oravi is a perfect basecamp for kayaking or exploring the national parks. We arrive in Oravi and take a kayaking tour or boat tour to the main island of the magnificent Linnansaari national park. The national park consists of more than 130 small islands and is the largest national park in Southern Finland. We spend the day kayaking and hiking the nature trails of Linnansaari. It surely is a great nature encounter with beautiful views and scenery wherever you go.
The lunch is a picnic lunch in Linnansaari. In the evening, we return to Oravi and drive back to the town of Savonlinna. The accommodation is in a hotel in central Savonlinna, so it is convenient to go to local bars and restaurants for a nice evening out.
On request, it is also possible to stay overnight in the main island of the national park in a tent, hammock, or tree tent.
Day 3 (Thursday): Kayaking and exploring Linnansaari National Park
Today we continue to explore the archipelago of Linnansaari National Park by kayaks. There are myriad islands, islets, and peaceful bays to see. With a bit of luck, it is also possible to see the endangered Saimaa ringed seal or an osprey. It is also possible to go hiking or, depending on the season, take a boat for a seal-watching cruise. In the evening, we’ll drive back to Puumala.
On request, it is again possible to sleep in a tent, hammock, or tree tent.
Day 4 (Thursday): Cycling, hiking, or kayaking in Puumala, Saimaa UNESCO Global Geopark
Wake up in a magnificent place by the beach. This is the day to go outdoors in Puumala. Lake Saimaa is at its best in Puumala with beautiful sandy beaches and rocky hills wherever you go. It’s a true labyrinth archipelago with an enormous amount of islands and narrow waterways.
One of the most beautiful and enjoyable cycling routes in Finland starts right from your accommodation. The Puumala Archipelago Route offers 60 km of pleasant cycling through islands, bridges, and eskers.
Alternatively, you can go hiking on one of the most scenic day-hike routes in Finland. Seal Trail of Saimaa is a 13-15 kilometres’ walk with stunning views (if you prefer a shorter hike, it can be easily arranged). Lake Saimaa will be surrounding you all the time and the scenery varies from rocky hills to sandy beaches.
We are in the middle of a kayaking paradise. So, kayaking is a very good option for today as well, if you are a keen paddler. You can choose to go exploring on your own, or you can join a guided kayaking tour. The length of the guided kayaking tour can be adjusted to your physical condition and paddling skills. The most important thing for us all is that you really enjoy this uniquely beautiful area.
In the evening we’ll return to Pistohiekka Resort allowing good time to relax or go swimming or sauna. Later in the evening we gather for a dinner at the beach.
Day 5 (Friday): Cycling, hiking, or kayaking in Puumala, Saimaa UNESCO Global Geopark
Today, we continue our outdoor activities in Saimaa UNESCO Global Geopark. You can continue with same activities as yesterday, or you do something else. So, if you cycled the Puumala Archipelago Route yesterday, it is a good idea to go kayaking or day-hiking today.
On request, it is also possible to go fishing and then cook your own fish meal together with our chefs at Pistohiekka Resort. Depending on the season, also wild-berry picking or wild-mushroom picking are possible.
If you just want to relax on the beach, swim and and take a bath in a traditional Finnish sauna, those options are always available.
Day 6 (Saturday): Puumala–Ristiina-Porvoo, travel by private minibus
This is our last day together. Of course, we are more than happy to provide you with an opportunity to extend your stay by a few days, if you want.
This will be a busy day, so we’ll better start off early in the morning. We’ll take a drive to Mikkeli, the provincial capital, and continue south to Ristiina to visit a site of ancient rock paintings. It is a nice drive with excellent scenery. There are about 70 pictures that date back to 2 500 – 3 000 BC. The site itself is incredibly beautiful and would make a perfect day trip destination even with no rock paintings at all; you’ll see what we mean, when you see the place!
There are several ways to visit the site; by foot, by kayak, or by boat. A very good option is to paddle from Kallioniemi, 5 km away, or from Varkaantaipale Canal, 8 km away, since there are many other attractions around, easiest visited by a kayak. The hiking trail is very beautiful as well. It is a 3 km walk both ways in a hilly terrain. After this nice afternoon hike, we start the last leg of our journey and drive to Helsinki via Porvoo.
In the evening, it is time to say goodbye. We take all travellers to their hotels or, alternatively, directly to the airport or to the cruise harbour. If you wish, we can easily arrange sightseeing or activities for you in Helsinki.
We hope to see you soon again!