On the north-western shore of Lake Saimaa lies a town called Mikkeli. It is the regional centre of South Savonia, just a couple of hours’ drive from the capital region. The city of Mikkeli was founded in 1838, but the history of the area goes back even further. The first signs of settlement date back to the Stone Age. During the Winter War, Finland’s headquarters were located in Mikkeli and, for example, Marshal Mannerheim’s saloon carriage can still be found at the town’s train station. The town’s history is visible as you walk around the town.
Local food in a beautiful setting
The heart of the town is the market of Mikkeli, where you can really get into the local jovial lifestyle. Take a moment to enjoy a leisurely holiday day at a summer café and enjoy a freshly baked pastry with a hot coffee or cool refreshment. Mikkeli’s market is famous and has been voted the best in Finland. The first market was held in 1744 and is still held several times a year.
Mikkeli is a great destination for food travellers. The pure nature of Lake Saimaa with its forests, fields and lakes provides the excellent ingredients that the town’s top restaurants use every day to prepare tasty delicacies. The Mikkeli region is home to several stately manors, whose beautiful gardens are widely known. The restaurants attached to the manors offer the best of local cuisine in a cosy atmosphere.
Due to its location, the Mikkeli region is a popular summer destination and has the second largest number of holiday homes in Finland. The beautiful town offers a wide range of services and is home to many stunning nature sites. Just outside the town is the beautiful Lake Saimaa nature reserve, which you can enjoy on foot or by bike. Grab a bite from the market and go for a picnic on the shores of Lake Saimaa.
Unique sights and amazing experiences
Ristiina in Mikkeli has the largest rock painting complex in the Nordic countries. Astuvansalmi’s rock paintings are best seen from the water, and cruises to the rock paintings are organised during the summer. The hiking trails and lookout points at Neitvuori in Anttola offer stunning views of Lake Saimaa.
Mikkeli has a vibrant cultural life. In the summer, the town hosts the Mikkeli Music Festival which focuses on classical music and in the winter Työväen näyttämöpäivät, a festival for community theatres. The town has several museums, theatres, a cinema and a town orchestra. The War and Peace Centre Muisti, a unique science centre in Finland, is well worth a visit.