Retkeilijä Saimaan talvisessa kansallispuistossa
Retkeilijä Saimaan talvisessa kansallispuistossa

National Parks of Lake Saimaa and unique natural sites

National Parks offer tourists the opportunity to see the most beautiful part of Finland. There are 41 national parks in Finland, two of which are located in the Lake Saimaa area. Linnasaari and Kolovesi National Parks are excellent destinations for water sports enthusiasts. In addition, there are other unique natural sites in the Lake Saimaa region for tourists to enjoy.

National parks play an important role in safeguarding biodiversity and giving people the opportunity to spend time in nature. Finns enjoy walking in nature and find it relaxing. National parks are large nature reserves where anyone can enjoy the spectacular scenery and the calming effect of nature.

National Parks have nature trails and marked routes, from which you can choose the one that suits your level. Along the trails, there are campsites where you can take a break and have a snack. The responsible traveller will always remember to put out the fire before moving on. In national parks, you can also stay overnight in specially marked camping sites or in buildings designed for overnight stays.

National Parks of the Saimaa ringed seal

Right in the heart of Lake Saimaa are two magnificent national parks, Linnasaari and Kolovesi National Parks. Both national parks are great places to spot the Saimaa ringed seal basking in the spring sunshine.

Linnasaari National Park is located in the middle of Lake Saimaa. Made up of bodies of water, islands and islets, the park’s lands are accessible by walking across water or ice. During the summer, boat services are organised from nearby residential areas to the main island of the National Park, Linnasaari.

The region’s second National Park, Kolovesi National Park, is also located in the heart of Lake Saimaa. In Kolovesi, it is worth setting off early in the morning for a kayaking trip through the labyrinthine archipelago. Along the waterways, towering cliffs with ancient rock paintings can be seen. To protect the Saimaa ringed seal, motorboats are not allowed in the waters of Kolovesi National Park. It is also forbidden to walk in the Kolovesi National Park in winter.

The wonderful Lake Saimaa

The nature of Lake Saimaa is renowned for its beauty and purity. In addition to the National Parks, the Lake Saimaa region has many unique natural sites that attract tourists year after year.

Linnasaari and Kolovesi National Parks are located near Savonlinna and Varkaus. However, both towns also have other nature sites worth visiting. How about a summer bike ride in the ridge landscapes at sunset? In Savonlinna you can taste a piece of this Finnish national romanticism by cycling along the Punkaharju landscape route. And how about a summer concert at the foot of a stone cliff? Jäppilän Kivikuru is the largest shingle beach in Southern Finland with really great acoustics.

South Karelia has many unique natural sites. Imatra is home to the magnificent Imatrankoski and next to it is Finland’s first nature reserve, Kruununpuisto. In the neighbouring municipality of Ruokolahti, there is a real hidden gem, Kummakivi. As its name suggests, Kummakivi has been a source of fascination for centuries. The boulder is a well-known attraction, but it has been left in as natural a state as possible, rather than being harnessed to the public. The nearby car park is accessible by car and from there you can continue along the nature trails. 

In the Mikkeli region is Astuvansalmi from where you can admire the prehistoric rock paintings painted on the cliffs, which are best seen from the water. The largest series of rock paintings in the Nordic countries is a protected site that you can look at but not touch. Those looking for great hiking sceneries should head to Neitvuori which offers stunning views of the Luonteri Lake District. Luonteri is a part of the lake at the northern end of Lake Saimaa and its rocky islands are part of the Saimaa Geopark attractions.