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5 hidden gems of Saimaa nature

See & do

The trails wind around striking and diverse terrain, through the boreal forests and by the shores of Saimaa's lakes, making it an ideal hiking area. In amongst the beautiful scenery, you’ll also see the tell-tale marks left by the Ice Age! For those who prefer watersports, we also offer opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and SUP-boarding. Here are five options for hiking and paddling.

Luonteri waters

The rugged and beautiful Luonteri is a geological and historical gem of Lake Saimaa, a Saimaa Geopark site. Both the Saimaa ringed seal and many species of fish thrive in its clear waters.

The landscape of Luonteri is a combination of wide-open waters, wooded islands, steep rock walls, smooth rocky islets, bays, capes and beautiful sandy beaches. Go for a guided paddling trip! 

A calm lake and rocky islands in evening sun.
Small rocky islands are characteristic to Lake Luonteri. 

Saimaa Unesco Global Geopark sites 

Discover the hidden treasures from Saimaa Geopark, which is an international geopark with the UNESCO Global Geopark label. Geopark is a nature tourism concept that combines the significant geological heritage, landscapes, and attractions of the region. There are 45 nature or cultural destinations in the Mikkeli region. The pearls are Astuvansalmi rock paintings in Ristiina and Neitvuori Hill in Anttola for example. 

Neitvuori hill and Hiiden polut hiking trails 

The Hiiden polut hiking trails circle the terrain of Luonteri. In Neitvuori, there is a 4-km-long “Hiijje silimukka” trail which connects to a 12-km-long Hiidenkierros trail. You can admire the views from several lookouts and have a a break at campfire sites along the trails. From Neivuori, you can hike to the Metsänväentaival trails in Juva along a connecting trail. Along the trail you can find the huge broken erratic and Saimaa Unesco Geopark site called Enkelinpesä “angel’s nest”.

A view over an archipelago with winding waterways and wooded islands.
Neitvuori hill opens a wonderful vista to Lake Luonteri archipelago. 

Squirrel Route for paddling in Juva

This 57 kilometers long family-friendly paddling route is located between Juva and Sulkava. The route is at its best in early summer (May or June) when nature is waking up.

Three paddlers in a canoe in a stream in the middle of nature.
The Squirrel route runs in idyllic nature. There are few easy rapids along the route.

Repoveden National Park

Repovesi National Park is a popular and well-maintained hiking destination between Mäntyharju and Kouvola. The park has also received a reward of being the "Best natural attraction of the year 2012". In Repovesi, one may find numerous trails and alternative routes to hike: enjoy the great suspension bridge, cable ferry or the numerous camping sites in the park! Trails and signposts are kept in excellent condition, and numerous wells are located by the trails to enable visitors to fill their water bottles on the way.

Rokansaari island in Puumala

Rokansaari Island boasts sandy beaches, ridges and pine forests. There are also fine inland ponds on the island. At the turquoise Umpilampi pond there is an old traditional sauna. The exceptionally beautiful nature of these islands also attracts the local nature lovers. Best time to visit the island is when the lake water is warm and you can enjoy swimming on these natural beaches made by the ice age. It has been a hidden gem, so please take care of nature! Do not litter, make fire only on marked spots, avoid loud noises and use paths. The boat marina, camp site and toilets are run by the Saimaa Recreational Association! 

A woman is walking barefooted along a fine sandy beach by a lake.
Rokansaari island has fine, sandy beaches.