My name is Eemeli Heikkinen. I was born and I've spent most of my life in Mikkeli. I have lived also in many other places and describe myself as a traveller. I’m working as a project manager in the construction industry and own a small real estate company, which offers homes and accommodation in the Mikkeli region. In my own words, I am addicted to stunning landscape views and adrenaline-filled activities.
Adrenaline filled activities, freshwater lakes, architecture, landscapes, friendly people, good food, better beer, seeing world and cultures
Mikkeli is a beautiful city with a lot to offer for visitors. The best parts of the Mikkeli region are stunning nature, jovial people and innovative entrepreneurs. In my opinion, many of the best places to visit here are a combination of those.
Mikkeli region is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes, including the beautiful Lake Saimaa, which is perfect for swimming, watersports, boating, and fishing. Lake Saimaa is a must-see, with its stunning islands, clear fresh water and natural beauty. For nature enthusiasts, also the region’s nature offers great places for hiking, biking, or simply enjoy the restful Finnish wilderness.
My guide tips for Mikkeli
Summer cottages, local way of life. Southern-Savo is the promised land of summer cottages. There are many ways to get and enjoy cottage life. Many Finnish people or their family own a summer cottage, and they are easily willing to invite their new friends to enjoy their cottage or experience a traditional finnish sauna.
Pro tip: It is also possible to rent a private cottage for a day or two, or even a week or month. Almost all of the cottages are on a lakeside with their own private beach. That's the absolutely best way to breathe a local way of life!
Saimaa archipelago. There are so many possibilities to enjoy Saimaa, even in a short visit. For adrenaline-heads it is possible to rent a boat, jet ski or snowmobile in wintertime. Those who want to take it a little bit more slowly, can rent a kayak. With kayaking, great places for day-trip from the Mikkeli area are kayaking to lay down at Visulahti white-sand beach or kayaking to enjoy delicious pancakes at Kyyhkylä café.
For short- and easy going-day activities, a good way is also to rent a SUP-board.
Pro tip: Around Saimaa archipelago, there are also a lot of hidden islands and beaches open for public with saunas, where you can stay the night in a tent, make some BBQ at a firepit and take traditional Finnish sauna with a refreshing dip in a lake. All that you can do with “Finnish everyman’s rights”. All you need is to rent a boat or kayak (+ map!) and take your own gears with you.
Neitvuori hill. Neitvuori hill is one of the highest mountains near Mikkeli. From the top you can see wonderful scenery above Lake Saimaa with its numerous islands. There is a small hike to the top of the hill, but it is also possible to take a longer hike around Neitvuori Hill before climbing up.
Pro tip for the true adventurers, it is possible to rent a small shepherd’s house for one week in summer and take care of sheep and live like they did in Finland 100 yearr ago.
DOM and pub scene. After an enjoyable day at Saimaa, the best place to refuel with good food and beer is DOM. “Uncles of DOM '' are good examples of innovative entrepreneurs in Mikkeli. In DOM they offer best “Savonian-Napolitan pizzas' ', friendly service, the widest beer selection and even a craft beer shop inside. At DOM’s terrace you can feel the atmosphere like on a terrace of a central European neighbourhood restaurant, with flowering vine bushes covering red brick walls.
Pro tip: Mikkeli have lot of great pub’s . These are good places to get to know local people and get invited to their cottages and saunas.
Pistohiekka resort and camping site. If you have time to go a little bit further away from Mikkeli, Pistohiekka is a beautiful natural sand beach between Mikkeli and Puumala. Camping site of Pistohiekka has just opened again after decades of silence. From Pistohiekka, you can also find brave and innovative entrepreneurs who built their new Pistohiekka resort with a public Sauna, restaurant and bar. For architecture lovers like me, it is worth mentioning that Pistohiekka-resort is even mentioned at Archdaily architecture media for its wood design and architecture. The structure is absolutely eye candy.
Pro tip: Sauna there is a must do!
Sahanlahti resort. More and more landscapes and innovative entrepreneurs I admire. In Sahanlahti, an old sawmill is developed into a full-service resort. In the same courtyard, there are different restaurants and activities to do and see. And the place is worth-seeing even if you are not hungry or in need of activities. Rantamakasiini offers good burgers and stunning views. If you are going in this direction, you can do Pistohiekka, Sahanlahti and Puumala harbour on the same trip!
Pro tip: Sahanlahti is also a must go place if you are boating at Saimaa.
Puumala archipelago route. Super beautiful landscape for cycling trips. Combination of biking, Saimaa archipelago, incredible views, good restaurants and possibilities for camping. During the route, you will go past Puumala bridge, Sahanlahti and Pistohiekka where you can stop to eat, drink or stay for night.
You’re able to cycle the whole route in one day (~60km) or take camping gear with you and stay one night, for example, at the Pistohiekka camping site. Or stay in Okkola Holiday Cottages or Sahanlahti Resort. The route has a lot of ups and downs, so bring plenty of water and a cheerful mind.
Pro tip: Those who need speed (that’s me), can do the route by motorbike.
Hiking and biking. Mikkeli area has lot of good places for hiking and biking. In my opinion, the best places for short hikes are Kommelin luolat near Orijärvi with hidden caves and bats, Säynätti hiking trail at Ylä-Säynätjärvi with a steep cliff or the Kenkävero-Mikkelinpuisto-Kaihu route near Mikkeli marketplace.
For mountain biking take “Karhun kiertämä”-route in Kalevankangas or steep downhill routes at Tornimäki.
Pro tip: You can rent a mountain bike or electric bike in many places in Mikkeli.
Art at Instile Mannila. In Otava, there is an atmospheric art and pizza place Instile Mannila. The old grain silo has got new life as an art gallery and the old farming house as a tasteful pizzeria. This place is open at summertime. There is also an Italian deli shop where you can buy pizza toppings for baking your own pizzas at summer cottage.
Overall, Mikkeli offers something for everyone, whether you're interested in nature, history, art or local delicacies. It's a great place to visit and explore.