If you are planning to attend the Mikkeli Music Festival, make sure to take some time to explore Mikkeli region. The region is renowned for its beautiful nature and during the festival, nature is truly at its finest. To make the most of your visit, we have put together a list of must-see attractions and activities. Also, some tips for accommodation. Whether you are a music lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a memorable experience, there is something for everyone.
The picturesque area of Mikkeli is home to stunning landscapes, rare animals and unique cultural heritages that will leave you feeling invigorated.
Saimaa ringed seal: Experience a once-in-al-lifetime opportunity to spot the rarest seal in the world by going on a seal watching cruise with skipper Arto. You will also hear fascinating stories about Lake Saimaa and the Saimaa ringed seal. And don’t worry, the cruise is fulfilled in a way that doesn’t disturb the seals in their natural habitat.
Astuvansalmi rock paintings: Prepare to be amazed by the stunning beauty of the Astuvansalmi rock paintings that are the largest rock art site in the Nordics. The place exudes peace of nature. You can head to rock paintings by Hop On Hop Off -tours.
Neitvuori hill and Hiidenmaa routes: After a long day of enjoying music, why not get some exercise and fresh air by hiking up to Neitvuori hill? The landscapes from the top are stunning! If you prefer a longer hike, try “Hiidenkierros” trail, which is 12 kilometers long and signposted by red colour.
Mikkeli region is the haven for food lovers, offering a local cuisine that combines incredible flavors sourced from region’s forests, lakes, meadows, and fields. For example, berries and mushrooms are natural superfood that can be foraged by anyone under everyman’s rights. To fully immerse yourself with local food culture, join a wild food cruise with Arto or a mushroom excursion with Härkäniemen Tuvat and learn how to forage for these delicious ingredients. And if you want to experience the full Finnish culinary tradition, try baking mushroom pie on your own.
In addition to foraging, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Saimaa teem with fish, including the popular vendace (known as “Muikku”). Vendace and especially vendace roe are some of Mikkeli’s top food, that you simply must taste! For an even more authentic experience, consider catching your own fish for a dinner.
To ensure of eating local, responsibly produced products, prefer D.O. Saimaa products and D.O. Saimaa Support-restaurants. D.O. Saimaa products reflect the distinctive character of the Saimaa region. They are excellent examples of Saimaa's food and cultural heritage and the region's own specialities.
When it comes to restaurants, there are must-visit restaurants in the region: Tertti Manor in Mikkeli, Sahanlahti Resort in Puumala and TeaHouse of Wehmais in Juva. Each of these Saimaa Gastronomy-restaurants offers a unique culinary experience.
If you are looking for a cozy café with landscapes and waffles, head to the Naisvuori Tower café. On top of the observation tower you can see Mikkeli city with Lake Saimaa view.
Mikkeli region offers several historical museums, galleries, churches and outdoor art. But if to have to mention just a few of them, below you can find the list.
Muisti Centre of War and Peace in Mikkeli: Muisti Centre of War and Peace is a modern museum which examines the effects of war from the perspective of human experience. The interactive exhibition at Muisti enables you to understand what war felt like for those who were confronted by it, how it affected society at the time, and how it still affects it today.
Art Centre Salmela in Mäntyharju: Salmela’s annual exhibition showcases visual art by recognized veterans of modern Finnish art as well as young, upcoming talent. The largest visual arts festival in Finland, Art Centre Salmela welcomes you to the 34th annual exhibit 10 June – 13 August 2023. They are open from 11am to 6pm every day.
Kenkävero: Kenkävero old vicarage is a versatile, year-round tourist attraction in Mikkeli. In the historical milieu with restored buildings, you will find restaurants serving local food and local delicacies, as well as shops with a variety of Finnish handicraft, gift and souvenirs, decoration and grocery. During the summer season the activities are complemented by various exhibitions and events, summer-shops and a lush garden with animals. Kenkävero is also a great destination for various clients' own parties and events.
Mikkeli marketplace: Marketplace in Mikkeli is situated in the very heart of the Mikkeli center. Here you can find the freshest fruits and berries, same day harvested vegetables, handmade artesan products and many cafes. In the summertime marketplace is open from 7 in the morning till late, some salesbooths are open even till 9 pm from monday to saturday. Usually, cafes are open also on Sundays during summerperiod 1st of June till the end of August.
Hospitality is deeply ingrained in Finnish culture, and we take pride in sharing our way of life with others, even if it may seem a bit unusual. Finnish cottage life is a beloved pastime, and you can experience it by renting a cottage in the Mikkeli region.
Sauna is also a cornerstone of Finnish culture, and we highly recommend you try an authentic Finnish sauna experience. Join the locals for a sauna session with Uhkua, or enjoy a wellness sauna experience at Härkäniemen Tuvat, located just a stone’s throw from Mikkeli city centre.
Here are a few recommendations as categories below.
For city break: SokosHotel Vaakuna or Scandic Mikkeli
For luxury-lover: Elsanranta in Puumala or PihlasResort in Joroinen
For adventure-lovers: Uhkua in Ristiina
Authentic cottage life: Okkolan Lomamökit in Puumala, Härkäniemen tuvat in Mikkeli
In rural settings: B&B Pinus in Mäntyharju