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Must do in the Mikkeli region

Locals recommend

Planning a trip in the Mikkeli region but don’t know where to start?  Here are seven experiences that you won’t want to miss. It’s hard to compress the experiences in seven tips of the region that has something to everyone. For more ideas and information about the region, please don’t hesitate to contact our tourist information.

Explore Astuvansalmi rock paintings

Astuvansalmi rock paintings are worth visiting! Astuvansalmi in Ristiina hosts the largest rock art site in the Nordics.

In Astuvansalmi’s rock, a large side profile of a human face, formed by the elements, can be seen from the lake. Ancient humans possibly considered the shape of the rock to be a god or its image, and the place is thought to have been some sort of place of worship.

Astuvansalmi rock paintings can be dated based on Lake Saimaa’s history. At its highest, the lake’s surface level was around 10–10,5 meters above the current water level. Before the Vuoksi River emptying Lake Saimaa formed, only the paintings on the utmost part of the rock could have been above water. After a thousand years, the surface level had fallen sufficiently to reveal the rock terrace in front of the paintings. The pictures at Astuvansalmi therefore date back to approximately 4000–2200 BCE. The painting area is around 16,5 m wide and 5,5 m tall.

Around 80 pictures have been found on Astuvansalmi’s rock. The motifs include human figures, moose, boats, fish, lines, as well as hand and paw prints. In addition, the rock shows a covering layer of red. The most common pictures are a moose, a human figure, or a boat.

Hike up to Neitvuori hill 

The towering terrain of Neitvuori hill challenges hikers with steep climbs and rewards them with stunning lake views over the Luonteri archipelago and the labyrinth of Lake Saimaa. Neitvuori is one of the highest hills in South Savo at 184 m, with a peak 110 m above the surface of Lake Saimaa. On Neitvuori, admire the scenery and enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of nature. Bring your snacks or buy them from the Harbour Pavilion Poiju restaurant if needed.

Mikkeli marketplace

Right place for local spotting is the marketplace. Here you can see people chatting, having lunch or coffee break, and just spending time. 

Taste delicacies made from home and buy clean locally sourced ingredients from pure nature, fields and meadows. 

Taste culinary delights at Saimaa Gastronomy restaurants

Saimaa Gastronomy is a network of four passionate restaurants offering high-quality food made from local ingredients. Whether you are looking for a unique culinary experience, a dinner or lunch, head to Tertti Manor, Teahouse of Wehmais or Sahanlahti Resort

And if you prefer to cook by yourself, visit Kenkävero and check you the D.O. Saimaa shop. In addition, here you will also find souvenirs. 

Hop on the Saimaa Ringed Seal watching cruise with skipper Arto  

If you’re interested in seeing the world’s rarest seal, hop on the seal watching cruise in Puumala. With skipper Arto, you have an opportunity to get close with the iconic Saimaa ringed seal. Experienced guide Arto knows how to spot this cutie without disturbing it. And what is more, Arto will tell you the best stories of the region!

Explore the Finnish sauna culture 

Finland, especially the Saimaa region, is well-known for its sauna culture, and for good reason. Sitting in a sauna is an incredibly relaxing and meditative experience. Learn about this tradition with a local. Sitting with someone who knows the sauna culture, gives you the perfect opportunity to understand the sauna’s spiritual significance. Find out more here.

Visit Muisti Centre of War and Peace

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.