Are you planning a tour of Finnish lakeland? Then the ultimate choice is Route 62 – a route that runs from Mikkeli via Anttola and Lietvesi to Puumala and Ruokolahti. The hilly and rocky terrain follows the shores of Lake Saimaa, and the further you go, the more amazing the scenery becomes. The route has been selected as one the five most beautiful routes in the Nordic countries. Along the way, you can stop to admire the scenery, take part in cultural experiences and enjoy local food and hospitality. The route is accessible by car, motorcycle or bicycle.
Route 62 is part of the Green Gold Cultural Route, which starts from Mäntyharju and goes around Lake Saimaa, along wooded trails and through small villages in South Savo. If you are coming from the direction of Mäntyharju, the signposts of the cultural route will lead you towards Ristiina. Astuvansalmi rock paintings on the steep cliffs of Astuvansalmi represent cultural history dating back 6,000 years.
When driving from Mikkeli to Puumala, the first stop is Anttola, which is a popular holiday cottage location, but also a destination for wine tourism: At the Ollinmäki Wine farm, you can taste and buy wines made from local berries and fruits. Saimaanranta Resort villas on the shores of Lake Saimaa offers quality accommodation. Stay for a night or longer – there are lots of activities both in summer and winter. Anttola Kone ja Urheilu (Machine and Sports) offers nature tourists and boaters information, equipment rental and guided excursions to the landscapes of Neitvuori and Luonteri. At the restaurant Poiju you can enjoy food and refreshments as well as a view of the lake.
As the journey continues, the Lake Saimaa landscape becomes more and more visible and the roads become more winding as you approach Lietvesi. Small rocky islands and islets are sprinkled here and there along Lake Saimaa, and it is hard to keep your eyes on the road when all you want to do is admire the views. Fortunately, Lietvesi has a lookout point where you can stop to enjoy the views.
Sahanlahti Resort, located between Lietvesi and Puumala, is a place worth a visit. Built in an old sawmill setting, the tourist centre offers delicious food, accommodation, a smoke sauna and a wide range of activities. A spectacular view of Lake Saimaa crowns the visit.
Puumala is a charming municipality with a harbour on the shores of Lake Saimaa. In the past you could cross the Puumalansalmi-strait by ferry, but these can still be found operating in Hätinvirta and Syyspohja and from the direction of Sulkava. However, it is not a good idea to just drive past Puumala, even though the bridge across the strait is handsome. Instead, head to the harbour to spend a leisurely moment watching passing boat traffic and tasting fresh vendace fish and other delicacies.
Puumala has many activity services and equipment rental opportunities: you can go canoeing with Saimaa Canoeing Services, take a trip to spot ringed seals, go on various cruises and guided nature tours with LakelandGTE. The popular Puumala archipelago route can be explored by motorbike or by renting a bicycle, with or without electricity, and remember to take lunch or snacks in your backpack. Part of the journey is done by boat, which you can take your bike on.
Route 62 ends on Highway 6, from where you can turn either towards Imatra and Lappeenranta or northeast towards Parikkala or Punkaharju. In other words, the journey can be completed in either direction. There is plenty to see and do for several occasions!