Savonlinna, a town in southeast Finland, is renowned for its beautiful surroundings. The lakeland and surrounding countryside are not its only attractions, however, as thousands of visitors go here every year to take part in the local festivities. They mainly go through Savonlinna Airport, about nine miles north of the city centre. It hosts a number of scheduled and charter flights, which increases in time for the Opera Festival and other occasions.
An average of more than 10,000 travellers arrive every year from Helsinki. The planes land on a single asphalt runway, measuring 7,546 ft in length. Travellers arriving at the airport will find basic facilities from a waiting area by the departures area and a small cafeteria. From here, they can commute from the airport to view the natural beauty that Savonlinna is famous for.
What to see & do
Named after a castle, Savonlinna is particularly famous for the Olavinlinna, an immense and stately 15th-century edifice well known across the country. Its defensive fortifications and stunning venue makes it a delight to explore, as it stands directly on a rock in the middle of the lake. Guided tours are available here, which will allow one to hear anecdotes and other interesting facts about the castle. After appreciating the grand interior and surroundings, one can understand why the annual month-long Opera Festival is held here. Those interested to visit at this time will find performers using the castle's courtyard as a stage for the show.
Once tourists finish exploring the castle, one can visit the nearby Savonlinna Maakuntamuseo. Located in an old warehouse, this landmark is a fascinating place to be, due to its collection of photographs and exhibits. They tell about the history of the town and the impact of the water transport on its development. From here, visitors can check out other parts of the warehouse where one can look at the museum ships and get information about the national parks around Savonlinna.
Travellers checking out other sights in Savonlinna will find a multitude of attractions equally fascinating as Olavinlinna. The Kerimaen Iso Kirkko, the largest wooden church in the world, astounds visitors to its size, which can accommodate around 5.000 visitors. The design of the interiors, however, is rather simple with heating impossible to do in winter. Those going around here can relax at the cafe and check potential souvenirs at the gift shop in one of the bell towers. One can also donate a small amount to the parish to climb up the steps and take in the view from the top of the city.
Those interested in the natural surroundings of Savonlinna will find Lusto Forest Museum, which displays various information about the Finnish forests. One can find here exhibits on hunting, cottage culture, and a survey of other forests around the world. When finishing the tour, tourists can head to a more active pursuit that will take one to Punkaharju. Walking will be the major activity here, which involves a seven-kilometre sand ridge that crosses a large lake. The view can be splendid, especially on sunny days, which can intrigue one to go beyond the ridge to move on to the hiking trails in the area.
How to get around
Travellers coming from the airport can either ride a bus or a taxi heading for Savonlinna. During the Opera festival, shuttle buses await at the airport, which one can board. In other less crowded situations, travellers can choose to hire a car for more freedom of movement. One can also think about renting a bicycle, especially when thinking of exploring the countryside.
How to get there
Those interested to visit the town can schedule connecting flights coming from their point of origin to Helsinki Airport, a major port of entry to Finland. Various international airlines connect to Helsinki, which include Aeroflot, airBaltic, Air Berlin, British Airways, Finnair, Flybe, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, and Ukraine International Airlines. Once the plane lands on Helsinki Airport, travellers can connect to Savonlinna Airport via Flybe Nordic.
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