Monday, June 17, 2013

Finland travel tips: Savonlinna

Stories / Cultural tourism / Finland

“Savonlinna… where history becomes real”. This is the second “chapter of the journey” in Finland. Earlier we could read some information about Finland in general, so now it is time to concentrate on Savonlinna.

Where: Savonlinna, Finland.
What:Travel Smart” series

Savonlinna is a small town, but very beautiful and comfortable. You cannot get lost, because it is a pretty simple town. Most likely you are going to visit the city center and the fortress; therefore, let us start this chapter of the journey in the city center of Savonlinna. 


Market square in Savonlinna
Market square
 
The city center is quite small; there is a central square called “tori” in Finnish and there you can find lots of fairs, the Info point and simply walk ahead to get to the harbor. That small street name is Kauppatori. There you can also find Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone. The hotel has a very good location in the city center and a very comfortable inside. If you choose this option, get upstairs to the 6th floor to the terrace where you can have a cup of coffee, a glass of beer, some snacks or a pie, or anything and you can enjoy the view; it is so terrific. You are able to see Savonlinna (at least one half of it) and feel the gentle wind coming from the water. 

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone in Savonlinna
Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone in Savonlinna
Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone terrace on the 6th floor
Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone terrace on the 6th floor
 
There are plenty of cafés and restaurants near the harbor. You can choose the best suitable design, location, menu, or simply view for yourself and enjoy your meal. Prices are quite affordable and choice is diverse. One of such places is Majakka restaurant. The atmosphere is amazing and charming; you can enjoy your meal both inside of the restaurant and outside, on the terrace. Guests are very welcome at that place and you always have a feeling that you chose the right place. 

Majakka Restaurant in Savonlinna
Majakka Restaurant

After your meal, walk down the harbor and take pictures, breathe the air and enjoy everything you see and hear. There are lots of cruises leaving regularly, if you want to take one and explore more waterways. Do not forget to check the square, where you started the trip; buy some souvenirs, find something for yourself.

On the same street you can find another hotel, which is Tott. You can choose this one as an option. It is located very close to the city center. In front of that hotel there is a parking place, where you can park your car for a whole day. 

Tott Hotel in Savonlinna Finland
Tott Hotel

Let us move on to the heart of Savonlinna, its fortress. The fortress has its own name, Olavinlinna. Here it is called a castle, but I would say it is a fortress. Anyway, it is a good place to visit, actually, the most important one if you are in Savonlinna. It works all days in summer and there are special guided tours for the guests. 

Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna  Finland
Olavinlinna Castle
  
You can have lunch inside of it and walk through small doors and dark rooms of Olavinlinna, which keeps the history inside of its walls. Do not forget to visit the museum nearby. It has a lot of interesting stuff inside. There is a parking place not far from it. Wandering around the museum you can enjoy the view of the water, cruise boats passing you by and even swim. 

Harbor in Savonlinna
Harbor

If you suddenly feel hungry, there is definitely something for you! First of all, within that area there are several cafés, restaurants and bistros. So, the first place is a very nice place called Sarasto. You can have lunch or order some cold drinks and enjoy the view to Olavinlinna and the water. Life slows down for a while and you feel so peaceful and relaxed. I recommend that place as one of the best ones in that area. 

Sarasto Restaurant in Savonlinna
Sarasto Restaurant

Another really good place is the neighboring place, a restaurant called Valo. That place has a very good location too and a terrific view to the water. You can have lunch or get some cold drinks during a hot day. My experience was that I tried the dish called "Paistetut muikut" which means “fried vendace”. It is really tasty and it is a famous and favorite dish in Savonlinna among Finns. So, take your time to taste it!

Valo Restaurant in Savonlinna
Valo Restaurant

There is another place not far from it, called Café Saima. It is a nice place hidden among houses and away from the town. It gives you a sense of your intimacy in a town.

As for me, my favorite ones (if talking about the ones near Olavinlinna) are Sarasto restaurant and Valo restaurant. They are very good ones and have a high level of service, friendly staff and good choice of dishes. So, Hyvää ruokahalua! As it means – enjoy your meal!

Street near PerheHotelli in Savonlinna
Street near PerheHotelli

There are some more hotels and cafés in Savonlinna, obviously; however, I would like to mention two more. One of them is located really close to the above mentioned restaurants. The hotel name is PerheHotelli Hospitz. I was inside of it and was amazed. I like the design very much. It reminds the sense of the past, more likely to make you feel a part of “Sherlock Holmes adventure”. Very unique and charming interior, peaceful atmosphere and friendly staff are making that place so special. I would recommend it as a new unforgettable experience.

PerheHotelli Hospitz in Savonlinna
PerheHotelli Hospitz
PerheHotelli Hospitz in Savonlinna

Another hotel I would like to say some words about is Best Western Spa Hotel Casino, Savonlinna. I like the interior; it is a good mix of old classics and new modern and comfortable design. You have enough space, a view to the water, city center pretty close to the hotel, and a casino (of course, in case if you play). By the way, it has changed a little in its design; the pictures you can see on the website are from its previous look, a new one has more intimate look. You can definitely consider this hotel as one of the options.

Best Western Spa Hotel Casino in Savonlinna
Best Western Spa Hotel Casino
Best Western Spa Hotel Casino in Savonlinna

Here I would like to end this chapter of the journey. I tried to show some interesting places to visit, some cafés, restaurants to have lunch at, some hotels required during your trip, and some directions to make it more enjoyable.

Shore near Olavinlinna in Savonlinna
Shore near Olavinlinna

There are many other places to be in Savonlinna, some of them you might choose and plan on your own; and it is great! Just take your time and do not be afraid to explore more! There are more towns and cities of Finland in the following chapters of the journey!

Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna

Kirill “Traveler” Malyutin


About Travel Smart series:
“Travel Smart” is a section, narrating about different countries and good travel tips, advised by the author, Kirill Malyutin. The series contains recommendations, including selected places to visit, character accommodation, and reasonable shopping. Simply get inspiration!

О серии «Travel Smart»:
«Travel Smart» – раздел, в котором автор Кирилл Малютин рассказывает о разных странах и дает необходимые в путешествии советы. Серия включает в себя рекомендации по посещенным автором местам, характерным средствам размещения, а также разумному шопингу. Вдохновитесь приключением! 


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