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Savonlinna (Swedish: Nyslott) is a small city in South Savonia province, Eastern Finland, close to the Russian border. It has about 35,000 inhabitants.

Get in

By plane

  • Savonlinna Airport (SVL IATA). Tiny,is among the least busiest passenger airports in the country, the exception being during the Opera Festival. As of 2021, there are two daily flights from Helsinki by Transaviabaltika that only fly on weekdays, once a week flights are also available from Tallinn. Tickets are sold by Saartelennuliinid. (updated Dec 2021)

By train

As of 2016, there are 3-4 trains daily to/from Parikkala (70 minutes) where they meet intercity trains to/from Helsinki (altogether 4¼ hours) and to/from Joensuu (altogether 2¼ hours). The price is reasonable especially for students, seniors and juniors.

The main station in Savonlinna is called Savonlinna-Kauppatori halt next to the market square. The "station" is unmanned.

By bus

Long-distance buses are also an option. There are 6-9 direct buses to/from Helsinki (4½ to 5½ hours) and roughly hourly buses to/from Mikkeli (1½ hours) with connections to other destinations. For detailed schedules and fares check the site of Matkahuolto (central organization for intercity bus companies).

By car

Savonlinna is about equidistant (about 100 km) from each of MikkeliVarkaus and Imatra, and a little longer from Joensuu. No matter from which direction you're coming from, it's a beautiful drive through the lake landscape, especially in the summer. From Helsinki it's 335 km; about a 4 hours' drive depending on traffic and road conditions.

By boat

Lake Saimaa can be reached by yacht (height max 24 m) from the sea through the Saimaa Canal.

There are cruises e.g. from VarkausKuopio and Lappeenranta. A cruise from Lappeenranta was the common way to get in for vacation travel from Saint Petersburg in Russian times, when the railway towards Helsinki had been built. There are still steamers on the route, but check dates.

Get around

Savonlinna is stretched out on a series of islands in the middle of Lake Saimaa. While you can cover the central parts on foot, you'll need to resort to buses (or rent a car) to access the suburbs. If you want to rent a car, there is a Hertz rental office at the waterfront, near Hotel Tott. Savonlinna is surrounded by lakes and you can also rent a canoe to go around town centre.

Information about local buses can be found here. There is a route planner for local transport trips. Routes and Tickets mobile app has an address based routing and also a ticket purchase option directly from the app.

By taxi

  • Menevä Savonlinna, ☏ +358 50-471-0470 (head of office), toll-free: 0800-02120 (booking). Also bookable by app or web. Fixed price based on calculated route and time if destination address given when booking by app or web. Flag fall M–Sa 06:00–18:00: €4, other times and holidays: €7; 1–4 persons €0.90/km + €0.90/km, 5–8 persons minimum €20, €1.60/km + €0.90/min (July 2020). (updated Jul 2020)
  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi


  • 1 Olavinlinna (Olofsborg), ☏ +358 15 531-164. The castle is open daily 10:00–18:00 in summer, 11:00–16:00 during the rest of the year.. Medieval Olavinlinna is the city's symbol and main attraction. Built in 1475 by Danish knight Erik Axelsson to protect the eastern border of the Swedish-Danish Kalmar Union, it was named after the patron saint of knights, St. Olaf. The Russians were soon on the offensive, but the castle withstood several sieges before capitulating in 1714. The Swedes recaptured it in 1721, but lost it again in 1743, and it stayed in Russian hands ever since. This also explains why it has stayed in such good shape: for the Russians, it was far inland and militarily useless, and hence not a target for the enemy either.Today, Olavinlinna is the world's northernmost medieval stone castle and easily Finland's best-preserved and most attractive castle, and it's quite a sight perched on the shores of the lake. The interior, though, is surprisingly small and sparse (virtually all furniture and decorations were lost in fires in around 1870), and free guided tours take one hour. There are two small museums inside the castle: the Castle Museum which covers the castle's history and the Orthodox Museum with Russian Orthodox Christian icons and paraphernalia. Guided tours in English run every hour in summer (enquire in advance at olavinlinna@nba.fi in other seasons), but you can still visit the museums and courtyards without it. Entry to the castle is €5/3.50 adult/child.  
  • 2 Tuomiokirkko (Savonlinna Cathedral), Kirkkokatu, ☏ +358 15 576-800. The cathedral is Savonlinna's main church, opened in 1879. The church had a bishop in the years 1896–1924 and hence gained the right to bear the name cathedral.  
  • 3 Pikkukirkko (The small church), Olavinkatu 29. Built as an Orthodox church in 1846, transformed into a Lutheran church in 1938, today a popular place for weddings. 
  • 4 Maakuntamuseo Riihisaari (Provincial museum Riihisaari), Riihisaari, ☏ +358 44-417-4466. On Riihisaari island you can learn more about the cultural history and the nature of the region around Lake Saimaa and also visit the natural exhibition of the governmental forest service. 
  • 5 Nukke- ja lelumuseo Suruton (Doll and toy museum Sorrowless), Linnankatu 11, ☏ +358 40-760-5434. A museum of dolls and toys, especially teddybears. 
  • 6 Kasinonsaaret (The Casino islands). Islands close to the city centre, a popular place among the locals for getting out in the nature. Hiking paths and places for swimming and barbecuing. 


  • 1 Cruises (from Kauppatori). June–August, late morning to evening, with earlier and later departures in July. A nice way to see the city and its surroundings is from a small cruise ship. There are cruises of an hour or an hour and a half around the city or the surrounding archipelago, leaving every half an hour or so all day, some with old steamships, some with modern ships. Most have a café of sorts or even restaurant, some are accessible with wheelchair (not necessarily including the toilet). Some have multi-language commentary on the route. There are also longer cruises, even to Kuopio and Lappeenranta. €18/15/9. 
  • 2 Sulosaari. A small island on the other side of the Kylpylä Hotelli Casino, as seen from the city centre. A very picturesque, and quiet place for a stroll. In wintertime, you can include it in a lake-traversing trek, provided the ice is thick enough to walk on (which it usually is). 
  • 3 Kolovesi National Park (visitor centre in Enonkoski, 33 km from Savonlinna centre; boat, bike, car or taxi needed to reach the park from there, with boat from the Heinävesi route). A labyrinth of islands with rocky cliffs by narrow channels. Ancient rock paintings and the Saimaa ringed seal. Best explored with a canoe. Motor boats are off limits in most of the park.  
  • 4 Linnansaari National Park (daily coaches to near Porosalmi, which has boat services to the park; the Savonlinna–Varkaus shipping/boat route goes through the area, reachable from several directions; also cruises from Savonlinna). Lush islands and rocky islets. Best explored by boat or canoe, but there is a boat service to the main island and taxi boats available. Nature trails, an old croft, Saimaa seals and osprays. Tour skating in winter.  


  • 5 Savonlinna Opera Festival (Savonlinnan Oopperajuhlat), Olavinkatu 27. The city is renowned for its yearly Opera Festival organized within St. Olaf's Castle. There is also a Ballet Festival at the same place earlier in the year. €55–270.  


  • 1 Taito Shop Savonlinna, Puistokatu 7. Southern Savonian handicrafts such as hand forged metal items and local herb products are sold in an old wooden building at the lake. 
  • 2 Akselinpoika, Olavinkatu 33. Locally produced meat, fish and cheese delicacies. 
  • 3 The shops Linnankatu, Linnankatu. On Castle street leading to the Olavinlinna castle you can find many small shops selling souvenirs and such. 


During the morning and afternoon, the best place to eat is the market square by the lake, where you can get Eastern Finnish delicacies like lörtsy meat pies and freshly fried muikku (vendace, a type of freshwater herring).


  • 1 Keisarin Puisto, Olavinkatu 33. Chinese food. 
  • 2 Pizzeria Capero, Olavinkatu 51. 
  • 3 Uskudar Kebap, Pilkkakoskenkatu 3. 
  • 4 Hesburger, Olavinkatu 39. The ubiquitous Finnish fast food chain. 


  • 5 Liekkilohi, Kauppatori (Market square), ☏ +358 50-3105-850. The flagship floating restaurant of a franchised chain, the menu here is simple: pick either one of their trademark flame-broiled salmon, fried muikku, the un-Finnishly immodestly named "world's best fish soup" (not quite, alas) for around €15, or go whole hog and get them all plus the amazing cold fish buffet with 17 types to sample for €35. Prices may be negotiable if it's quiet and you're in a group. 
  • 6 Majakka, Satamakatu 11. 
  • 7 Panimoravintola Huvila, Puistokatu 4. A gastro-pub in the city center, brewing its own beer. 




  • 1 Cafe Alegria, Puistokatu 3. 
  • 2 HerkkuPekka, Olavinkatu 53. 
  • 3 Kahvila Saima, Linnankatu 11. 
  • 4 Cafe-Conditoria Sinikka, Olavinkatu 35. 
  • 5 Leivintupa, Kirkkokatu 8. 

Bars and pubs

  • 6 Hapytime, Olavinkatu 35. 
  • 7 Olutravintola Sillansuu, Verkkosaarenkatu 1. 
  • 8 Pub Playoff, Pappilankatu 3. 
  • 9 Juanita, Olavinkatu 44. 


  • 10 The Rocks, Olavinkatu 13. 
  • 11 Club Colo, Olavinkatu 40. 
  • 12 Night & Bar Tamino, Kauppatori 4-6. 
  • 13 Dance Restaurant Mefisto, Kauppatori 4-6. 


  • 1 Sokos Hotel Seurahuone, Kauppatori 4-6. The traditional wing of Hotel Seurahuone was built in 1956, and it was renovated in 1989 when the new wing was completed. The hotel has 80 high-quality rooms - most of them with a view over the lake. 51 of the rooms are non-smoking and a few designed especially for women. 
  • 2 Best Western Spahotel Casino Savonlinna, Kylpylaitoksentie 7. Offers nice rooms in beautiful surroundings, on an island in the city centre. 
  • 3 Perhehotelli Hospitz, Linnankatu 20. Next to the Olavinlinna Castle. 
  • 4 Hotel Pietari Kylliäinen, Olavinkatu 15. City hotel located close to both service and nature. 
  • 5 Lossiranta Lodge, Kalkkiuuninkatu 11. 
  • 6 Holiday Centre Järvisydän, Porosalmentie 303 (Rantasalmi). 30 min. drive from Savonlinna, in the village of Rantasalmi, right next to Linnansaari National Park, offering excellent surroundings for nature activities all year around. Summer cottages villas. Medieval style restaurant Piikatyttö. 

Go next

  • Mikkeli — 100km away by car
  • Kerimäki — featuring the world's largest wooden church
  • Retretti, an art center with exhibitions inside caves in Punkaharju, is accessible by local train from Savonlinna. There are five trains a day, and a train ticket costs 3,90€ for adult.

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