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Punkaharju

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Punkaharju is a town and municipality in South Savonia in the Finnish Lakeland.

Understand

Punkaharju is also the name of the ridge north of the town centre that nearly divides Lake Saimaa. The iconic ridge is one of the national landscapes of Finland.

Get in

By train

Local trains between Parikkala and Savonlinna stop in Punkaharju. A couple of trains run each day on the line. There are three railway stations in the area:

  • Punkaharju in the town centre is the southernmost station.
  • Lusto further north is the station to get off if you're going to the ridge, the forest museum or the State hotel.
  • Retretti still further north towards Savonlinna, get off here for the Retretti gallery and Kesämaa amusement park.

By bus

Buses between Parikkala and Savonlinna stop in Punkaharju.

By car

Highway 14 between Parikkala and Savonlinna passes through the town, and continues along the ridge.

Get around

By car

Driving is the quickest way to go from one place to another.

By foot or bike

The more leisurely way to get around, popular in the summer, is walking or cycling. There are good paths for these activities in the area.

See

  • 1 Lusto forest museum (Lusto Suomen Metsämuseo), Lustontie 1, ☏ +358 15 345 100, fax: +358 15 345 1050, lusto@lusto.fi. Learn about Finland's forests and forestry. 
  • 2 Retretti Art Center, Tuunaansaarentie 3. An art gallery for modern art where the exhibitions are located in caves underground! 

Do

  • 1 Punkaharju ridge and Punkaharju Nature Reserve. Walk or bike along the paths, climb it, drive on the highway along it, see it from a rowing boat or from the observation deck of Punkaharju water tower. Part of the ridge is a nature reserve with trails, lookout points, camp fire site and rental cabin. 
  • 2 Kesämaa, Kesämaantie 2, info@kesamaa.fi. Basically a water-themed playground geared towards younger children. 
  • 3 Canoeing on Lake Saimaa (Punkaharjun Tuunaanportti), Tuunaansaarentie 2 (next to the road 14, at the petrol station), ☏ +358 44 755 0382, harjunportti@harjunportti.fi. Rent a kayak and accessories and take a trip on Lake Saimaa. It is easy and enjoyable even for beginners. The rental should be booked in advance during the summer season. They will also lend you a waterproof map in the rental and suggest trip options. Other equipment that can be rented includes: bikes, skike roller skates, scooters, rowing boats, motor boats, ... If you plan to stay over night, the accommodation can be booked in comfortable cottages, which are quite similar to those of Punkaharjun lomakeskus. A single kayak: 30 €/day. 

Buy

Eat

Drink

  • 1 Punkero Baari, Kuusitie 1. 

Sleep

Budget

  • 1 Maatilamatkailu Mannila, Koskelontie 127, ☏ +358 15 644 400, maatilamatkailu.mannila@co.inet.fi. B&B on a farm on Vaahersalo island north of the ridge. 

Mid-range

  • 2 Laatokanportti, Kuutostie 722, (Near Retretti), ☏ +358 44 7227600. A Hotel next to lake Saimaa. 

Mid-range

  • Punkaharjun lomakeskus, Tuunaansaarentie 4 (Near Retretti), ☏ +358 29 007 4050, info@easyholiday.fi. A resort offering accommodation in cottages and apartment-style rooms. 

Splurge

  • 3 Punkaharjun valtionhotelli (Punkaharju State Hotel), Harjutie 596, ☏ +358 20 752 9100, info@punkaharjunvaltionhotelli.fi. The oldest hotel in Finland, built in 1845 by decree of the Russian tsar. The luxurious hotel is an attraction in itself even if you don't stay there. Open only in the summer months. 

Connect

Go next

  • Kerimäki — The village with the world's largest wooden church.
  • Savonlinna — The largest town in the region, best known for its castle Olavinlinna.

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