Eastern Finland (Itä-Suomen lääni) is a province of Finland.
Eastern Finland is divided into three provinces.
Eastern Finland is a land of lakes: seen from above, the region consists of an endless patchwork of lakes and low rolling hills, originally gouged out by sheets of ice during the Ice Age. This also makes it Finland's top destination for summer cottages, and there are countless spots to indulge in the Finnish national obsession for sauna, sausages and a dip in the lake.
Culturally, Eastern Finland is the home of the Savo people and their close cousins the Karelians, although much of historical Karelia was absorbed into the USSR after Finland's defeat in World War II.
The Savo dialect is wordy and stretched out, with consonants doubling and diphthongs mutating in various ways. According to the stereotype, Savonians talk much more than the average taciturn Finn, yet despite this (whisper it quietly) almost Russian habit for speeches and gesticulation, they're also masters of the vague non-reply. Indeed, the canonical Savo response to any question is suattaapi olla, vuan suattaapi olla olemattannii, or "it might be, but it might also be that it's not".
All main cities in Eastern Finland are served by train. Trains are usually faster and slightly cheaper than the bus, but on some routes bus schedules may be more convenient.
Buses fill in the gaps where trains don't go.
Distances are long and public transport outside the main cities varies between limited and non-existent. If you're planning on staying at a cottage, having your own car is pretty much obligatory.
There are nice spa hotels in Imatra, Kuopio and Savonlinna. They offer large swimming pool departments with jacuzzis, children's pools, saunas, steam rooms and spa treatments also for day visitors. Spa hotels also organize many activities.
As the lakeside area and one of the most rural areas in Finland after Lapland, Eastern Finland has a lot to explore. There are five National Parks in the region, of which scenery of Koli National Park is one of Finland's National Landscapes.
There are a couple of eastern Finnish specialities worth sampling:
The best place for eating any of these is at the market, found in the center of any larger town.
There are nice spa hotels in Imatra, Kuopio and Savonlinna. The room price isn't much more expensive than in normal hotels but it includes a free use of large swimming pool departments with jacuzzis, saunas etc.
In summer, an excellent option is to stay at a cottage (mökki), thousands of which dot the lake shores. See the main Finland article for tips and the city articles for listings.