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Eastern Finland

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Eastern Finland (Itä-Suomen lääni) is a province of Finland.

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Regions[edit]

Eastern Finland is divided into three provinces.

Towns[edit]

Other destinations[edit]

  • Kerimäki — the world's largest wooden church
  • Koli National Park
  • Ruunaa National Hiking Area, Lieksa
  • Punkaharju scenic road on top of a small ridge with spectacular lake views on both sides.

Understand[edit]

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.

Talk[edit]

Savo dialect on a sign in Savonlinna

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".

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna have small airports with limited service to Helsinki only.

By train[edit]

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.

By bus[edit]

Buses fill in the gaps where trains don't go.

Get around[edit]

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.

See[edit][add listing]

Saimaa (Saimen in Swedish) is a lake in Southeastern in Finland. At 1,147 square km (443 square miles), it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fifth largest in Europe.

Do[edit][add listing]

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.

Nature[edit]

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.

  • Hike. From National parks and other hiking areas you can find several shorter and longer hiking trails with clearly marked paths, from easy to demanding. Hiking is also allowed anywhere thanks to everyman's right.
  • Paddle

Eat[edit][add listing]

Fried vendace (muikku) fresh from the market, Pieksämäki

There are a couple of eastern Finnish specialities worth sampling:

  • Kalakukko, a type of large rye bread pastry with fish and meat stuffed inside, can be eaten warm or cold.
  • Lörtsy, a large, flat variant of the ubiquitous deep-fried meat pie (lihapiirakka), can also be stuffed with apple jam
  • Vendace (muikku), a type of small freshwater herring, most commonly coated with rye flour, quickly fried and eaten while piping hot
  • Karjalanpiirakka Karelian pie is a special kind of pastry made from rye flour and filled with rice porridge or mashed potatoes

The best place for eating any of these is at the market, found in the center of any larger town.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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.



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