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Why Visit Savonlinna, Finland

Savonlinna is a small town in southeast Finland, in the heart of the Saimaa lake region close to the Russian border. Spread on four islands between lakes, it has long been one of Finland's most visited towns.

Rich in history and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, Savonlinna has become famous for its world-renowned Opera Festival held every July, and for the impressive medieval castle which hosts this annual festival.

The Finnish name of the city means "Castle of Savonia" as it was founded based on Olavinlinna castle in 1639. The castle was erected to protect Savonia and to control the unstable border.

Situated on the shores of the lake, Olavinlinna is the city's symbol and main attraction, built by Erik Axelsson Tott in 1475 and named after the patron saint of knights, St. Olaf.

Today, it is Finland's best-preserved and the world's northernmost medieval fortress which encompasses two small museums located inside: the Castle Museum, dedicated to the castle's history, and the Orthodox Museum, displaying Russian Orthodox icons and paraphernalia.

Right outside the museums are three historic and beautiful ships: the Mikko, the Salama, and the Savonlinna, each one housing exhibitions.

What is more, the courtyard of Castle Olavinlinna is the annual setting for the world-famous Opera Festival, where for 4 weeks every summer in July operatic performances attract thousands of visitors and some of the best performers internationally.

Best Things to Do in Savonlinna, Finland

  • Visit the historic Olavinlinna Castle
  • Explore the Mikko, the Salama, and the Savonlinna ships
  • Learn more about the Savonlinna Opera Festival

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