Saimaa Lake – Finland
Saimaa is one of the most beautiful lake areas in the world, rivalling some of the most visited lakes around the globe. There is no larger lake in Finland and it is the fourth largest in Europe. Located in the south-east of the country, Saimaa consists of hundreds of islands and smaller lakes. Because this beautiful place connects up to the gulf of Finland and a bunch of canal systems, you can also cruise via the Saimaa Channel to practically wherever you want to go. There are a lot of wonderful cities and villages surrounding lake Saimaa. Cities like Lappeenranta, Mikkeli and Savonlinna are very popular.
Every season is good time to travel to see Saimaa. But perhaps summer is the best. In the summer, it is possible to experience nights when sun doesn’t go down and it is beautifully light and peaceful 24 hours a day. Numerous old Finnish tales tell about the summer “nights” in Finland when there is a lot of romance and love in the air and I believe it to be true! The legend has it that if you collect enough flowers and put them under your pillow when you sleep, you will dream of your future love. But be selective when you visit, as this is only possible in summer time when the flowers are in full bloom! Equally though, take a look at the Aurora Borealis (aka The Northern Lights) over the lake in the wintertime.
You will also find quite a lot of rock paintings by the Lake Saimaa. The most famous rock painting in Finland is the Astuvansalmi rock paintings in a small village called Ristiina, in Eastern-Savo area near the city called Mikkeli. They are thousands of years old and although they are now several metres above the level of the lake, they are said to have been painted at water level from boats, with the oldest one being estimated between 3000 – 2500BC (for anyone who wants a comparison, that’s before the pyramids of Giza were built) , the water level has dropped dramatically since. You can walk the few kilometres along a path from the parking spot or travel by ship or boat. Also some steamships cruise there occasionally.
You experience Saimaa best if you rent a cottage for the whole time while you’re in the area. Then you can drive with a car to many places (distances can be far), eat local food and enjoy the peace and silence of the unique nature there! At the lake Saimaa area, even the raindrops can sound different than where you live. Imagine a night with raindrops, a fireplace, a sauna and good Finnish food. Can anything be better? I never get bored there. I simply love Lake Saimaa and I hope you too!
Featured Image: Aerial photo of lake Saimaa (credit)