Mikkeli – the picturesque town in the Finnish Lake District Saimaa

As an urban center in the Finnish Lakeland, Mikkeli offers the perfect base for a varied vacation. Exciting outdoor activities and a rich cultural offer make Saimaa Lake District an ideal vacation region for the whole family.


  • Population: 52,483
  • Location: in the south of the Savo region
  • Area: 3,229.07 km2
  • Currency: Euro

Saimaa Lake District – guaranteed outdoor fun for the whole family

Mikkeli is located on Savilahti Bay, which is a branch of Lake Saimaa. This is the largest lake in Finland with about 4,370 km2.

The area of the city is about half the area of Luxembourg. This is very large compared to the small population. The population density in Mikkeli is only 21 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The entire region around the lakeland is a popular vacation region with numerous exciting outdoor activities around the island maze.

While in summer you can go hiking, biking, boating and fishing, in winter the region invites you to go cross-country skiing, skating and ice fishing. In autumn and winter you might even be lucky and see the magical aurora borealis.

Hiidenmaa hiking trails are located on the border between Mikkeli and Juva. You can start in Anttola or Siikakoski. The hike leads up to the highest mountain in South Savo, Mount Neitvuori. Here you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of Lake Luonteri.

Saimaa Lakeland in Finland
Source: RomanBelyakov / depositphotos.com

A boat trip on the Saimaa River can also be a highlight of your Finland vacation. From Mikkeli, for example, you can drive to the city of Savonlinna, which is located in the middle of the Finnish Lake District. National parks Linnansaari and Kolovesi or Astuvansalmi rock paintings are also accessible by boat from Mikkeli. Those who want to observe the rare Saimaa ringed seal can take part in a cruise specially designed for the seals.

Information about the different tours can be found on the city’s website.

8 exciting activities in Mikkeli

Mikkeli Cathedral Church

The imposing single-nave building made of red brick towers over all the buildings in the city with its height of 64 meters. Mikkeli Cathedral was built in 1896 and is considered one of the most stylistically pure neo-Gothic buildings in Finland.

Mikkeli Cathedral Church, Finland
Source: Estea / bigstockphoto.com

Mikaeli Cultural Center

Mikkeli’s cultural center serves concerts and congresses. This is also the home of the municipal orchestra .

A special event is the Gergiev Festival Mikkeli, held annually in August. The classical music festival attracts many international guests. The Mariinsky Theater, a world-renowned opera and ballet company, also makes regular guest appearances here under the direction of Valery Gergiev.


The amusement and water park offers fun for the whole family. Here you can find exciting adventure pools, bungee jumping, paintball, mini golf and much more!

Winery Ollinmäen Viinitila

18 kilometers away from Mikkeli is one of the first wineries in Finland. Here you can enjoy and purchase berry and fruit wines, ciders and sparkling wines.

It is also possible to spend a few days vacation on the shore of Saimaa in the villas of the winery. Among other things, they are equipped with a sauna, a terrace and their own child-friendly sandy beach.

Lake Saimaa shore, Finland
Source: gdefilip / depositphotos.com

Parsonage Kenkävero

The former vicarage stands on a charming farmstead on country road 5 on the shore of Lake Saimaa. Here you can admire the craftsmanship, browse souvenir stores, enjoy a regional buffet lunch or stroll through the garden with its variety of plants.

Mikkelin taidemuseo

The art museum is located directly opposite the cathedral church. Here are exhibited mostly post-impressionist and expressionist works from the collection of Martti Airio and sculptures by the Finnish sculptor Johannes Haapasalo.

Suur-Savon museo

The Great Savo Museum maintains a cultural and historical exhibition with over 8,000 objects that tell of the history and life of the region.


Mikkeli was the headquarters of the Finnish Army Command during World War II. The museum is located in the restored building, which, however, is still in its original condition.

Car, train or plane – how well connected is Mikkeli?

Several state roads run through Mikkeli, connecting the country’s largest cities. State road 5 is an important north-south connection, state road 13 leads from Nuijamaa to Kokkola and state road 15 from Kotka ends in Mikkeli.

The Finnish city is also connected to the Savo Railway. The connection runs from Kouvola to Iisalmi. Passenger stations in the city area are Mikkeli Main Station and Haukivuori Station.

There are no regular flights to Mikkeli airport.

Accommodation in the Mikkeli vacation region

Accommodation AddressDescription
Huoneistohotelli MarjaJääkärinkatu 8, 50100 MikkeliIn former barracks from the 19th century in a central location
Original Sokos Hotel VaakunaPorrassalmenkatu 9, 50100 Mikkeli4-star hotelConference rooms, wellness area with whirlpool and 3 saunas
Scandic MikkeliMikonkatu 9, 50100 Mikkeli3-star hotelWhirlpools in the upscale roomsIndoor pool, fitness room, sauna

Mikkeli culinary experience

Tertin Kartano €€-€€

This beautiful café and restaurant are located on the state road 5 towards Helsinki. The romantic manor house also has an adjoining farm store in an old barn.

Eepin Grilli €

This popular gastropub in Mikkeli offers a variety of burgers and a few Finnish treats.

Kumari Nepalese Restaurant €€-€€

In the small but fine Nepalese restaurant you are served by the owner himself. Many dishes are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Pruuvi €€-€€

The restaurant with a Scandinavian flair offers grilled specialties, but there are also vegetarian and vegan options.

Other hot restaurants:

  • Restaurant Vino – Mediterranean cuisine
  • Mikkelin Satama Cafe & Bistro – Snack bar
  • Dom Mikkeli – Italian cuisine

Shopping in Mikkeli

Stella Shopping Center offers everything shopping lovers desire. The local cafes and restaurants are stocked with fresh and local products. Otherwise, there are numerous boutiques and clothing stores, hairdressers, cosmetics and furniture stores here.

But the heart of the shopping center is the lively market hall. This is THE place for gourmets. Regional delicacies, fresh baked goods, meat or cheese – the market hall leaves no culinary wishes unfulfilled! In the market hall no culinary wishes remain unfulfilled!

Mikkeli city center, Finland
Source: TomaszWozniak / bigstockphoto.com


The Finnish city of Mikkeli has a rich cultural offer and is surrounded by spectacular lake scenery . The city thus fulfills the ideal conditions for a varied vacation, in which the Finnish culture and nature are the focus.

Mikkeli, Finland
Source: RomanBelyakov / bigstockphoto.com

The most frequent questions from travelers

On which body of water is the city of Mikkeli located?

Mikkeli is located on a spur of Lake Saimaa. This is the largest lake in all of Finland.

What is the best time to travel to Mikkeli?

Mild and pleasant temperatures with low precipitation prevail in Mikkeli from May to August. If you plan a winter vacation with various outdoor activities, you can expect a cold and snowy winter every year.

Is it allowed to fish in Saimaa without a permit?

Fishing and ice fishing in Finland is usually allowed without a specific permit. About the regulations of all other types of fishing should be informed on the spot.

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Ich bin absoluter Skandinavien-Fan und reise schon seit über 12 Jahren in die schönen Länder Skandinaviens. Hier teile ich meine Erfahrungen und Tipps zu den skandinavischen Ländern und der Ostsee-Region.