Loveliest manor houses in Finnish Lake District
A blue labyrinth of lakes, islands, rivers and canals, interspersed with forests and ridges, stretching for hundreds of kilometres in a placid and staggeringly beautiful expanse: welcome to the largest lake district in Europe. By lakesides you can find lovely and romantic manor houses, full of history and stories.
The self drive tour starts in the capital of Finland. Helsinki is one of Europe’s most modern and culturally progressive cities, yet remains in touch with an intriguing history stretching back over 450 years. It is a city of bustling, colourful market squares and halls, of outdoor summer concerts and sports events, of seaside parks, of excellent cafes and restaurants for every taste and budget, top-notch hotels and cutting-edge art in fine museums. It is also a pleasantly compact city, with many of the attractions in the central districts, within easy reach of one another.
On the following day you set off for a 6 night self drive in the lake district. The Saimaa lake system, following roughly the eastern border with Russia, is a vast interconnecting network of waterways. This area has earned Finland its reputation as the land of thousands of lakes, and is an ideal holiday destination, whether you long for the peace of the countryside and a clean environment, an adventure amidst the lakes, rivers and forests, or want to get to know a different European culture, with its countryside traditions and lovely small towns. Return to Helsinki for the last night before returning home.
PRICES & DATES
The price includes return flights to Helsinki, all airport taxes and fuel surcharges, 2 nights at 4 star Sokos Hotel Aleksanteri in Helsinki (first and last night), car hire for 7 days (economy 2 door; Opel Corsa or similar), 6 night's accommodation in manor houses, breakfast, buffet lunch at Kenkävero Parsonage Restaurant, wine tasting in Ollinmäki Wine Farm, guided tour of Olavinlinna Castle and scenery cruise by S/S Paul Wahl or S/S Punkaharju on high season (1 Jun-31 Aug).
Departures every day 1 May-30 September 2012.
Fly from London Heathrow to Helsinki on a scheduled flight. Overnight in Hotel Aleksanteri in Helsinki.
Day 2 - Helsinki-Puumala
Collect the rental car and head towards the Finnish Lake District. Spend the night in BlueWhite Resort in Sahanlahti. At Sahanlahti you can try out a variety of activities, such as cycling, canoeing, tennis, berry-picking and fishing. In the evening you can relax in the sauna and enjoy a gourmet dinner in the manor-house restaurant (not included in the tour cost).
For a day trip, you can visit the Charming destinations e.g. in Anttola, approx. 45 km towards Mikkeli. In Anttola you may visit Anttolan Hovi Manor and Ollinmäki Wine Farm. In the courtyard of the manor you can visit the HoviArt exhibition, try the lunch of Ruhtinatar (Princess) or visit the main hotel (Anttolanhovi) situated next to lake Saimaa and pamper yourself in the spa or in different kind of beauty treatments or outdoor activities. The other interesting Charm destination, Ollinmäki Wine Farm, is situated only couple of kilometres from Anttolan Hovi Manor. In Ollinmäki you can see how the Finnish berry wines are made. Wine tasting also provided. Overnight at Blue White Resort Sahanlahti.
Day 4 - Puumala - Savonlinna.
While in Savonlinna, you can spend a charming day cruising on Lake Saimaa aboard S/S Punkaharju, S/S Paul Wahl or S/S Heinävesi*, take a guided tour of Olavinlinna Castle and see the heritage wooden houses along Linnankatu street. Brewery Restaurant Huvila offers tasty meals and beer made by themselves. Overnight at Lomamokkila Farm some 10 km from the centre of Savonlinna.
* cruise included on high season 1 Jun-31 Aug.
You can spend a day in Savonlinna or make a day trip to Punkaharju or Linnansaari National Park. Punkaharju can be reached by the nostalgic steam ship S/S Heinävesi, by your own car or by train. In Punkaharju you can see the beautiful landscapes and the famous ridge area, an interesting museum of Finnish forests, Lusto and the biggest Art Centre in Northern countries, Retretti. You may also stop by in a village of Kerimäki to see the world biggest wooden church. Linnansaari National Park can be reached by your own car and a boat taxi or by a regular boat service from the village of Oravi. Overnight at Lomamokkila.
Day 6 - Savonlinna - Mikkeli
Along the route Savonlinna - Mikkeli. The charming places to visit are Rapio Mill, Butiken på Landet and Kenkävero Old Vicarage milieu with its exhibitions and shopping possibilities. Enjoy delicious lunch at Kenkavero (included). Check in to Kyyhkyla Manor for 2 nights.
During the last day with the Charms of Saimaa you can spend a relaxing day in hotel and it’s activities (biking, swimming, canoeing, fishing) or drive approx. 35 km to Mikkeli and visit it’s sights: Päämajamuseo (World War II Army HQ Museum), market square, have a cruise by M/S Jaarli or enjoy coffee and waffles in Naisvuori observation tower.
Day 8 - return to Helsinki
Today you return to Helsinki. On the way we recommend popping down to Mikkeli market Square or enjoying waffles and coffee at Naisvuori observation tower. Return the car hire in Helsinki and overnight in Hotel Aleksanteri
Morning is for leisure to explore the capital of Finland before flying back to London Heathrow on a scheduled flight.