Founded in 1775, Kuopio is a thriving, modern city, where science and technology blends into the verdant natural beauty of the local environment. Surrounded by lake Kallavesi, much of Kuopio has been developed on islands. Indeed, one third of Kuopio is water and a half forest; the surrounding area is possesses great natural beauty, rich in flora and fauna, making it an ideal travel destination for nature lovers and those seeking quiet relaxation without being too far from a thriving urban centre.
Kuopio is also a hugely popular holiday destination for sports enthusiasts, with three highly recommended ski centres in Tahko, Kasurila and Puijo for winter sports, as well as providing plenty of water based alternatives in the summer, such as sailing, wind-surfing, jet-skiing, and water-skiing.
Visit the town centre where a vibrant open market place is surrounded by the best in modern shopping outlets and malls, and features the delightful Kuopion Kauppahalli, or Shopping Hall, which has been providing the finest quality fresh produce since 1902, with 20 local stallholders displaying homemade breads, cheeses, and condiments, as well as fresh meat, fish, and vegetables, and teas, coffees, candies, and much more. And when in Kuopio, be sure to try the local delicacy, Kalakukko, a Finnish fish pie, or any of the numerous vendace dishes which are a specialty of the region.
Winter in Kuopio is ideal for exploring the immaculate countryside, whether by taking a snowmobile ride along well maintained routes, cross-country skiing through the woods or over the frozen lakes, or visiting the highly recommended ski centres of Tahko, Kasurila or Puijo. For the more sedate, there is always the opportunity to go ice-fishing!
Puijo is especially well-known as a venue for winter sports events, including cross-country skiing, ski jumping and downhill skiing. Top international ski jumpers train and compete at Puijo, and top-class cross-country ski events also take place here each year. Puijo is a well-known venue for Nordic Skiing World Cup events, as well as for competitions between national and regional top skiers. Even for those with no interest in skiing, a visit to the Puijo Tower is highly recommended; you can enjoy a meal in the revolving restaurant, serving local specialties, whilst taking in the breath-taking panoramas. Puijo ridge is one of the favourite recreation areas in Kuopio, with its numerous paths and extensive track network. Two nature trails offer a chance to experience the area's diversity.
The region also has plenty to offer families with children. Just a stroll from the town centre you'll discover delightful, sandy, lakeside beaches where you can swim in the warm waters, use the diving platforms, or just laze in the sun. The Kuopio animal park has around 40 different species and over 200 animals for children to interact with, there's Pajaharju Farm in nearby Leppävirta which is open by appointment in the summer, and from June to August families will enjoy the Hoksopoly Family Play Park which is a unique life-sized board game, which families play together. On the way to the goal, players have to solve and complete tasks that require different kinds of skills. Should the weather turn wet, bringing the kids to the indoor activity centre, HopLop, will keep them amused and active.
Kuopio is a city blessed with an abundance cultural riches, and hosts annual Dance Festivals, International Wine Festivals, Contemporary Art Festivals and Live Music Festivals, all this in addition to the many other cultural activities take place, in the Kuopio Music Centre, or in the many museums and theatres. View our travel guide to Kuopio Tourism.
Thanks to the city's location in the midst of Europe's largest lake district, and it's winter climate, Kuopio has a diverse range of activities on offer throughout the year. Summer is perfect for water sports and hiking type activities, while in winter the range of snow sports available is second to none.
As Finland's 5th most popular holiday destination, Kuopio is well set up to cater for every taste. The local Savo speciality is the 'kalakukko' fish pie, but in addition to traditional and home cooking, the many restaurants in the area also offer a la carte menus, and there are plenty of cafes to choose from. Dining aboard the many boats operating lake cruises is popular, as is a visit to the revolving restaurant atop the Puijo Tower. View our Kuopio Tourism Guide to food & drink in Kuopio.
There are around 10,000 rooms available in the Kuopio region, ranging from top of the line hotels, to moderately priced guest houses and hostels. The Rauhalahti Resort is located near the city centre, which includes Finland's first 5 star camping site, as well as holiday villas, camping cottages, and over 100 hotel rooms.
All the major shopping outlets operate in Kuopio, but the open air market in the town square, and the striking, picturesque old Market Hall should not be missed. Throughout the city, you'll find numerous shops and boutiques selling local products, handicrafts and souvenirs.
Getting to Kuopio couldn't be easier! The main road from Helsinki to Lapland, road 5, passes close by, and there are daily flights to Rissala Airport. Rail service is efficient and comfortable, both from Helsinki and the Turku-Tampere region in the west, as well from the East and North. The waterway to the Baltic is open almost all year round. View our Kuopio tourism guide to transportation & travel in Kuopio.