photo © Visit Mikkeli
Tourism Mikkeli & Mikkeli Region Travel Guide
The outstanding natural beauty of the lakes which surround it, and the numerous cottages dotted along the shores, have attracted visitors from around the world to Mikkeli for years. Situated in the very heart of Finland’s lake district, the Mikkeli region has much to offer the many tourists who flock here to relax or to immerse themselves in local culture, and is a particularly popular destination for families. The Mikkeli region includes the municipalities of Mikkeli City, Mäntyharju, Pertunmaa, Puumala, Kangasniemi, Hirvensalmi and Juva.
Mikkeli is one of Finland’s most popular family holiday destinations, thanks to the excellent Visulahti water and adventure theme park and the annual Hulivili Carnival.
Culture and History in Mikkeli Region
During the Winter War and Continuation War in the 1940s Mikkeli was Field Marshal Mannerheim’s centre of operations, and consequently some of the finest military museums in Finland are located here. These include the Infantry Museum, which focuses on Finnish history since independence and the Headquarters Museum which uses modern technology to display the operations of the Headquarters and central events of WWII. There is also the Signal Centre Lokki and the Naisvuori observation tower to visit.
For anyone curious about the region a visit to the Suur-Savo Museum is essential, for here you’ll find over 8,000 catalogued items dealing with the history of Mikkeli and the surrounding region. Art lovers should take time to explore the Salmela Art Centre in the delightfully preserved village around Mäntyharju Church. Exhibitions are displayed in the old parish hall and in the old vicarage, post office and pharmacy.
Directly opposite Mikkeli’s impressive cathedral you’ll discover the Mikkeli Art Museum, also known as the Granite House. The museum’s collection comprises Finnish paintings from the 1870s to the 1980s, furniture, oriental carpets and small art objects. Most of the works are post-Impressionist and Expressionist.
Mikkeli’s packed cultural calendar features the Kangasniemi Music Festival, the Mikkeli Music Festival and numerous performances by the Mikkeli City Orchestra.
Family Vacation in Mikkeli
One of the most popular family destinations in Finland is Visulahti, one of the country’s finest water-parks and adventure playgrounds, with popular sections like Dinosauria and its many slides, cannons, showers, and pools; and Xonpuisto, with electric and micro cars, quads, and motorcycles. Children and adults alike will be thrilled with the choices available! Visulahti also provides accommodation, caravan and camping facilities, as well as a top-class restaurant, and is open daily from June through August.
Other Tourist Attractions in Mikkeli
Other famous attractions in the region include the statue of Field Marshal Mannerheim in Mikkeli Square, the Rapio Mill in Juva, Marski’s Café in the market square, and the Kenkävero Vicarage which is considered to be the largest and most beautiful vicarage in Finland, situated in a magnificently impressive milieu. Throughout the year there is something of interest to enjoy here, from the beautifully restored buildings, the many exhibitions and events, and boutiques with delightful handicrafts and souvenirs on offer.
Anyone interested in the pre-history of Europe will be fascinated by Astuvansalmi rock paintings, the largest rock art site in the Nordics dating from 3800-2200 BC, on the steeply rising bedrock on the shore of Lake Yovesi. In a space measuring about 17m long and 5.5m high, over 80 designs and figures painted in ochre have been identified, including representations of humans, boats, and elks, along with paw and hand prints.
Mikkeli Region has numerous manor houses, the oldest dating back to the 1500s, each offering something a little different. Just south of the city you’ll find the elegant Annilan Kartano which also functions as a golf centre; 25km away is the Anttolanhovi ManorHouse, idyllically situated on the banks of Lake Saimaa in the historic village of Anttola; west of Mikkeli airport is Kekkola Manor House where you can enjoy lakeside saunas or fishing, play tennis or go on horse riding trails; Kyyhkylä is located in the city on the banks of Lake Saimaa, and operates as a hotel and wellness centre, with historical tours and daily scenic cruises, tennis courts and minigolf; 7km from Mikkeli is Tertti Manor located in the middle of an authentic milieu, with a café, restaurant and souvenir shop.
There are also Finnish wineries near Mikkeli; Ollinmäen Winery produces delicious Finnish berry and fruit wines, ciders and liquors, and is just 18 km from the city, while Tyry Winery in Mäntyharju, which produces Finnish berry wines, liqueurs, wine distillates and moonshine mustard.