Mikkeli is a lively town set in the heart of the Finnish Lake District. Nature is the main attraction, with holidaymakers flocking to swim in the cobalt-blue lakes, hike in the countryside and forage for wild berries and mushrooms.
Things to do in Mikkeli
Mikkeli is a launchpad to the Finnish Lake District, a picturesque region dotted with some of the largest and most beautiful lakes in Finland. Rent a kayak and enjoy a scenic paddle on Lake Saimaa, which is studded with rocky islands. If you’re lucky, you might spot endangered Ringed Saimaa freshwater seals basking on the rugged shoreline.
Mikkeli played a central role in World War II and served as a base for Finnish “founding father” Marshal Mannerheim. Visit the Infantry Museum and the Headquarters Museum to find out more about his legacy and the fight for Finnish independence.
In the winter months, Mikkeli transforms into a snow-dusted outdoor playground. Enjoy winter sports like cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing. After a day in the snow, warm up with a traditional Finnish sauna.
Set on the shores of Lake Yövesi, the ancient Astuvansalmi rock paintings are an easy day trip from Mikkeli. Dozens of prehistoric pictures adorn the rock wall, including humans, animals and boats. Some are more than 6,000 years old and can be accessed by a short hiking trail through the forest.
The countryside surrounding Mikkeli is strewn with wild berries and mushrooms. Many restaurants incorporate these fresh, local ingredients into their dishes. Enjoy fish caught in Lake Saimaa, hearty rye bread and a slab of homemade blueberry pie for dessert.
Getting around Mikkeli
Mikkeli is compact and easy to get around on foot. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. The town is a three-hour drive from Helsinki and 2.5 hours from Helsinki Airport.