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SAIMAA – THE HOME OF FINNISH CUISINE
TravelScapes Action welcomes you to experience the silent but compelling Saimaa, the largest Lake District in Europe, and the home of Finnish cuisine.
THE SOUL OF A FINN
Finland is slightly misleadingly called as ‘the land of thousands of lakes’. Some 10% of the country is covered by water and Lakeland, totalling to some 188.000 lakes. The water is a precious element to Finland; it’s everyone’s dream and reality here to have a little holiday home by the lake, and we’re proudly claiming our lakes have the cleanest water in the world – accompanied with some of the most beautiful landscape on earth.
As one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe, the urge for tranquillity and closeness of the nature are dear necessities for the Finns. Letting yourself to travel deep in the heart of the Lakeland, is like a journey to Finnish identity. The view from a rugged hilltop, that opens over to lakes and forests, we Finns call as ‘the scenery of our souls’. The green forests and the blue lakes became synonymous with the Finnish national landscape during the golden era of Finnish art. Painters such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Eero Järnefelt travelled, with great effort, throughout the country and etched those landscapes into the national consciousness.
THE NATIONAL PARKS
The freedom to roam in Finland is a right greatly appreciated by public. Fishing, picking wild berries, setting up a camp, swimming and sailing are some of the common activities in Nordic wilderness, including the National Parks, making the beauty of the Lake District easily accessible to visitors. Any one of the numerous National parks in the region is a perfect starting point for a great outdoors experience. The forest offer untouched forests and clean lakes combined with modern services. In fact, in a place like Saimaa where nature dominates the landscape, you’ll be surprised to find functional infrastructure, luxurious, modern hideaways and world-class hospitality.
DAY 1 – THE LAND OF BLUE AND GREEN
As your chauffeur is taking you from the airport to your chalet by the Saimaa lake district, you are soon to notice the incredibly lush greenery, dotted with the bluest of lakes. We’ll stop by at the local vineyard for the first taste of Finland; let’s rise the glass for the flavours of authentic Finnish berry wines and liqueurs with the winery host.
During your stay with TravelScapes Action, you will be taking an in-depth journey to the local food culture. Once settled into your accommodation; fullyequipped travelscape chalet with 3 bedrooms and its own private beach, pier and sauna, you’ll be invited to indulge yourself for another taste of locality, at restaurant Kota. On offer will be a diverse range of local and organic food; here all raw materials are acquired from local producers. The meat comes from a private small butchery, fish from local fishermen, vegetables and root vegetables from nearby farms. The berries and mushrooms we use are also picked from the clean nature of the Saimaa area.
DAY 2 – THE PEACE OF THE NATIONAL PARKS
The sun has already long been up when you wake up in the silent summer morning. It’s time to get into your hiking boots, as we’re setting off for a day in the National parks. You are about to experience the diversity of exquisite Finnish nature. We’ll enjoy the lunch by the open fire, perhaps dipping into the wild water for a swim. Paddling slowly in the calm waters on our canoes, giving us the greatest views over the national park from the middle of the lakes. In the evening we’ll visit Tertti Manor for a first class dining experience. The manor house is a functioning farm, and a heaven for gastronomes. Here you can literally see the food planted and cultivated, and the host will be delighted to share stories about growing food in the northern Europe.
DAY 3 – LIVING FROM THE EARTH
The nature in Saimaa is stuffed with yumminess. Here you will find the forest delicacies such as mushrooms and berries, bursting in fresh taste of Finland. The lakes are teeming with fish, waiting to contribute to your meal of the day. Your guide will be assisting you to pick the most delicious ingredients, and you’ll be preparing a forest lunch just like the locals.
Fishing is like art in Finland. It’s the most common pastime activity in the country, and feeds many families around the year. Your fishing guide will introduce you to the methods of fishing and the secrets of local fish kitchen. The afternoon is turning into evening, which you may not even register, as the sun is still high up in the sky. You feel the weight on the end of the rod. Another catch!
DAY 4 – DAYS OF YORE
After a few days in the nature, today we’ll head to Savonlinna, one the attractive small cities in the Lakeland. The focus in the morning will be the vivid summer markets. The market squares are the hearts of the cities, surrounded by fish restaurants, open air cafes and harbours. The markets provide perhaps the best places to sample street food and local specialities, such as fish pasty (kalakukko) or half-moon shaped pastry (lörtsy) while taking in the local, easy-going way of life.
As the morning turns into afternoon, we move on from today’s life in the past. Olavinlinna is the world’s northernmost medieval castle, dating back to 1475 of the Common Era. Each ruler at Olavinlinna left his distinct style from his regime, making the architecture unique and giving the castle its charming look. The location of the castle was strategic, as it was built to protect the region from the attacks from the east. Between the grand
walls of the castle, you can still hear the ring of the swords, the thunder of cannons and the giggle of the maids. The castle does not only take you back centuries, and surprise you with its intact condition, but also provides you the epic settings for a lunch.
DAY 4 – ON BOARD
Savonlinna in the heart of Saimaa is the home of Finnish water transport, boosting nearly 1700km of waterways. Cruising on the Saimaa lake districts is absolutely one of the most pleasant and unforgettable summer experiences, and nothing will give you a more authentic way of travelling but the true steam ship. In the labyrinth of lakes where you will be cruising today, there’s more than 14.000 green but rugged islands, many of the uninhabited.
Saimaa is also the home of Saimaa ringed seal, one of the most endangered seals in the world and only found in Saimaa – keep your eyes on the picturesque shoreline and perhaps you’ll spot on of these rare but beloved creatures. While your chef is preparing your meals with focus on local produce, you can sip some wine and enjoy the quiet scenery passing by, and simply forget the time and enjoy the lasting moments.
DAY 5 – FAREWELL DIP IN AHTI’S EMPIRE
From the pier of your chalet, if not blinded by the glistening of Saimaa, you can easily spot the fish swimming in the crystal clear water, playfully chasing each other. Do not be surprised if you sight an old, bearded man embracing himself with the joy of water. He’s Ahti, Finnish god of the water and of fishing. This is his empire, and you have been invited. Why don’t you jump in, for the last refreshing dip before it’s time to take the journey back home?
EXCLUSIVE, BUT ALL-INCLUSIVE JOURNEY TO THE LAKELAND
Summer experience available from May to September, other times itinerary on request.
- 4 nights accommodation at 133m2 design beach chalet with fullyequipped private kitchen, sauna, terrace and 3 en-suite bedrooms
- Private driver-guide at all times
- Specialist guides during excursions
- Bikes, rowing boats and poles for Nordic walking at your disposal
- All meals, incl. various culinary experiences
- Private steam ship cruise
- Wine testing at local wine farm
- Fishing experience with your guide and all gear
- All private transfers
- Street food sampling at market square
- Entrance to Olavinlinna
- Kayaking in the national parks
- Picking wild food and preparing your own forest meal
EXAMPLES OF OPTIONAL ADD ONS
- Spa & Wellness treatments
- Theatre and other high culture experiences
- Private cooking school
- Running school
- Yoga course
- Saimaa Canal cruise to Vyborg, Russia
- Quad-biking and jet-skiing
- Traditional Sauna experiences
- Horse-back riding