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Rail Holiday in Finland: Lake District and Helsinki

Rail Holiday in Finland: Lake District and Helsinki

This family holiday is made for nature lovers!  Travel comfortably in train, enjoy boat trips, stay in lovable hotels. Time schedule, which gives a chance to enjoy life by the lakeside - to swim and play outdoors.  

Your tour starts by train from the Helsinki-Vantaa airport.

1. destination: Mäntyharju

Mäntyharju  is a very small town between the towns of  Heinola and Mikkeli surrounded by beautiful nature. There are two reasons to stop there, the Art Centre Salmela as well as the Repovesi National Park. We also have two charming bed & breakfast hotels serving for you there and you can try a real "grandma's sauna" in the evening.

Activities:

Bicycle rental is included in your package so that you can make short tours in the village neighborhood or a longer cycle tour to even to Repovesi National park. If your son/daughter does not yet drive a bicycle, he/she can sit in a carriage. There are nice routes and a small-scale free activity park for children. One barbeque lunch (sausage, juice and some candy) is included in your package.

Visit to Art Centre Salmela  is included until its last opening day typically mid-august. Salmela is a yearly summer exhibition of modern Finnish art located in cultural historically significant old parish village.The exhibition area is 1000m2 consisting of several buildings joined by a landscape park.Your visit includes a lunch buffet. 

2. destination: Varkaus

Linnansaari National Park  consists of hundreds of islands and islets on Saimaa, on home waters of Saimaa ringed seal. Here you will see the lake nature at its best: wide lakeviews, islands, cliffs, and behind them flourishing groves. 

Järvisydän  is a guesthouse type of a unique hotel & spa resort located by a bay of lake Saimaa and very close to the Linnansaari National Park. Their hotel, restaurant and saunas are all built of logs. There are mny types of rooms to choose from. In this sample package we have included a family suite.The interior of the rooms is luxurious but honors the guesthouse traditions. Järvisydän has been serving guests since 1658. There is also an exciting lake spa built inside rock there. 

Activities:

Safari to the labyrinthine of Linnansaari archipelago  will be taken by a motorboat. On the way you will see the osprey and its nests.  You will land on the island of Kaarnatsaari.

A guided canoe tour  takes place in Järvisydän, the exact timing will be agreed with you. A canoe is safe and easy and the whole family fits in one canoe. In case you are adults also kayaks can be used. 

Hako Apajan Aikhituvat  are the life's work of Esa Heiskanen. It is a cafeteria and a log building exhibition  located within walking distance on the other side of the hill. The main building called Aikhitupa has been built of 1000-4000 years old logs lifted from the bottom of the lake next to Aikhituvat. You can well walk up there to see if the cafeteria is open. It is also possible to pay an entrance fee and get i their museum telling about the construction operation.

Rental equipment  is available in every season, for example e-fatbike, Sup-board, cano or kayak each 29,80€/day/person. In winter time you can rent snowshoes, kick-sledges, tour skates and skis.

3. destination: Savonlinna and Punkaharju

Savonlinna  is a beautiful small town by lake Saimaa famous for its yearly opera festivals taking place in the medieval castle (2018: 6.7.-4.8.). You will take a steamship cruise (2h30min) to your hotel in Punkaharju over the lake Saimaa. If you arrive on Wed, Fri or Sat your cruise to Punkaharju leaves at 10am, otherwise you will take a train and you have more time to look around. On the way back you will have 2,5 hours between the trains. At least try to visit the market place, which is full of artesans and berry, vegetable, fish&mushroom kiosks.

Punkaharju ridge  has attracted nature tourists already for over 200 years.On the other side of the ridge you can see lake Puruvesi and onthe other side is glisterning lake Pihlajavesi. The ridge has a fascinating history, both from the perpective of nature and culture. You will hear more about it on a guided walking tour in the area.

Hotel Punkaharju was opened in 1845 as living quarters for the foresters and lodging for travellers.In 1898 a separate building called Czarina's Villa was added. Amazing views open up towards the lake and if you follow the path downhill, you will find  a log sauna and a pier down by the lake. 

Activities:

Arrival by a steamship is an experience. You will see the national landscape of Finland from the lake. What you can also do is to take walks in the neighborhood. If you are interested, there is the Finnish Forest Museum called Lusto with a demonstrative exhibition (interests children too) about the forest culture in Finland. You can book a ataxi and drive there for a visit (open daily from 10am to 7pm ticket 25€/family, http://www.lusto.fi/en/ ).

4. destination: Helsinki

Last but not least you will arrive in our capital Helsinki from Savolinna for 2 days. In Helsinki we suggest you would stay in an apartment hotel midtown. It will be easy to use public transportation to get from place to place. The activities in Helsinki are not included in price to give you freedome to choose. On your first evening we suggest you would go and see the amusement park Linnanmäki or take a ferry and get over to Suomenlinna for a picnic. Next day you could visit the Korkeasaari zoo and if you want stop at a tree-top adventure park next to it.  On your departure day you could then take a look at the city centre and possibly visit the modern arts museum Kiasma also interesting for children. Note! Activities in Helsinki can be added based on your wishes. Also there are multiple choice of hotels.

FAMILY SUMMER HOLIDAY BY TRAIN IN THE LAKE DISTRICT

Accommodation:

  • Bed & Breakfast in Mäntyharju: double room with extra bed
  • Spa resort järvisydän in rantasalmi: Superior Suite with extra bed in Järvisydän
  • Hotel in Punkaharju: forest cabin (2 extra beds possible)
  • apartment hotel in Helsinki: one-bedroom apartment

Meals: according to the program, on tour half or full pension, in Helsinki no meals

Activities: as described above

Transportation:
Trains:

  • Helsinki-Vantaa airport-Mäntyharju 14.21-16.29 or 16:21-18:27 or 19.21-21.28
  • Mäntyharju-Varkaus 10.29-12.17
  • Savonlinna-Helsinki 12.30-16.40 or 15.30-19:45

Transfers: hotel pick-up from Varkaus railway station, transfer to Savonlinna and from Savonlinna to the hotel in Punkaharju (wth luggage storage in Savonlinna), transfer to the railway station in Savonlinna and a public transportation ticket in Helsinki for 2 days including a ferry to Suomenlinna, airport transfer by a shuttle bus in Helsinki

Itinerary: sample, can be adapted

Day 1:  Arrival -> train to Mäntyharju 

  • arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa airport
  • train to Mäntyharju
  • dinner
  • night in B&B

Day 2: Mäntyharju

  • breakfast
  • bicycles in usage
  • visiting Taidekeskus Salmela (only 8.6.-11.8.)
  • possibly lunch
  • cycling to the adventure park or beach
  • sauna 
  • dinner (most probably at your bed&breakfast)
  • night in B&B

Day 3: Train to lake Saimaa

  • breakfast
  • 10.29 train to Varkaus
  • 12.17 arrival in Varkaus, hotel picks you up
  • 13.00 arrival in Hotel Järvisydän
  • a walk in the neighborhood, possibly a visit at Hakoapajan Aikhituvat
  • lake spa visit
  • 18 or 20.30 dinner
  • night in Järvisydän

Day 4.  Lake Saimaa / Tour to Linnansaari National Park

  • 8-10.00 breakfast
  • lake spa visit (after 18.00 not for children under 18 years)
  • 12-14:00 lunch 
  • 14-17:00 boat tour to Kaarnetsaari island
  • 18 or 20:30 dinner
  • night in Järvisydän

Day 5: Lake Saimaa / Family canoe tour

  • 8-10:00 breakfast
  • 10-12:00 canoe tour (private) 
  • 12-16:00 lunch served
  • 18 or 20.30 dinner
  • night in Järvisydän

Day 6  Savonlinna

  • breakfast
  • 11.00 transfer to Savonlinna
  • 12-14:00 visiting the market place and the city centre
  • 14-16:00 steam ship cruise
  • trasfer to hotel Punkaharju
  • dinner
  • night in forest cabin

Day 7: Punkaharju

  • breakfast
  • a walk in the neigborhood
  • lunch
  • swimming, beachlife (if it rains a visit to Lusto Forest  Museum)
  • dinner
  • night in hotel Punkaharju

Day 8  Savonlinna -> train to Helsinki

  • breakfast
  • 11.30 transfer to Savonlinna
  • 12.30 train to Helsinki
  • 16.40. arrival in Helsinki
  • taxi (self-paid on site) from the railway station to the hotel 
  • night in Hellsten Hotel Katajanokka

Day 9 Helsinki - a self-guided day

  • self-made breakfast (your apartment has a kitchenette) or breakfast in a nearby cafeteria
  • exploring the old city centre and Tölö bay area (you get there by tram number 4)
  • ferry from the market place goes  to Suomenlinna (your ticket covers the public ferry)
  • dinner: restaurant recommendation or self-cooked
  • night in Hellsten Hotel Katajanokka

Day 10: Departure

  • self-made breakfastor breakfast in a nearby cafeteria
  • airport transfer 
Category Tours
Location Lake
Price from 1922,40€/adult (5 adults in double or triple rooms) to 2035€/adult (2 adults)
Prices for children from 731€/child (2 adults and 3 children) to 1479€/child (1 adult and 1 child)
Group size min 2
Group size max 5
Month August
Timing 1.6.-30.8. every summer
Duration 10 days
Meals Meals according to the sample program
Accomodation depending on group
Service Provider Skafur-Tour
Skafuuri Oy (=Skafur-Tour) tour operator
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