Punkaharju is a town and municipality in South Savonia in the Finnish Lakeland. It was consolidated with the town of Savonlinna on January 1, 2013. It was located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the Southern Savonia region. The municipality had a population of 3,702 (31 December 2012) and covered an area of 748.12 square kilometres (288.85 sq mi) of which 276.86 km2 (106.90 sq mi) was water. The population density was 7.8555/km2 (20.3457/sq mi). The municipality was unilingually Finnish. Finnish Forest Museum Lusto and the Finnish Forest Research Institute are located in Punkaharju, which hosts a research forest park open for visitors. In the park some of the tallest trees in the whole Finland can be found, for example pines in the height of 40 metres (130 ft). Punkaharju ridge is a famous national landscape protected by a national reserve.

Access : Coordinates: 61.75, 29.4 / By train : Local trains between Parikkala and Savonlinna stop in Punkaharju. A couple of trains run each day on the line. There are three railway stations in the area: Punkaharju in the town centre is the southernmost station.
Lusto further north is the station to get off if you’re going to the ridge, the forest museum or the State hotel.  Retretti still further north towards Savonlinna, get off here for the Retretti gallery and Kesamaa amusement park. By bus :  Buses between Parikkala and Savonlinna stop in Punkaharju. By car :  Highway 14 between Parikkala and Savonlinna passes through the town, and continues along the ridge.

Get around : By car :  Driving is the quickest way to go from one place to another. By foot or bike :  The more leisurely way to get around, popular in the summer, is walking or cycling. There are good paths for these activities in the area.

Attractions : 1 Lusto forest museum (Lusto Suomen Metsamuseo), Lustontie 1 . Learn about Finland’s forests and forestry.  2 Retretti Art Center, Tuunaansaarentie 3. An art gallery for modern art where the exhibitions are located in caves underground!

Activities : 1 Punkaharju ridge and Punkaharju Nature Reserve. Walk or bike along the paths, climb it, drive on the highway along it, see it from a rowing boat or from the observation deck of Punkaharju water tower. Part of the ridge is a nature reserve with trails, lookout points, camp fire site and rental cabin.
2 Kesamaa, Kesamaantie 2 . Basically a water-themed playground geared towards younger children.  3 Canoeing on Lake Saimaa (Punkaharjun Tuunaanportti), Tuunaansaarentie 2 (next to the road 14, at the petrol station) . Rent a kayak and accessories and take a trip on Lake Saimaa. It is easy and enjoyable even for beginners. The rental should be booked in advance during the summer season. They will also lend you a waterproof map in the rental and suggest trip options. Other equipment that can be rented includes: bikes, skike roller skates, scooters, rowing boats, motor boats, … If you plan to stay over night, the accommodation can be booked in comfortable cottages, which are quite similar to those of Punkaharjun lomakeskus. A single kayak: 30 €/day

Go next : Kerimaki — The village with the world’s largest wooden church / Savonlinna


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