Leave the shore behind and explore the scenic wonders of the Lake Saimaa, Finland's largest lake and the 4th largest in Europe. Formed by glaciers melting at the end of the Ice Age, Saimaa is actually a labyrinth of almost 120 lakes and has over 15,000 kilometers (9,300 mi) of shoreline and 14,000 islands. Saimaa is the sparkling jewel of the Finnish Lake District – also known as Finnish Lakeland. Its crystal clear waters are dotted with green islands covered with dense forests and are a year-round tourist draw. You can go canoeing, kayaking, boating, swimming, and, of course, fishing. There are also places to hike and cycle and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. The area is home to elk, osprey, and the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal, which can sometimes be spotted sunning themselves on the rocks. Perhaps the best way to explore Saimaa is to take a scenic cruise on steam vessels; some built over a hundred years ago with wooden decks and brass fittings. Highlights along the way include stopovers at several historic and picturesque towns. Savonilinna offers summer festivals and the historic Olavinlinna Castle. Kenkävero is a restored parsonage, where you can buy handicrafts and have lunch or dinner. Rapio Mill is home to a theater, where many outdoor performances take place. Lake Saimaa's wonders are nearly as long as its shoreline. Become a "lakelubber"; you could literally spend an entire lifetime exploring the gorgeous Finnish Lake District.
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- Location: Lake Saimaa, Finland