CYCLING BY YÖVESI FOR A TASTE OF SAIMAA FLAVOURS AND CULTURE
A spot of exercise, a touch of culture, and just the right amount of peace of mind.
On this trip you will spend three nights and four days by the Yövesi sub-lake of Lake Saimaa, exploring the Saimaa way of life and culture. You’ll stay in personalised accommodation where you can enjoy local delicacies and the gentle heat of the sauna. The package also includes a guided visit to the prehistoric rock paintings of Astuvansalmi, which we will reach by a small fishing boat. This way, you will experience beautiful Saimaa from the water and hear the story of the rock paintings. You’ll also get to create your own art at the last lodging on the trip. This cultural tour is bound to create a special place for Saimaa in your heart. Welcome!
The route runs from the village of Haikola in Ristiina to Nikinsalmi on the border of the regions of Mikkeli and Puumala, by water to the beautiful Himalansaari island, and from there back to the starting point in Ristiina. The nearest bigger town is Mikkeli (about 20 km from Ristiina). If you are not travelling by car or bike, you can reach Mikkeli by public transport. Electric bikes can be rented from the Tuukkala farm. Your luggage will go with you, but you can leave some of it at the Tuukkala farm to await your return.
Group size: 4-6
Difficulty level: easy/moderate.
Guidance: The excursion is independent, includes route info and guidance
Departures in summer 2023: 31.7 – 3.8.2023
Accommodation is available on request at other times also, subject to availability.
Price: 590€/person | 3 nights, 4 days.
The price includes:
3 overnight stays (Tuukkala farm, Uhkua and Yöveden Ateljeekoti atelier home)
1 excursion lunch
3 sauna sessions
Boat trip with a guide to the ancient rock paintings of Astuvansalmi
Art with Katja
Excursion info session and map
On request: rental bikes 230€/person. Passenger transport.
The total cycling distance is about 72 km.
– On the day of arrival, you can take a short warm-up bike ride.
– Second day cycling 35 km / electric bike approx. 2 hours
– The third day’s crossing is by boat, with about 1.5 hours spent on the water.
– Fourth day cycling 37 km / electric bike approx. 2 hours
– The roads are mainly hilly gravel roads and country lanes.
Day 1 | Arrival in Ristiina at the generations-old Tuukkala family farm at 4 pm.
The owners of the farm, Leena and Esko, will welcome you with a drink.
The rooms are located in an old barn or outbuilding on the grounds of the farm.
On the day of your arrival, if you wish you can take a short trip to the countryside by bike to get a feel for the upcoming ride. If you have hired electric bikes, your hosts will give you equipment advice and good route tips.
- Dinner. Delicious food from the grill.
Breakfast at Tuukkala and cycling along the Green Gold Culture Road towards Nikinsalmi and Uhkua. On the way you will visit the Pien-Toijola Open Air Museum, which provides a historical look at peasant life in the region in centuries past.
A rustic breakfast on the glass terrace of the nineteenth-century main house. Among the breakfast items are homemade pastries, juices and jams from the farm’s own garden, eggs from the farm’s summer chickens, and produce from local farms.
After breakfast, the journey continues towards Ristiina and Nikinsalmi along the Green Gold Culture Road.
The journey by electric bike from the Tuukkala farm to the next destination, the Pien-Toijola Open Air Museum, takes about an hour. In between, you can stop for ice cream in Ristiina and at lunchtime you’ll be conveniently at the Varkaantaipale canal summer restaurant. Varkaantaipale is an old open canal dug in the Pitkä kallio rock, dating from 1877.
After lunch, the journey continues to the rural landscape of Pien-Toijola. A local guide will tell you about the history of the farm. Pien-Toijola Open Air Museum offers a rare opportunity to explore a nineteenth-century farmhouse that has been preserved almost intact. It is a nationally significant peasant cultural environment. The site contains 28 buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, which form an exceptionally well preserved complex of buildings and artefacts.
The journey then continues towards Nikinsalmi. You have about an hour of cycling time left, and you’ll arrive at around 2 pm. The residents of the old log cabin, Asta and Ilkka, will welcome you with a drink. At Nikinsalmi you can spend the night in traditional old-fashioned style, just like in the old days when people stayed in summer outbuildings. The accommodation is in the courtyard outbuilding. Here, travellers have time to enjoy nature. You can wander in the nearby forest, climb to the top of Tollonvuori to admire the view of Ruokovesi lake, rent a canoe for a short canoe trip, or just relax.
From Nikinsalmi, the next phase is a trip in a small fishing boat to Himalansaari and the Yöveden ateljeekoti atelier home.
On the way, there’s a stop to marvel at the ancient rock paintings of Astuvansalmi.
On the way you can experience the astonishingly beautiful lake nature of Saimaa from the water. We might even spot a Saimaa ringed seal! Astuvansalmi is best experienced from the water, as from the boat you can also see the rugged profile of Astuvan Ukko. We land at the paintings and your guide will tell you the story of Astuva. We’ll enjoy a snack at the same time.
From the paintings, we continue towards Himalansaari island and the Yöveden Ateljeekoti atelier home, arriving at around 2 pm.
At the atelier home, we will be welcomed by the painter Katja Antonoff.
The last night is spent either in the house or in the courtyard outbuildings in the charming atmosphere of the atelier home. Coffee, tea and a snack will be provided on arrival. After a short rest, you can take a peek into the world of watercolour with Katja and create your own watercolour painting inspired by the Yövesi landscapes. And don’t worry – you don’t need any previous experience in watercolour painting.
You can take your artwork home with you, framed in card. In the evening, we will have dinner in the hall of the atelier home, or in the garden if the weather is good.
Breakfast in the atelier home. Travelling through the Himalansaari cultural landscape back to the Tuukkala farm.