Finland and Sweden July/August 2013
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Mar 2, 2013 9:35 AM Last Post By: Alingsas2
Feb 11, 2013 4:17 AM
I have researched myself into a bit of a meltdown; so many things I would like to do. I have a couple of specific questions though...
I will be staying a few days in Helsinki, then I was planning to go up to Lahti where I can catch a boat/ferry to take me to Jyvaskyla for a night or two and then I can boat/ferry again to Kuopoio. There are all these lakes and It sounds like a great idea to travel via lake rather than via road. Then I thought I might lake my way down to Savonlinna where I could spend a couple of days or more. I am planning on ending my stay in Turku though, and catching a ferryfrom there to Sweden. So possibly it would be more sensible to travel in the other direction especially since I cannot find a direct train/bus from Savonlinna to Turku. What do you guys, who know the area better think? Is it easy to do a direct trip from Savonlinna to Turku?
I am mostly there for the 10th-11th Century Vikings :) though I would like to see some flora and fauna while I am there. I want to see Birka and I plan on going to the Visby (Gotland) festival in August. I also want to spend a few days in Uppsala so I am trying to decide whether to go straight from the ferry to Uppsala - that would mean trying to travel directly from Uppsala to the Visby ferry in Nykoping. Would that be tricky for an English speaker in a single journey do you think?
And, If there is anyone out there who has been to the medieval festival at Visby; I am trying to decide whether to stay for the whole festival or only for a few days. Is the opening or the closing of the festival more impressive? A lot of the attractions are talks and shows... I imagine that there is not much in the way of translation to English, but the site does not say.
So definitely meltdown, of the most fun variety. Any input, opinions, feedback would be welcome.
Feb 11, 2013 4:29 AM
Feb 11, 2013 5:15 AM
Feb 11, 2013 2:24 PM
Feb 11, 2013 10:53 PM
4We spent some time in Savonlinna, and we found the place a complete joy to stay in.
We were told at the local tourist authority the fortress is the Northern most, large medieval fortress in Europe and we did sure think it was very impressive and it is sure worth a look and to do a guided tour.
The fortress is a little ways from the town, but it is a very pretty walk over a bridge into town, and while we were there, we also did do some hiking, and the our hotel was very near the fortress, and the ferry wharf so we had a couple of ferry rides on the lakes.
And we went from Turku to Helsinki and took the train from there to access Savonlinna, and i do not remember why we went that way and perhaps you may well have to go that way, but we were traveling North to Vaasa so it perhaps fitted into our travel plans?
But for me it is well worth the effort to get there, and did enjoy our stay there.
Feb 12, 2013 1:48 PM
5I took the boat from Savonlinna to Koupio a few years ago, it was a very nice trip if you can stand staying on a boat for 10½ hours :-)
Feb 12, 2013 2:21 PM
6Thanks for the confirmation jedgerandclyde - reading about Savonlinna made me think I didn't want to miss it. Were you able to get a direct connection at Helsinki, between Turku and Savonlinna or did you have to spend a night?
bjornmu - I can more than 'stand' long boat rides, I love them :) and since I will probably not be able to do much hiking I am looking forward to seeing a bit of the lakes this way.
Do you know if any of the boat trips would be covered by a rail pass? The sites I have seen just say that 'some ferries' are included, but there does not seem to be a list of which.
Feb 12, 2013 2:52 PM
7We arrived in Turku on the ferry in the afternoon, took the train on the rather short journey down to Helsinki, and stayed there for a few days, and then trained it up to Savonlinna that took about 4 or 5 hours from memory.
We did not try to go direct to Savonlinna from Turku, and i guess if you arrived in Turku early in the morning you could get to Savonlinna via Helsinki in one day.
And i would suppose the local tourist people could help you with your rail pass question?
Feb 12, 2013 11:23 PM
8Fond as I am of Savonlinna, a more accessible and equally beautiful Swedish castle in Finland can be seen in the village of Snappertuna between Helsinki and Turku, Castle Raseborg. You will need to hire a car to get there. It looks like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnthefinn/sets/72157630982330240/with/7743168510/
The village is also worth a look.
If you like boat rides, you will enjoy the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, which passes by more islands than you can shake a camera at. Hours of daylight are very long in summer, so you won't miss much.
Feb 13, 2013 2:57 PM
9Hey john - I love the look of Raseborg; the way the castle just rises out of the rock is beautiful and the festival looks like a good day out too. I will put it on the list of things I'd like to do but I don't have an international driving licence so it will depend on whether I meet people who are driving.
I am really looking forward the the overnight ferry actually, and I think it will be a real buzz to be doing things in daylight late at 'night'. I can't wait!
Feb 14, 2013 5:41 AM
10You won't regret going to Savonlinna. The castle is spectacular and the area around it is very beautiful.
I have never done any longer trips on the water in Finland, but you may want to consider whether you'd be sick of being cooped up after all that lake travel at one time. Up to you of course.
You don't need an international driving license for Finland, assuming you have a valid license from the country where you reside, and which has signed one of the relevant international conventions. Official information is in this link.
Feb 14, 2013 2:53 PM
Feb 15, 2013 4:05 AM
12Getting from Uppsala to Nynäshamn is no problem - get a train from Uppsala, with local train change in Märsta, for long distance (if you jump on a train arriving from north of Uppsala) change in Stockholm C. It's a local train to Nynäshamn, part of the SL local transport in Stockholm.
The Medieval festival in Visby used to be good, I lived in Gotland for 5 years but haven't been back for a while. Try to get out of Visby as well, as it's very beautiful in Gotland - and for your own sake do avoid what they call 'Stockholm week' when Visby is invaded by rich brats living on Dad's money.......
Feb 15, 2013 3:26 PM
13Thank's muminmamma that is very helpful, I have been trying to read the Swedish train schedules site but it is not all that easy to navigate. I am hoping to get up to the North part of Gotland for a day - there is meant to be good bird-watching up there and the coastline looks beautiful.
Feb 17, 2013 3:37 AM
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