Partners Info


The Saimaa Geopark Visitor Centre is located in Imatra’s Culturehouse Virta, right after the main entrance. The visitor centre offers a great deal of information about geology and the developmental history of the Saimaa area. One can dive into deep history of our nearly two billion years old bedrock by observing the diverse rock samples in the exhibition. Also, a possibility for exercising basic rock identification is given. A timeline and sample collection, covering the last 13,000 years, visualize the lake-developmental stages and man’s early life in the Saimaa area. Several geological maps are displayed as well. The formation and strucure of the Salpauselkä ice-marginal formations are introduced with a scale model, giving a comprehensive viewpoint of the landscape-shaping forces of the Ice Age. Furthermore, the visitor centre offers information on the UNESCO Global Geoparks organization as well as Geopark destinations both in Finland and abroad. The visitor centre is a well suited place to start geohiking in the Saimaa region.


Urpola Nature Center

The Nature Centre presents the nature and history of Urpola in South Savo, and also aims to complement environmental education in schools and kindergartens. A Geopark signpost is located in the yard of the nature centre and a lovely nature trail runs along the Urpola river valley. From the nature centre, you can also continue to the nearby Kaihunharju hill and the Kaihun loop through the landscape.

Urpola Nature Centre is one of the Saimaa Geopark centres. The Saimaa Geopark showroom features an interactive experience wall, created with technology by OiOi Collective Oy of Mikkeli, which can be touched to learn about Saimaa Geopark facts, such as the creation of Saimaa or to bring Terhi Kastehelmi's imaginative mural to life.



Outdoor etiquette 

Everyone's Right 



A geological guide to sothern Lake Saimaa

Sunny lakes. Esker ridges rustling with pines. Fortress-like rocky islets. These are what Saimaa is known for in Finland and around the world. But what would the waterways look like to a boater who could sail away from the present moment and go back in time to see the geological development of the lake first-hand?

From Ancient Sea to Saimaa (PDF)

From Ancient Seat to Saimaa ISSUU 


Tales from South Karelia

Tales from South Karelia (PDF) is a collection of memories and stories about places in South Karelia. Stories are told by residents of the area and some of them are about sites in Saimaa Geopark area.

Rural Explore -project

Rural Explorer – project was collecting stories from the rural areas in South-Karelia and Kymenlaakso regions. Stories are linked to the interesting places which are located in the both regions. Rural Explorer – project was implemented 1.11.2017 – 31.5.2020 by Humak and LAB universities of the applied sciences. Project was funded by Euroopan maaseudun kehittämisen maatalousrahasto/Kaakkois-Suomen ELY-keskus.

More about the Rural Explorer project (in Finnish)

River of stories - legends to guide tourists in South-East Finland

These stories, based on oral and written folk narratives of the area, were written as part of a project to promote culture tourism in rural South-East Finland. This heritage is rich and contains an endless supply of stories. Out of all that bygone times and people have left for us, only a fraction has been harnessed to provide the enthusiasm and inspiration for this collection, now assembled in book form.

Pekka Vartiainen, Juha Iso-Aho & Anu Nuutinen

Rive of stories - book (PDF)


At the end of the 1800s, Finnish artists of the so-called Golden Age sought folksy, realistic subjects, and in the hope of finding inspiration, also the company of common people. The trips popularised by the Kalevala boom were often to eastern Finland. Albert Edelfelt was one of the painters who travelled to Vuoksenlaakso in 1877 to look for and paint common country folk. He stayed for some time in the home of Elli Jäppinen, the folk healer renowned in Finland and Russia. One of Edelfelt’s best-known paintings ‘Women of Ruokolahti on the Church Hill’ (1887) dates back to his time in Ruokolahti; it was admired in big cities around Europe – and later also in Finland.

Pekka Vartiainen, Juha Iso-Aho & Anu Nuutinen

Read the story about Elli and Albert here (PDF)

The Geological Trail of Imatra

The Geological Trail of Imatra (PDF) give information about geological history of the area. The sites along the Geological Trail of Imatra tell the story of the local natural history and are easily accessible.


Useful information

Rural Finland II  -The goal of the project is that tourism companies and food, nature and cultural tourism operators form active and open networks and combine their resources in tourism development work, resulting in new, internationalisation oriented service models. On the site you will find events, news and a newsletter (in Finnish).

Tourism services

Visit Saimaa – Tourism services in the Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Varkaus regions

Go Saimaa – Tourism services in the Lappeenranta and Imatra regions

Statistics and research

Statistics Service Rudolf – Accommodation statistics in Finland