Welcome to a canoer's paradise! Let ancient rock paintings tell you about the thousands of years that nature and man have coexisted in the Kolovesi area.
Some areas of the park are private property. Please respect the signs!
Canoeing allows you to truly appreciate the tranquillity of Lake Saimaa, its rugged banks and the surrounding wilderness. You might even spot a Saimaa ringed seal! Good places for setting off are the boat ramps at Käkövesi and Kirkkoranta. Read more about equipment hire and guided tours.
Kolovesi is also great for longer canoeing excursions if you bring your own tent. The 40-km route around the park takes two or three days.
Sights and scenery
Take a trip back in time! If you look closely, you can see rock paintings dating back 5,000 years on the steep walls of Ukonvuori. Ukonvuori is also an imposing sight from further away. There is an old excavation on the hillside with stunning formations of quartz crystals. As tempting as the glittering crystals may be, please do not touch!
There are also rock paintings on the walls of Vierunvuori. Vierunvuori is located just 500 metres off the Heinävesi route (at 62°19.05' N, 28°45.27' E) and it has a vertical rock face with a painting approximately 10 metres off the ground.
Havukkavuori just south of the park is another place to spot rock paintings. Other sights worth seeing in the park include majestic cliffs along the shores and, if you are lucky, the endangered Saimaa ringed seal.
Walk on marked trails
The relatively challenging Nahkiaissalo Nature Trail (3.3 km) takes walkers through mysterious ancient woodland and beautiful lakeland scenery to the site of an old tar-burning pit. There is also a good place for swimming along the trail and a picnic area at the Lohilahti camping site.
Mäntysalo Trail (3.8 km) runs in challenging and changeable terrain. The trail takes walkers past beautiful lake views and through woodland of various ages.
- Fishing: Kolovesi is brilliant for hook and line fishing.
- If you are aged between 18 and 64 and want to try lure fishing or other forms of fishing than hook and line fishing or ice fishing, you need to pay a fisheries management fee (www.eraluvat.fi). Fishing permits are available from Metsähallitus' online shop (www.eräluvat.fi).
- Net fishing is not permitted in Metsähallitus' waters due to the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. Fishing permits for waters that are not managed by Metsähallitus can be bought from landowners' collectives. There is practically no net fishing allowed anywhere in the park between 15 April and 30 June. The use of certain kinds of traps and fishing techniques within the Kolovesi Natura 2000 site is also prohibited under a Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (www.mmm.fi).
- Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
- Visitor Centre: Lake Saimaa Nature and Culture Centre Riihisaari in Savolinna is home for the joint permanent exhibition "In the heart of Saimaa" and visiting exhibitions of Savonlinna Provincial Museum (www.savonlinna.fi/riihisaari) and Saimaa Nature Centre.
- Nature Information Hut: Kolovesi Nature Information Hut is located on the riverbank in an old granary in Enonkoski. It is open through the summer and has an exhibition on the area's flora and fauna and provides information about recreational opportunities in the area.
- Pick berries and mushrooms: The park is excellent for bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) picking!
- Guided group tours: Lake Saimaa Nature and Culture Centre in Savonlinna provides information about Kolovesi National Park, vulnerable species and nature conservation.
- Swimming: There is no official beach, but the sandy shoreline at Käkövesi and the various camping sites are good places for swimming.
- Boating: Rowing and sailing are great ways to explore the area. Motorboats are only allowed in the northern parts of the park. There are moorings for sail boats and motorboats along Mäntysalo Nature Trail (at 62°18.42' N, 28°44.70' E) and at the Pitkäsaari camping site (at 62°18.50' N, 28°44.80' E or 62°18.41' N, 28°45.04' E). The park's shallow, narrow straits are not recommended for sail boats. Rowing boats can be launched off the ramps at Käkövesi or Kirkkoranta.