The pleasant lakeside town of Kuopio is best known for its enormous smoke sauna, the biggest in the world, and makes for a worthwhile pit stop on your way north to Lapland. One of the best times to visit is during the annual Kuopio Dance Festival (www.kuopiodancefestival.fi) in mid-June.

Built on a grid system, the centre is easy to navigate. Just south of the train station is the main square, the kauppatori. From here Kauppakatu leads east to the Kuopio Museum  at no. 23 with two floors of natural and cultural history. Further up the road, at no. 35, the Kuopio Art Museum is housed in a converted bank. The thoughtfully curated temporary exhibitions focus mainly on modern Finnish art. Around the corner on Kuninkaankatu, the Victor Barsokevitsch Photographic Centre is a real find – one of the best photography galleries in the country, with changing exhibitions.

Kuoipio’s woodsmoke sauna, set at the Jätkänkämppä Lumberjack Lodge, is the main draw in town, and about as quintessentially Finnish an experience as you’ll find: there are traditional Finnish evenings each night the sauna is open, which often include a Lumberjack Show and great dinner buffet from mid-May to mid-August. The lodge is located 4km south of the centre in the Rauhalahti spa hotel complex.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Finland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: brushing shoulders with bears in Finland’s newest national park

In pictures: brushing shoulders with bears in Finland’s newest national park

In 2017, Hossa – an area of pristine wilderness with superb hiking near Finland’s eastern border – will become the country’s 40th national park. Photog…

19 Sep 2016 • George Turner insert_drive_file Article
Brave new world: the quirks of Finland’s saunas

Brave new world: the quirks of Finland’s saunas

To Finns, it is the most natural thing on the planet: disrobing, sweating it out naked in front of strangers in temperatures of 80°C, occasionally self-flagell…

11 Aug 2016 • Luke Waterson insert_drive_file Article
18 beautiful pictures of Finland

18 beautiful pictures of Finland

Professional travel photographer Tim Bird shares his love of photographing Finland.  "I’ve been based in the Finnish capital Helsinki for more than thirty…

12 May 2015 • Tim Bird insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month