Mikkeli is at the center of Europe's most extensive, and arguably most beautiful, Lake District. Despite its bucolic setting, this city of 33,000 is busy positioning itself as the gateway to the St. Petersburg region and a clearinghouse for information on Finland's immense neighbor. It's an easy town for walking and visitors will have no trouble finding their way to historical and other sights of interest. But why limit yourself? The towns that make up the Mikkeli District are all easy to get to with a Finland rental car and rewards await the adventurous traveler.
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Located on the shore of Lake Saimaa, Mikkeli is ideal for those wanting an active holiday. Whether its canoeing across the clean water and exploring some islands or tempting some of the lakes aquatic residents to take a fly, lure or bait, there's plenty of room for everyone here.
Hiking trails through the forest and along the shore provide magnificent views and the opportunity for peaceful reflection. If all this tranquility has left you too relaxed to return to work, rent a car and make the short drive to the Xon Puisto (Action Park). Here you'll find a giant swing and trampoline, bungee jumping, a rocket launch that is sort of a reverse bungee jump and something called Zorbing that involves being strapped into a transparent ball and rolled down a track.
Although Czar Nicholas I officially founded the town in 1838, the area has been inhabited since at least the end of the first millenium. Since the Middle Ages, Mikkeli has been one of the major towns in what is now eastern Finland and a church built in 1320 on the edge of the town's square provides a link to that time. Marshal Mannerheim chose Mikkeli as the headquarters for the Finnish Army in 1939 and there are several museums in the city documenting Mannerheim and the army.