A Cultural Walking Tour of Finland: Opera at Savonlinna and Music at the Kuhmo Festival

The midsummer Opera Festival at Savonlinna in Finland is internationally famed, not just for the calibre of the performances, but also for its magical setting in a mediaeval castle rising dramatically out of the lake. Further north, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival attracts artists and audiences from all over the world. It has consistently been ranked amongst the world’s top music festivals. 

Our visit features forest walks and a boat trip to explore this idyllic region of pine and silver birch forest and tranquil lakes, 3 chamber music concerts, plus 2 opera performances:


In Kuhmo, we encounter the vast forests of the archetypal Finnish landscape and between Savonlinna and Helsinki we travel along the old King’s Road, where the brightly painted wooden houses reflect both Swedish and Russian architectural influences.

We finish the trip in Finland’s lively and attractive capital, Helsinki. In summer, the city enjoys long hours of sunshine, pavement cafés flourish and impromptu art shows and street theatre entertain passers-by. We wander the wide, tree-lined avenues admiring the beautifully preserved Art Nouveau facades, Alvar Aalto’s contemporary architectural masterpieces and the fine Neo-Classical buildings which line the busy quaysides. During the week, we sample Finland’s summer specialities such as reindeer, fish from the lakes, wild forest mushrooms and tangy Arctic cloudberries.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS of our Finland walking tour include:  

  • Hearing Sibelius’ music and learning about his life in the atmospheric museum in his family country home at Ainola
  • Visits to the illuminating Winter War Museum and the modern Museum of the Forest
  • Admiring the architecture of the world's largest wooden church in Kerimaki built in 1847
  • A boat safari in the Linnansaari National Park, home of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal
  • Strolls in the silver birch forest and around the 17th century wooden architecture of towns along the old King’s Road to Helsinki
  • Exploring the architecture of Helsinki whilst based in a central luxury hotel 

Guests’ comments on this trip:

‘Savonlinna is a lifetime experience -  castle, singers, acoustics, settings and costume.’

'An absolutely splendid trip with pleasant walks, marvelous music, wonderful food and wine. Best tour I have ever been on.


If you are looking for more flexible tour arrangements in Finland, why not check out offers from our colleagues at Baltic Travel Company on

DAY 1  
D included

We meet at Kuopio airport in the late afternoon and transfer by road (2.5 hrs) to Kuhmo, the cultural heart of Northern Karelia. We have dinner on arrival at our hotel, a contemporary Finnish wooden design, idyllically situated on a lake.

DAY 2 
B, L, D included
A leisurely start allows us, after breakfast, to wander from our hotel along the lakeshore and in the surrounding forest. We attend three festival concerts during the day, two in Kuhmo’s handsome yellow wooden church and one in the new Arts Centre. We are introduced to the Finnish national epic Kalevala in the Juminkeko museum and have lunch in a summer café popular with the festival musicians and audience.

B, L, D included

This morning we visit the nearby Winter War Museum, which documents a campaign little-known outside Finland, before an hour’s walk in the forest. Setting off for the cross-country drive south, we drive for 2 hours to our lunch break in the Koli National Park, then continue for 3 hours in the afternoon. We arrive at our quiet lakeside apartment hotel in Oravi in time for dinner, featuring wild berries, mushrooms and fish from the Saimaa Lake.

B, L, D included
We set off on a morning boat safari to the main island of the Linnansaari National Park, home of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. In the afternoon, a 40 minutes’ drive takes us to Savonlinna, where we have an early dinner in an excellent restaurant before crossing two bridges on foot to attend our first opera performance, Mozart’s ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’, an unforgettable experience with the floodlit castle reflected in the still waters of the lake.

DAY 5 
B, L, D included
We start with a visit to the world’s largest wooden church in Kerimaki, built between 1844 and 1847, through the dream of the local clergyman and the efforts of the local population. We continue to the Punkaharju esker, one of Finland’s natural wonders, and walk along this sand ridge, a remnant of the Ice age. After a lunch of seasonal fresh produce in a charming historic building, we visit the informative Museum of the Forest. Later we return to Savonlinna for our second opera, Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’.

B, L, D included
Today, we travel west on a day’s drive through a classic Finnish landscape of forests and lakes, pausing en route for lunch in a lakeside restaurant in the Fortress of Lappeenranta. There are opportunities to visit Finland’s oldest Orthodox church and the South Karelian museum or to shop for handicrafts. We also look around Hamina, with its unique circular town plan dating from the early 18th century Swedish period, before arriving at our hotel, a 4 star converted Manor house set in ten acres of grounds leading down to the sea, in time to swim, use the spa facilities, or take a short walk before dinner.

B, L, D included

In nearby Porvoo, once an important mediaeval trade centre and now a picturesque small town, we walk the cobbled lanes and along the river to admire the red ochre-painted grain warehouses. In Ainola, we visit Sibelius’ atmospheric former country home, full of evocative mementoes of Finland’s greatest composer, and have a light lunch before driving on to Helsinki, where our luxury hotel, a recently refurbished historic hotel, now a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is perfectly situated for exploring the historic city centre. We begin with an orientation walk from our hotel, visiting Senate Square, the Orthodox Cathedral and the picturesque waterfront before returning to prepare for our farewell dinner in an elegant restaurant.

B included

Our final day is spent exploring Helsinki – either independently, or joining our Kudu guide on a gentle walk (6 kms) that takes in some of the most iconic monuments of the city, including Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall and the Central Railway Station, considered by many to be the crowning achievement of architect Ariel Saarinen. We cross some of the city’s delightful green spaces, embellished with sculpture, and pass the National Museum of Finland and Ateneum that houses the National Art Collection with pictures from the ‘golden age’ of Finnish art. The trip concludes with a private transfer to Helsinki airport.

Note: The Savonlinna Opera and Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival events described in the itinerary are subject (rarely) to change by the organisers. Actual performances or their order may therefore vary from those described in the itinerary.

Per person sharing:
£3,135.75 until 20th October 2018
until 20th January 2019
until 20th April 2019
after 20th April 2019
£440  double for single supplement 
£800   deposit per person

Please note that the double for single room supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable.

Price includes

  • All accommodation for Days 1 through 8, on a shared basis
  • All meals with soft drinks at lunch and wine at dinner, as listed in the daily notation
  • All land and water transportation as described, except during free periods
  • All entrance and sightseeing fees, except during free periods
  • Top category tickets for 2 opera performances and 3 chamber music concerts
  • Gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff (appreciation for Kudu tour guides is optional)
Price does not include

  • Flights to Kuopio and from Helsinki
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol other than wine with group meals, free time activities)
  • Meals noted as excepted in the daily notation
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Finnish departure tax, if any


On Kudu trips you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 2 nights in Kuhmo, in a hotel with contemporary Finnish wooden design, idyllically situated on a lake

  • 3 nights in Oravi, in a lakeside apartment hotel with a restaurant menu featuring wild berries, mushrooms and fish from the Saimaa lake

  • 1 night in Porvoo, in a 4 star hotel, a converted Manor house set in ten acres of grounds leading down to the sea

  • 1 night in Helsinki, in a centrally located luxury hotel (a recently refurbished historic hotel, now a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World)

Kudu Travel reserves a block of seats for each performance, approximately 1 year in advance, and unsold seats will eventually be released. If you book late, we may not be able to retrieve seats in the same category or to obtain any tickets for sold out performances.
Visa and Health Requirements 

Visitors from the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Finland. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of Finland.

Residents of countries in the EU can claim free (emergency) medical treatment in Finland by presenting their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).         

At present there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Finland. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.      

It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. We can arrange comprehensive cover for UK residents. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 14 guests.