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Festivals in Finland - Is my itinerary full of holes?

I just discovered that I have an extra unplanned week-long stopover in Stockholm. Due to the festivals taking place, I want to spend it in Finland, but the late date is making planning difficult and I am hoping to find answers to a lot of questions... starting with the question of whether or not my schedule is completely unrealistic? Itinerary is as follows:
July 1: Kuopio: arrive in Stockholm and fly to Kuopio. It is a Thursday, so go to smoke sauna that night.
July 2: Spend the morning wandering around Kuopio and then head up to Sonkajärvi for the preliminary events for the wife carrying tournament (the finals are on the 3rd): Q1: is it worth going to Sonkajärvi just for the preliminaries? Q2: It seems there isn't much in the way of accommodation there? How does one find a sofa/floor to sleep on? Q3: Can I get there by public transit as I am afraid to drive?
July 3:Leave for Savonlinna in afternoon. Go to Bizet's Carmen in Savonlinna's castle. Q4: What is the quickest route between Sonkajärvi and Savonlinna (and should I even bother with Sonkajärvi if I have to leave to arrive in Savonlinna by 6pm)? If I delayed in Sonkajärvi and wait until the 4th to go to Savonlinna, it will be Sunday and hence no opera.
July 4: Take evening train/bus to Helsinki.
July 5: Helsinki
July 6: Day trip to Tallinn in Estonia.
July 7: more time in Helsinki and take a evening boat back to Stockholm (have an late afternoon flight to Rejkjavik). Q5: What is the best way to get back to Stockholm? Will the boat be nice even though I am a single traveller or is it better to fly? Most of the affordable cabins take 4 people. Q6: Should I stay in Tallinn and sail/fly from there?
and finally: Q7: Is this a reasonable itinerary? Are there better ways to go/things to do?
Sorry for the multitude of questions... and thanks n advance for your answers.

Posted by
4534 posts

I can only answer Q5 and Q6:

Q5 - Take the ferry from Helsinki back to Stockholm. It's a beautiful trip at both ends and especially the archipelago outside Stockholm. Be sure you get up and enjoy it in the morning (it begins about 2 hours prior to docking). It's also more like a cruise ship than ferry.

While I don't know what is afordable for you, the cost for a small private cabin is not that bad. You can also reserve a bed in a shared cabin for even less. I believe in that case it'll be a same sex cabin.

You'll never remember the flight unless you are delayed for some reason. You will remember the ferry forever.

Q6 - Whether you will like staying in Helsinki or Tallinn is something only you can decide. Both cities are very nice. It is easy and convenient to take the ferry to Tallinn and back for a day trip. But you'll save 1-2 hours in your short time there by staying in Tallinn.

Posted by
102 posts

For me the Sonkajarvi for the preliminaries might not sound like a worth while idea. Public transit in Finland should not be a problem. The opera at the Savonlinna castle is definitely something not to miss! The boat to Stockholm from Helsinki is something you will enjoy. Make sure to reserve the buffet in advance. It is spectacular! You can reserve a female cabin if you want to save money. I have done that in the past and half the time I ended up by myself and only paid for half of the cabin.

Posted by
6 posts

Douglas and Kaarina,

Thanks for your quick replies! I will book Savonlinna today (opera ticket and hotel)... still trying to decide on 1 or 2 nights in Kuopio. And both of you make it easy for me to bite the bullet and sign up for the ferry/cruise. I will likely either take a single or a shared on an upper deck. But there are 2 lines operating - Tallink Silja and Viking Line. Is one better than the other, or am I equally safe booking either?

Posted by
4534 posts

Either ferry line is good. I used Silja and hear it is more tame - Viking has a more "party" reputation.

If money is an issue, why book an upper deck cabin? The cheapest rooms are buried well below deck. There are no windows and it feels like you are in the bowels of the ship (and you are), but you'll want to spend your time on deck looking at the scenery, eating in the restaurant (I too recommend the smorgesbord) and perhaps enjoying the nightlife. The cabin is for catching a few hours sleep.

Posted by
102 posts

Pick Silja Line! Viking Line is full of partying young people. I always take Silja Line. As a matter of fact, I will be going to Stocholm June 8th with my daughter. :) If you can afford it, get a cabin with a window. It is well worth it. This time of the year, there are basicly no darkness and it is wonderful to watch the sea and the archipelago from your window.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks both!!!!
I have booked passage and have an upper cabin with window. Have also reserved hotels and bought a ticket for Carmen.

I now only have one more question and I think I am good to go. Have either of you (or anyone) been to the wine festival in Kuopio? Is it worth going (since I will be there anyway) or would I feel uncomfortable as I am a solo traveler. If anyone is thinking of going on the night of July 2nd...

Posted by
102 posts

Sorry, but I have never been to the wine festival in Kuopio.

I am glad that you booked the cabin with the window. You will love it! Have a great trip!