We drove by car to Huuhanranta beach at the Lake Saimaa, where we stayed overnight and got surprised by the full blood moon in the evening. The water was pretty cold but very refreshing. The infrastructure on the beach was also excellent. There were toilets and a new barbecue hut as well as several barbecue areas right on the lake.
At Lake Pihlajavesi I cycled the 80km long test bike path from Punkaharju to Vuoriniemi, Uitonniemi, Pellossalo, Kulennoinen and back to Punkaharju.
Lake Pihlajavesi is the sixth largest lake in Finland, and the route has been divided into two routes. First, we cycled 33 km from Hiekanniemi to Pellosalo. Then we continued by ferry from Pellosalo to Uitonsalmi and from there on to Vuoriniemi and back to Punkaharju.
The highlights of the route were the:
- Punkaharju nature reserve, where we cycled along an Osers in the lake.
- Remains of the Kuikonniemi fortress, which was part of the Salpa line in the continuation of the war between the Soviet Union and Finland between 1941 and 1944.
- Kuikonniemi beach for swimming.
- Ferry ride between Pellosalo and Uitonsalmi.
- Strawberry cake and the view of the Pihlajavesi lake from the summer café Tynkkylän Lomaniemi.
- Finnish Forest Museum Lusto (not visited)
The section from Uitonsalmi to the Finnish National Road No. 14 was not that exciting (except the summer café). The first few kilometres from Pellosalo were quite sandy and slippery (with the wrong tires).
Puumala Archipelago Route
The archipelago route in Puumala is a 60km long route opened in 2017.
What I liked best about this bicycle route:
- Boat trip with the Norppa II ferry from Hurissalo to Lintusalo Island (needs to be booked in advance). During the 40 minute crossing, which costs around 15 EUR, we passed many small islands and were also able to see a very rare bird’s nest in one of the treetops.
- Ferry from Hätinvirta to Puumala is free.
- Small wooden bridge with the river in the Sahanlahti Resort.
- Pizza in the Satama restaurant in Puumala.
- Pistohiekka beach with a great view of the lake. I walked quite far into the lake without the lake getting much deeper.
- Great views from oser and bridges.
- Very good signage for the cycle path.
- View from the bridge at the Lietveden Kiosk.