The city was founded in 1639, based on Olavinlinna castle. The castle was founded by Erik Axelsson Tott in 1475 in an effort to protect Savonia and to control the unstable border between the Kingdom of Sweden and its Russian adversary. During the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743), the castle was captured by Field-Marshal Peter Lacy. It was held by Russia between 1743 and 1812, when it was granted back to Finland as a part of the “Old Finland”.
In 1973 the municipality of Sääminki was consolidated with Savonlinna. In the beginning of year 2009 the municipality of Savonranta and a 31.24 km2 (12.06 sq mi) land strip from Enonkoski between Savonlinna and Savonranta were consolidated with Savonlinna.
The University of Eastern Finland has a campus in Savonlinna, primarily for teacher education.
Tiny Savonlinna Airport is served by Flybe, which offers flights from Helsinki to Savonlinna up to two times per week day. Advance fares start from €32/one way, cheaper than the train, but go up quickly as the plane fills. There is a shuttle service to and from the bus station, which departs one hour before the flight leaves.
There are 3-4 trains daily from Helsinki or Joensuu to Savonlinna. The price is reasonable especially for children, students, and seniors. The trip to Helsinki takes about 4 and half hours. Click here to see
The main train station in Savonlinna is next to the market square.
Long-distance buses are also an option. Click here to see
Savonlinna is stretched out on a series of islands in the middle of Lake Saimaa. While you can cover the central parts on foot, you’ll need to resort to buses (or rent a car) to access the suburbs. If you want to rent a car, there is a Hertz rental office at the waterfront, near Hotel Tott. Savonlinna is surrounded by lakes and you can also go around town centre by a cruise ship. If you have someplace specific in mind to spend the day, it is probably cheaper to get a taxi, however. Taxi’s are plentiful, and certainly cheaper than renting a car for the day, if you are only going to one or two places.
This town is 335 kilometres (208 mi) away from the capital of Helsinki by road, some four hours away by train. There is an airport in the town, and the journey to Helsinki takes 40–60 minutes by plane. It is built on a chain of islands located throughout a number of large lakes.