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Unusual Finland off the tourist path: on the road crossing Karelia towards Kajaani… and a dream manor house!

When you talk about Finland you think about Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Lapland, nature…

As I told you in this article, visiting Finland during summer can be advantageous because you can easily follow a route by car, which would otherwise be slow and quite snowy in other months… 

Unusual Finland off the tourist path: on the road crossing Karelia towards Kajaani… and a dream manor house!

The first thing you need to know if you want to take a trip on the road towards the north of Finland is that there are no highways and that the limit allowed is almost always 80 km/h: for sure this is a speed that will allow you to enjoy landscapes and probably to have some very close encounter with reindeers… But it is a detail to take into account when calculating the travel time!

Karelia is a remote region, which we discovered almost by chance on our way on the road from Helsinki and Rovaniemi: looking at the road map we decided to cross the lake region to reach Kajaani. On the way, however, I began to read so much information about Karelia, about unspoiled nature, about its importance throughout history.

How did we get to Karelia? From Mikkeli, a sort of capital of the lake region, where water will accompany your travel into northern forests, we have decided to divert to visit the splendid castle of Olavinlinna. The castle is not very big, but the visit is worth both for its location – in the middle of the lake – both for the guided tour of 1 hour, really well organized. Also there are various activities dedicated to children who are really worth! If you visit the castle during the month of July, a famous opera festival is held just inside of it. The pretty town of Savonlinna is also worth a short visit.

From Savonlinna we left to visit the Church of Kerimäki, the largest wooden church in the world (and the entrance is free!) and also for your children will be nice to hear the anecdotes about the size of this church: some people say that there was a miscalculation when it was built (the architect had drawn in centimeters, but the manufacturer intended in inches, with the result of a building 2.54 times larger), some people say that the pastor wanted a church that housed at least 5000 faithful. The fact is that, despite the eight stoves present for heating, in winter months a smaller church must be used.

Once in Kerimäki, Karelia is very close: the northern part of this region has always been disputed between Russia and Finland and much of the Finnish territory was ceded to the Soviet Union in 1940 after the Winter War. A land of contrasts, with a strong naturalistic vocation, which succeeds in satisfying the tastes of all: a region that can appear desolate, sparsely inhabited, in which to contemplate the true Nordic nature, majestic and silent. In Karelia you awill find dense woods, populated of animals (reindeer, bears, wolves, wolverines), many lakes and rivers: a paradise for families looking for relaxation or for lovers of canoeing, kayaking, trekking (Karelian circuit is made of 14 trails for a total of 1000 km: the most famous, the path of the wolf Susitaival has 97 km, the path of the bear Karhunpolku has 133 kmand the path of the fighter Tapion Taival has 13 km extendable with further 8 km). Even along the road you will find a minimal anthropic presence, with many beautiful woods and lakes, you can stop to collect red fruits in the undergrowth. The towns of Joensuu and Nurmes are worth the stop, if only because they are two of the few towns in the area (consider these stops for a refueling… or food!)

Unusual Finland: living as in 1800 in Kajaani

Living Finland at 360 degrees also means staying in a typical Finnish manor house: Karolineburg is an option to try at least once to understand how life could be in this region in 1836.
Almost a princely castle thanks to furnishings and decorations faithful to the time of construction.

The place where the manor house is located was originally a small farm named Joutava belonging to the bigger farm of Tuovila. In 1835, the judge of the judicial district of Kajaani Fredrik Calamnius bought the land. In 1836, at the age of 48 years, Calamnius married Karolina Kristina Stenroth, aged 24. The same year, he built a very spacious house with several bedrooms and living rooms before starting the building of the main manor house, which included seven bedrooms, a kitchen, an entrance, a wardrobe, a cellar and, of course, a large living room. He called the Manor House Karolineburg in honor of his wife, Karolina. After the premature disappearance of Calamnius in 1840, the manor changed its ownership several times until ’80 and ’90, when Karolineburg was transformed into a hotel. Today Karolineburg is a beautiful charming hotel, suitable also for families for the conformation of its structure, with a European style, and offers accommodation for 50 guests and restaurant for 100 persons. 

Karolineburg offers various types of rooms: our suite, able to accommodate up to 4 people, is bright, clean, cozy. The living room makes you feel in a real house, the beauty-desk with mirror in each bedroom make each girl, little girl or woman feel like a princess and the private sauna in the bathroom is that detail 100% Finnish that you will love for sure.

Breakfast is served in the main part of the manor house, in a very cozy room, overlooking the back of the beautiful garden of Karolineburg. The assortment is good and the quality of the food offered is really great.

Kartanohotelli Karolineburg
Karoliinantie 8
87200 Kajaani
FINLAND
Phone: + 358102305900
E-mail: [email protected]

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