This summer in Kuopio has been absolutely glorious and I couldn’t be happier! Hot days, blue skies, and people out ‘n’ about. I spent over two months in Kuopio this summer and here are just a few of my highlights.
Kuopio is an easy-going and thriving city with heaps of wonderful history – and although the lively market square is the heart of the city, there is so much more to Kuopio than the colourful market stalls, Lake Kallavesi, Kalakukko and the famous Kuopio Wine Festival. But like all the best stories, this one starts with a good lunch…
In a pretty little restaurant called Urban, just a short stroll from the market square.
Here you’ll find a delicious and daily-changing lunch menu that enables you to savour unique food and drink offerings reflecting the flavours and ingredients of each Finnish season. It’s a tiny place full of flavour leaving us satisfied, relaxed and ready to explore.
Museums to discover.
If you fancy bit of shopping, the market alley of Pikku-Pietari is situated in idyllic old stables and a home to a lovely cafe and charming little shops selling hand-made goodies, pretty homeware, gifts and antiques – something for everyone. Pop into the cafe for a glass of their sparkling willowherb drink. I first tried it at the Satoa Goes Wild Festival and it since became a firm favourite. It’s sinfully delicious and will give you a good buzz to keep going!
Float on down towards the Old Town Centre which is located south-east from the main square. Stroll along the pretty rows of wooden houses and the dinky cobbled streets.
No Kuopio adventure would be complete without a visit to the passenger harbour so for a day when you want to take things easy, enjoy a glass of wine at Ravintola Wanha Satama or hop on one the many Lakeland Cruises. There couldn’t be a more lovely way to soak up the lake views and relax at the same time.
For the prettiest streets and the most charming wooden buildings, I would recommend exploring Kirkkokatu, Kuninkaankatu and Minna Cathinkatu. Here you can just walk around following your feet.
Kuopio was almost completely a wooden house city until the mid-1900s. Sadly many of the buildings are long gone, but as promised, I still have somewhere really special to take you.
With an utterly idyllic and picturesque setting, the Old Kuopio Museum is a wonderfully preserved site: take a wander to around the courtyard to admire its historic buildings and enjoy a cup of coffee on the cafe terrace.
Old Kuopio Museum consists of eleven old wooden houses which form an enclosed block. The oldest buildings date back to the 18th century and the most recent, to the end of the 19th century, so it’s quite a humbling experience.
The museum courtyard looking particularly fine in the Finnish sunshine and with the lilacs blooming.
The interiors show homes and workshops of different kinds of families from the 19th century to the 1930´s. You can really feel the history here: pastel coloured walls, velvet chairs, framed paintings. And the atmosphere is enchanted by scents and the sounds of creaking floorboards.
The spacious, bright rooms, painted floors, rag rugs, tiled fireplaces and artisanal furniture are all delightful.
There is also an old pharmacy museum filled with all sorts of treasures that showcases a local pharmacy from years 1910 – 1920. In addition, there is an exhibition hall and a room dedicated to the renowned local author Minna Canth.
Old Kuopio Museum
Kirkkokatu 22, 70100 Kuopio | +358 17 182 625 | website
1.9. – 14.5. Tue-Sat 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sun-Mon closed
15.5. – 31.8. Tue-Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun-Mon closed
The Old Kuopio Museum was a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.
A lot has happened since then. That, though, is a whole other tale altogether.