The beautiful scenery, boating routes, service harbours and guest piers are the best that Saimaa has to offer to those travelling by boat. Heading north from Savonlinna the most important intersection of boating routes is in Oravi, from where you may head either north, toward the Heinävesi water route, or east, toward Enonkoski and Savonranta.
In addition to the beauty of nature and multitude of locks, a network of frequent natural harbours and extensive boating services are characteristic of the Heinävesi water route. Guest piers and service harbours are numerous and there are also a number of accommodation and catering services on the route. Fuel may be obtained from Kerma and Karvio. Those travelling by sailing boat, however, had better bear in mind the measures of their vessel when making their choice of route. The tallest a boat may be is 9.5 metres, as the first bridge, with an underpass of a height of ten metres, is in Vaaluvirta, immediately after Joutenvesi.
Another aspect requiring attention are the numerous locks on the route, of which it takes its time to pass through. At the shallowest point, the depth of the route is 1.8 metres. After the locks of Karvio one may either head for Kuopio, continuing on the Kallavesi route, or turn east and head up, through the locks of Varistaipale and Taivallahti, towards the peaceful waters of Lake Juojärvi and Rikkavesi. Via the latter route, it becomes possible to pay a visit to the orthodox monastery of Valamo, situated on Lake Juojärvi.
For larger vessels and sailing boats there is the option of heading east from Oravi and following the deepwater route leading to Enonkoski, Savonranta and, eventually, Joensuu. There are several comfortable natural harbours on this route and two service harbours, complete with refuelling points, both in the vicinity of the main villages Enonkoski and Savonranta.
For further information on the boating routes and services in the region, see:
- Finland yatch and boat charter association
- Finnish Marine Administration