Hakoniemi is a coniferous peninsula in North Karelia, located in the inland archipelago of Northern Saimaa. The creative space in Rääkkylä, Oravisalo, provides a framework for working and leisure, combining creativity and nature. The 1920s old farm has got a new life as a center of creative activity where you can organize workshops, events, marketing projects and tourist and accommodation services. Hakoniemi Residence Support Association maintains a residency in Hakoniemi.
The farm was inhabited by painter Jorma Pajarinen for 16 years, and his studio and barn gallery were in the settlement. Hakoniemi with its surroundings is an ideal destination for artistic work. In addition to the lake nature of the inland archipelago, the proximity of the Russian border and the history of the region are strongly present. Nearby Salpapolku offers a piece of Finnish military history and varied archipelago nature. You can reach the archipelago via the bridges or the ferry.​​​​​​​
Varpasalo and Oravisalo are inland islands of Northern Saimaa in Rääkkylä, North Karelia. The islands are known for their beautiful lakes and folk music. It is always nice to pop by or stay a bit longer among the people of the active village community. Here, people become easily acquainted with newcomers, but there is also plenty of opportunities for peace and quiet around the islands.​​​​​​​
The central feature of the Northern Saimaa archipelago is its unique lake nature. In the lake Orivesi, the islands surrounded by Hämeenselkä, Rauanselkä, Jänisselkä and Savonselkä contain both lush coastal groves and rugged rocky islands. Here, you are in the middle of the most beautiful areas of Lake Finland.
For the hiker, the islands offer excellent opportunities for water excursions, hiking and cycling. In winter you can enjoy skiing or snowshoeing on either prepared trails or intact crusts of snow. For the fishermen, the northern shores of Lake Saimaa offer great opportunities for pike perch. With the recovery of the endangered Saimaa Norp, a species of ringed seal, there is a real possibility of spotting one these chubby swimmers sun bathing on the cliffs.
Salpapolku, a military-historical outdoor trail, is located in the vicinity of Hakoniemi. The route follows Salpalinja, which is built on the east coast of Oravisalo. It was a defense line built by Finnish soldiers during World War II for protection against Soviet Union.
By exploring the trail, you can examine the wartime structures and the nature of the shores of Oravisalo and Hämeenselkä. Some of the historic structures of Salpapolku have been restored and you can find an accommodation dugout and a dugout sauna along the trail. For more information about visiting the dugouts, please contact Kuukkeli or Topin Tuvat.
Length of the route: 3 km.
Duration: approx. 45 min.
The trail is marked with wooden signs.
It is an easy hike but there is some rocky terrain on parts of the path.
Picture: Salpapolku
Those living in the archipelago have a long tradition of communality. Neighbors’ help and co-operation have been present for centuries in the archipelago communities, which is still today in the people of the archipelago.
In Varpasalo and Oravisalo, communality is reflected especially in the association activities. The aim of the various associations of the archipelago is to improve the recreational opportunities of the inhabitants of the islands; to create meaningful activities; and to otherwise improve the living conditions in the area.
The vivid association activity can be seen on the islands taking form in the various events, hobbies, projects like woodcarvings. Saimaa Archipelago Development Association is an active regional organization with a plenty of upcoming events.
Once in a summer, the Rääkkylä municipality, which has a long tradition in folk music, becomes alive with Kihaus Folk. 13 km from Hakoniemi by road or 4 km by waterway is the port of the main village in Rääkkylä. There is a restaurant and a former mill-dairy.
The Paksuniemi dairy (1904) is a building protected by the Finnish Heritage Agency. At the beginning the dairy produced butter and since 1952 the dairy expanded to milk.
In 1976 the milk processing ended at Paksuniemi, while the mill at the other end of the building was operational until the end of the millennium. The building now hosts mill museum Myllymuseo along with its gallery and the historic Meijerisali. Here, parts of a highly acclaimed Finnish movie “Oma maa” directed by Markku Pölönen was filmed during August 2017.
Picture: Mill museum
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