Turku: Finland's most charming town developed around an ancient trading post. Its castle played a prominent role in Finnish (as well as Scandinavian) history. The national capital until 1812, Turku today is an important cultural center, with two universities. It's also a good base for short cruises of the Turku Archipelago.
Savonlinna: The commercial and cultural center of the eastern Savo region, one of Finland's most ancient provinces, this town is the center of Lake Saimaa traffic. Filled with attractions, including museums and art galleries, it's also a good center for exploring -- often by boat -- one of the most scenic parts of Finland.
Lappeenranta: Founded in 1649 by Queen Christina of Sweden, this town is at the southernmost edge of Lake Saimaa. It covers a large area stretching from the lake to the Russian border. The commercial and cultural center of South Karelia, it's a spa town and the gateway to the Saimaa Canal. It's filled with attractions and is also a good base for excursions, including visa-free day tours to Vyborg in Russia.
Porvoo: About 50km (30 miles) northeast of Helsinki (at the mouth of the River Porvoo), this was an important trading center in the Middle Ages. Porvoo has been loved by some of Finland's greatest poets and artists. Old Porvoo, with its lanes and wooden houses -- the oldest of which date from the 16th century -- is well worth exploring.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.