Olavinlinna Castle (Castle of St. Olof) (tel. 015/531-164; www.olavinlinna.fi), a three-towered medieval fortress founded in 1475, is the city's major attraction. On a small island in the middle of Kyronsalmi Straits, it's reached by a rotating bridge. At the eastern end of Linnankatu, the triangular-shaped castle boasts 30m-tall (98-ft.) towers that provide a spectacular panoramic vista of the Finnish lake district.
One-hour guided tours (65€/$104 per person) take you through the vast corridors of the castle, with its spooky halls, stone-built rooms, and lookout towers.
To the left of the castle entrance is a small Castle Museum, displaying artifacts found in the castle or related to it. Even more intriguing is the Orthodox Museum on the right, a splendid treasure trove displaying Russian icons and other valuable church plates and vestments. The summer opera festival is held here. Admission is 5€ ($8) for adults, 3.50€ ($5.60) for students and ages 7 to 17, and free for kids 6 and under. From January 2 to May 31, hours are daily 10am to 3pm; June 1 to August 15 daily 10am to 5pm; and August 16 to December 31 daily 10am to 3pm.
Other attractions include the SS Salama (tel. 015/571-4710; www.savonlinna.fi/museo/museumships.htm) museum ship, built in Vyborg in 1874; it's the only steam schooner in Finland -- and perhaps in the world. The ship is docked in Riishisaari and is open May 15 to September 3, Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 8pm. Admission is 5€ ($8) adults, 2€ ($3.20) students, 1€ ($1.60) ages 7 to 16, and free for kids 6 and under.
Retretti, in Punkaharju (tel. 015/775-22-00; www.retretti.fi), is an art center that opened in 1982 in a grotto about 22km (14 miles) south of Savonlinna. It includes a concert hall, and during the opera festival in Savonlinna, chamber-music concerts are presented here. Exhibits vary from year to year since the artwork is on loan. The center can be reached by boat from the Marketplace in Savonlinna, or by bus from the Savonlinna bus station. Admission to the art center is 15€ ($24) for adults, 12€ ($19) for seniors, 9€ ($14) for students, 5€ ($8) for children 5 to 15, and free for children 4 and under. The center is open from the end of May until the end of August, daily from 10am to 5pm (in July it stays open until 6pm).
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.