Aalto and Lake Saimaa sceneries in Varkaus

Cities: Varkaus

Sites: Varkaus – industrial history, Lake Saimaa waterways and caviar, Museum of Mechanical Music, Museums of Varkaus, Art centre Väinölä

Experiences: Art, Boat trip, Food and herbs, Local products, Museums, Nature

2 days
Groups, Individuals
Bus, Electric Boat, Street train
Welcome to experience Alvar Aalto in the lake district of Finland, beside Lake Saimaa in Varkaus!

Tour highlights:

  • Guided Aalto tour by a chosen mode of transportation
  • Guided tour at the Museum of Mechanical Music
  • Entrance ticket to the exhibition of Naive Art at Art Centre Väinölä
  • Accommodation in a double room in Hotel Oscar

Welcome to a tour in Alvar Aalto’s Varkaus!

In Varkaus, you can get to know an old industrial town where Alvar Aalto’s influence is still vivid. He started as the designer of the Varkaus Mills in the mid-1930s and continued in this role for about 10 years. There were also a number of plans that never materialised. You will also see other old building history of Varkaus, enjoy the natural environment in the Lake Saimaa area and savour food indigenous of the Savo region.

Alvar Aalto, a trailblazer in functionalism, used his design to achieve a more progressive and equal society. In the 1940s, he assumed post-war reconstruction and its sensible implementation as his other key objectives. In Varkaus, Aalto drew up designs ranging from industrial buildings and town plans to the homes of ordinary people. The Varkaus house factory manufactured hundreds of standardised houses designed by him. These were erected in all parts of Finland.

The bicentennial industrial history of Varkaus is evident in the appearance of the town. Over the years, Varkaus has been the host of successful iron and engineering works, shipyards, sawmills, wood-processing plants and paper mills. The Varkaus of today is also renowned for its expertise in energy technology.

Part of the former industrial area has been converted into a modern fishery centre. Varkaus is able to offer rainbow trout, sturgeon and caviar grown in an environmentally benign manner in the waters of Lake Saimaa.

Industrial history is supplemented by the Museum of Mechanical Music, which presents the international history of mechanical music from the 19th century to the present day.

Demolished A.Ahlström Corporation Saw Mill in Varkaus 1948

House factory in Varkaus produced houses all over Finland

Part of the former industrial area has been converted into a modern fishery centre. Varkaus is able to offer rainbow trout, sturgeon and caviar grown in an environmentally benign manner in the waters of Lake Saimaa.
Varkaus Paper Mill photo Timo Heinonen
Varkaus Paper Mill photo Timo Heinonen
Carelian Caviar in Varkaus
Carelian Caviar in Varkaus
The Museum of Mechanical Music in Varkaus, photo Minna Plihtari
The Museum of Mechanical Music in Varkaus, photo Minna Plihtari
Wintery A house in Varkaus photo Maija Holma Alvar Aalto Museum
Wintery A house in Varkaus photo Maija Holma Alvar Aalto Museum

Programme by day

Day 1: Lake Saimaa and Varkaus

A tour in Varkaus concerning the influence of Aalto on the town plan. The tour introduces you to the single-family homes of Aalto. The standardised houses were built by the local company Varkauden Talotehdas according to Aalto’s designs. The mode of transportation can be chosen by the customer.

A guided tour in the Museum of Mechanical Music takes you to a fabulous journey through the vast collection of interesting instruments. The instruments are on display in rooms that are decorated according to the style of their era.

The scenic Kämäri Island has remained as a green space in the centre of Varkaus. The three-kilometre-long nature trail winds between Ämmäkoski rapids and Taipale canal. The area has a rich fauna and the rapids give an extra touch to the lush landscape.

We recommend that you taste the local fish from Lake Saimaa or salmon grown in an environmentally benign manner in the new eco-fishery. Also, the local caviar is a specialty worth a try. See the restaurants from the website Visit Varkaus.

Museums of Varkaus. The exhibition “Industrial Workers – Ten stories from the factories” presents the industrial history of Varkaus from the 19th century to the present day. In the downstairs hall there is an art exhibition TaideVarkaus60+.

Art Centre Väinölä is an idyllic, 105-year-old wooden house, which used to be the residence of the mill manager and the office employees. In the summer period, Väinölä houses a wonderful exhibition of Naive Painters in Varkaus.

In the summer the Torni Terrace Café is open on top of the 1950s water tower. There you can enjoy the wonderful view and have a delicious break.

Local products, including caviar, are available for purchase from Sepon Lihatori at Päiviönsaari and from Cafe Piirakkapaja / Lähituotepuoti.

Useful information

If the Aalto tour is done as an electric boat cruise, the guidance takes place on board by means of stories and digital material.

As an alternative destination, there is the Taipale Canal Museum, which has free admission.

All the destinations are available for individual travellers. In that case the visits are self-guided and carried out by free city bikes, with the help of the Aalto Varkaus map or a mobile guide. www.tarinasoitin.fi/varkausaalto

Tour on the map

1. Varkaus

Sites included in this trip

Lake Saimaa tour on Electric Boat Lady Of The Lake photo Anssi Toivanen

Museum of Mechanical Music

Varkaus

A guided tour in the Museum of Mechanical Music takes you to a fabulous journey through the vast collection of interesting instruments. The instruments are on display in rooms that are decorated according to the style of their era.

Lake Saimaa tour on Electric Boat Lady Of The Lake photo Anssi Toivanen

Museums of Varkaus

Varkaus

Museums of Varkaus. The exhibition “Industrial Workers – Ten stories from the factories” presents the industrial history of Varkaus from the 19th century to the present day. In the downstairs hall there is an art exhibition TaideVarkaus60+.

Lake Saimaa tour on Electric Boat Lady Of The Lake photo Anssi Toivanen

Art centre Väinölä

Varkaus

Art Centre Väinölä is an idyllic, 105-year-old wooden house, which used to be the residence of the mill manager and the office employees. In the summer period, Väinölä houses a wonderful exhibition of Naive Painters in Varkaus.

Information on this trip

Good to know

Availability 1 June – 31 August 2018. Other dates are possible but with changes to the itinerary.

The timetable can be adjusted according to the customer’s needs, except for the tours carried out by the electric boat or the adventure bus. Their times of departures are either at 10 am or 6 pm.

The Aalto tour starts at a location in the centre of Varkaus as chosen by the customer. Kämäri nature trail is only c. 500 meters away from the hotel.

The guided tour does not include much walking.

The length of the Kämäri nature trail is 3 kilometres, but a shorter walk is also possible.

Self-guided tour by bike with map.

If the Aalto tour is done as an electric boat cruise, the guidance takes place on board by means of stories and digital material.

As an alternative destination, there is the Taipale Canal Museum, which has free admission.

All the destinations are available for individual travellers. In that case the visits are self-guided and carried out by free city bikes, with the help of the Aalto Varkaus map or a mobile guide. www.tarinasoitin.fi/varkausaalto

Group sizes for different modes of transport:

  • Electric boat max. 10 persons
  • Adventure bus max. 8 persons
  • Kalakukko street train max. 25 persons
  • Bus max. 50 persons

Included

  • Guided Aalto tour by a chosen mode of transportation
  • Guided tour at the Museum of Mechanical Music
  • Entrance ticket to the exhibition of Naive Art at Art Centre Väinölä
  • Accommodation in a double room in Hotel Oscar

Optional services

  • Lunches and dinner as additional services are optional. Services of a nature guide for Kämäri are optional.
  • Torni Terrace Café has no entrance fee, servings charged according to the price list.
  • City bikes and Aalto Varkaus map are free of charge.

Example price 83-98 € / person

Duration 2 days, 1 night

Availability 1 June – 31 August 2018. Other dates are possible but with changes to the itinerary.

Languages:

  • Finnish
  • English / Guidance: electric boat cruise, adventure bus tour, Museum of Mechanical Music, Kämäri. Aalto Varkaus brochure.

2-day excursion price according to the mode of transportation chosen for the guided Aalto tour: 

  • Electric Boat or Adventure bus – (Group 6–8/10)
    98 € / person
  • Kalakukko Street Train – (Group 11–20)
    98 € / person
  • Bus – (Group 11–20)
    94 € / person
  • Bus – (Group 21–50)
    83 € / person

Inquiries and bookings

Example price 83-98 € / person

Duration 2 days, 1 night

Availability 1 June – 31 August 2018. Other dates are possible but with changes to the itinerary.

Languages:

  • Finnish
  • English / Guidance: electric boat cruise, adventure bus tour, Museum of Mechanical Music, Kämäri. Aalto Varkaus brochure.

2-day excursion price according to the mode of transportation chosen for the guided Aalto tour: 

  • Electric Boat or Adventure bus – (Group 6–8/10)
    98 € / person
  • Kalakukko Street Train – (Group 11–20)
    98 € / person
  • Bus – (Group 11–20)
    94 € / person
  • Bus – (Group 21–50)
    83 € / person
Savonlinna Tours