Welcome to Savonlinna!

Savonlinna is a small town in eastern Finland with approximately 36,000 inhabitants. The population of the entire region is about 55,000. The Savonlinna region is situated at the heart of Europe’s most extensive lake district. The town itself is built on a chain of is­lands; around 40 % of the surface area of Savonlinna is covered with lakes and ponds.

Olavinlinna Castle, founded in 1475, serves as a reminder of Savonlinna’s colourful, though often brutal past. The founder of the castle was Erik Axelsson Tott, a Swedish viceroy and the commandant of Vyborg Castle. The massive castle was built to defend the border of the Kingdom of Sweden, which at the time incorporated Finland, from attack from the East. The site chosen for the castle was a rocky islet in the strategically important strait of Kyrönsalmi. Gradually a trading settlement sprung up around the castle, and in 1639 Count Per Brahe, the Swedish governor-general of Finland, granted the settlement its town charter. Nowadays, Olavinlinna Castle is a venue for the world-famous Savonlinna Opera Festival.


The Savonlinna region consists of several municipalities. Savonlinna itself was a popular spa and tourist town already during the last century, and in recent years, it is known especially for its Opera Festival. In Enonkoski there is the Kolovesi National Park. Kerimäki is famous for the world’s largest wooden church. In Punkaharju there are the ridge area and Lusto, the Finnish Forest Museum. Sulkava is known for the rowing competition called Suursoudut. The Linnansaari National Park is located by Lake Puruvesi, which offers many possibilities for fishing. Savonranta is an ideal place to enjoy peace and the beauty of the nature.

Exchange programmes

On the Savonlinna campus we offer three international exchange programmes:

  • Nursing (2-week Community Nursing module + practical training; also a double degree programme)
  • Physiotherapy (practical training, 10-credit online course in Activating Physiotherapy in Stroke Rehabilitation also available)
  • Podiatry (mainly practical training)
  • Process and Material Technology (exchange studies and practical training)

We host approximately 30 international exchange and double degree students and trainees in Savonlinna every year. These students are an essential ingredient in making our programmes truly international.

Orientation days

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences arranges an orientation programme for its international exchange students. During this programme, exchange students get information, for instance, about their study possibilities and campus facilities, meet university staff members, visit Olavinlinna Castle, etc. You also get to know the tutors, the students who will help you settle down in the town and feel at home.

The orientation programme is organised depending on the arrival of the incoming exchange students. Exact information will be given closer to the beginning of your exchange period.

The students will be introduced, for instance, to:

  • South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
  • International coordinator, departmental coordinator, teaching staff and tutors
  • Student and library services
  • Student registration and computer system, and student e-mails
  • Health care services
  • Living in a multicultural environment


In Savonlinna, student housing is arranged by the student housing organisation SAO (Savonlinnan Opiskelija-asunnot Oy).

The student housing situation in Savonlinna is good. The international coordinator will book a room for you through SAO before your arrival. Before signing the lease for the student apartment you are required to pay a deposit of 110 EUR, which SAO will return to you when you move out, provided that you have paid all rent dues and kept your flat clean and in good condition. You will be given the keys to the student apartment by your tutor student upon your arrival.

You will be living in an ordinary student house with Finnish and foreign students. In most student halls of residence, each student has a room of his/her own but shares the kitchen and bathroom with 1 – 2 other students. The student halls of residence usually have well-equipped common rooms (sauna, laundry room, club premises, etc.). However, there are no catering services at the student houses. Most student houses are centrally located (10-15 min. by foot from the university campus).



The rents for a single room vary (appr. 350 EUR) depending on the location of the apartment and on the size of the room. You can also share the same room with another student (about 220 EUR per student). The rent is paid once a month in advance. You can pay the rent with forms you get from SAO for each month or through the Internet if you have your own Finnish account. It is important to use the correct reference number of the month! The due date for the rent is always the 5th of each month. You can also pay the rent to SAO office in cash (but then you should have the exact sum of money with you). The rent includes water, heating, electricity, furniture, bed clothes (duvet, pillow, sheets), basic kitchenware and the use of sauna and washing machine.


Getting to Savonlinna

The distance from Helsinki to Savonlinna by road is 335 km. From Helsinki airport you can either fly direct to Savonlinna airport or take a train or coach from the airport or centre of Helsinki. The airport buses shuttle between Helsinki-Vantaa airport and Helsinki main railway station. There are also some buses that leave for Savonlinna directly from the airport.

By Plane
The flying time from Helsinki airport to Savonlinna airport is about 55 minutes. It is possible to book the flight from Helsinki to Savonlinna directly from your home country. The discount for persons not older than 25 years is 50 % off the normal prices. For flight connections from Helsinki to Savonlinna, please, see the websites of AirlinkFinavia and Finnair. Please, note that the citizens of non-EU-countries have to pick up their luggage at Helsinki airport and take them through the customs because there is no customs in Savonlinna.

Savonlinna Airport (Savonlinnan lentoasema)
Lentoasemantie 50
57310 Savonlinna, Finland
Tel.: +358 (0)15 411 8179





By Train
An express train journey from Helsinki to Savonlinna takes about 5 hours (change trains at Parikkala). Please, note that there are two train stations in Savonlinna: Pääskylahti station and Kauppatori station (the end stop in the centre of Savonlinna). If someone is coming to pick you up from the station, please, inform at which train station you will get off.For timetables and fares, please, see the website of the Finnish railways.

By Coach
There are several coach connections from Helsinki to Savonlinna every day. Depending on the route, the coach travel takes from five to eight hours. For coach timetables; please, see the the websites of Matkahuolto Travel Services and Onnibus company.

Arrival information

One of the most important services for international students is a tutor student system. All exchange students get their own tutor student who helps them with practical matters (getting oriented with the town and campus, shopping, rental agreement, etc.). The tutor student will contact the exchange student already before his/her arrival at Savonlinna and will meet the exchange student at the airport/bus station/train station.

Fill in the arrival form

Free time activities

Savonlinna is an ideal place for enjoying peace and the beauty of nature but it also offers various opportunities for spending active leisure time. The swimming hall of Savonlinna is located just behind the Savonlinna campus of Xamk. In addition to swimming, there are also possibilities for going in for other sports at the swimming hall, e.g. hydrobic, fitness training and tennis. The swimming hall is usually open daily but as the opening hours vary depending on the time of the year, please, check the opening hours separately. By showing the registration certificate you will get a student discount.

The Savonlinna bowling hall is located in the building of the Hotel Pietari Kylliäinen on the main street Olavinkatu. The bowling hall is a five-lane hall with the possibility of glow bowling. You can also rent bowling shoes there. The price for one lane is about 10 EUR / hour. Prices vary depending on the day and time. Fysio for Fitness and Ladyline offer good facilities for fitness training.

The Tanhuvaara Sports Institute is situated approximately 15 km from Savonlinna. It is a centre for sports, recreation and physical training. A frequent bus service will take you there if you want to play tennis, squash, badminton (book beforehand), ski (cross-country), swim or do any other sports. They also have swimming pool, saunas, jacuzzi, gym, indoors track, etc., in Tanhuvaara.

Besides possibilities for sports, Savonlinna has two cinemas and different types of restaurants for spending pleasant free time. You can read more at VisitSavonlinna.



Kuva: Aki Loponen, Loma Graphics 2015 MAMK Mikkeli

Student Union

The student union Kaakko is a service provider and lobbying organisation for students at Xamk. Kaakko's role is to ensure that students' voices are heard in every decision-making organ of Xamk. Together with Xamk, Kaakko arranges various leisure time activities. Kaakko is also responsible for coordinating the tutor activities and it arranges a few big parties for all students during the academic year. All exchange students are welcome to join our student union and benefit from being a student of Xamk.

Get to know Kaakko

Contact information

Contact information for incoming exchange students to Savonlinna:

Ms Lea Reponen
Savonniemenkatu 6
57100 Savonlinna
+358 50 312 5072