The Astuvansalmi rock paintings

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings, Ristiina: Hours, Address, The Astuvansalmi rock paintings Reviews: 4.5/5

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings
4.5
Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks
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00:00 - 23:59
Monday
00:00 - 23:59
Tuesday
00:00 - 23:59
Wednesday
00:00 - 23:59
Thursday
00:00 - 23:59
Friday
00:00 - 23:59
Saturday
00:00 - 23:59
Sunday
00:00 - 23:59
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4.5
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SSS
5 contributions
Solo
For travelers sans auto. There is a 'Hop-on-Hop-off’ bus/boat that is active in the summer months. Search for 'hop-on-hop-off-ristiina' and check the schedule.

There are daily buses between Mikkeli and Ristina which take around 20 min. Search 'matkahuolto' for schedules and tickets.

I traveled there on the June midsummer weekend, when none of the boats were operating due to the holiday. The bus stop is along the highway and I walked about a kilometer through town on the 4323 to where it veers off inland. The junction is marked by Ravintola Saimaa. From there it was not difficult to hitch a ride along the 4323 to Kalliomaalaukset.

The entry point is marked by a sign and the small trail veers off from the left of the carpark. The trail is 2.5km to the rock site by the river. It is not difficult, but not super easy. It is narrow with occasional obstacles, like fallen trees and mud. If you lose it there are several rock markers. It is the same trail in and out and it winds past a sublime lake, with water that I was told was good to drink.

The area is stunning this time of year when days are long and flowers are in bloom. Billberries and wild strawberries are not difficult to find and the mosquitos were not the worst.

It was not so hard to hitch a ride back from the car park to Ristiina and from there it’s possible to get a bus or hitch back to Mikkeli.
Written 29 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eero I
Helsinki, Finland158 contributions
We were with a group in the Anttolanhovi Resort and decided to finalize the stay with a trip by boat to the see rock paintings. The boat can be booked from the reception, "Saimaan saaristo- ja veneilypalvelut Oy" offers a boat with max 12 passengers. They do regular trips during the season but can be hired by a group whenever wanted.

The boat trip to the site takes some 1 1/4 hours. The route is fantastic with several very narrow passages alternating with open lake, there are rocky islands and numerous summer cottages mostly well hidden from sight. The captain has a remote-control gadget which allows him to converse with passengers and show them the interesting points while also steering the craft. Clever!

The rock painting is on a high rock face, the sloping side has protected the pictures from weather. There are about twenty elks, same amount of human figures ,several boats and hand prints. One of these is very clear even in direct sunlight, which tends to make the red paintings harder to discern. One woman figure holds clearly a bow.
Most figures are 8-10 meters over the present lake level, the Saimaa water level was that much higher when the paintings were made 4000 - 5000 years ago.

The side of the rock face, seen from the lake, resembles a man's face in profile, looking right. This may have prompted the stone age painters to choose this site as their cult center.

The boat trip takes 3-4 hours and is highly recommended, the hiking trail is fine as well but you have to look at the figures from below and do not see the impressive form of the rock face as it looks from the lake. The boat captain (Harri Kerkelä) has a binder with information about the site and is an excellent guide to the attraction!
Written 2 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jari7100
Espoo, Finland80 contributions
Family
You can combine 2.5 km hike and 5000 years old rock paintings for the same visit. First you need to get to the marked trail, which starts about 20 km from Ristiina. The path is not suitable for disabled or elderly people. It takes almost two hours for return hike. Alternative would be by boat as the location is by lake Saimaa. Nevertheless it is rewarding to see the wall painted with multiple animals, hunters and boats still in good shape after all these years. You may dip into the water for refreshing swim, but remember to take your water bottle with you as the hike makes you thirsty. Ristiina has the closest groceries and supplies you may need.
Written 13 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

weekdaysweekends
Helsinki, Finland186 contributions
Couples
I saw the place on a map I received at a hotel in Mikkeli and we went there by car. There is a parking place from where to start the walk (Note: the path is to the left of the car park, not the wide path going uphill - it will end with a notice telling you that it does not take you to the rick paintings). The path is quite narrow and, while there aren't other paths to anywhere, it may become difficult to find it if covered in snow as someone else mentioned. We were there in May, so it was straightforward to follow. The walk takes about 30-40 minutes, the path goes by a beautiful lake and shores, so we weren't very fast.

The rock painting is by the lake - where a big rock stands from the water. According to the explanation, the water level was much higher (and hence the paintings are high up) and the rock looked like a profile of a human face. We wished if we could have a boat to see it from the lake.

Still, the paintings are clearly visible, and considering that most of rock paintings are inside caves, this is extraordinary. I particularly liked the hand print - while other paintings are humans (shamans), animal head, boats etc in smaller scales, the hand print was life size and made me wonder what the ancient painter wanted to communicate by stamping his hand against the rock face.
Written 27 May 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

antilsa
Helsinki, Finland233 contributions
Family
A must-see, if you're interested in Neolithic rock paintings. Hiking route begins at the parking place by the road 4323, followed by a 2.5 km hike through lakeside vistas, forest and granite.

The place is well worth the visit. Sloping face of the cliff is full of paintings from the Stone Age. Red ochre has been preserved because the curving stone gives shelter and silicon dioxide has condensed over the paintings depicting deer, moose, shaman, hand(!) and a man on a boat, for example. From the water the cliff looks like a giant human face. I guess this is the reason why this place was held in such a high esteem.

Easy access from Mikkeli with a car.
Written 7 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Harri V
Kotka, Finland9 contributions
Couples
We tried to visit the Astuvansalmi rock paintings last winter. It was impossible to follow the trail due to snow. In June we tried again and succeeded. It was absolutely worth of trying again. The one-way nature trail to the Astuvansalmi rock paintings was 2.3 kilometers long (40 minutes) according to GPS. Both the trail and the paintings were very interesting.
Written 4 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JariJK
Kouvola, Finland5,137 contributions
Family
Astuvansalmi rocks paintings (Astuvansalmen kalliomaalaukset in Finnish) are about 5,000 years old. They are situated on the shores of Lake Yövesi, Saimaa, in the village of Ristiina (which belongs to the city of Mikkeli). This is a free attraction and it is always open (but in the winter the path may be very difficult and risky to walk).

You can see these rock paintings by taking a cruise from the city of Mikkeli or from Anttolanhovi Inn in the village of Anttola, Mikkeli. You can also drive by your car quite near to these rock paintings, as we did.

The address of the parking place is Suurlahdentie 2039, Ristiina (Mikkeli). It is situated 20 kilometers from the highway 15 (through the village of Ristiina and then along the asphalt road number 4323). There are traffic signs "Astuvansalmen kalliomaalaukset" which tell you the right way from the highway 15.

You have to walk about 2.2-2.5 kilometers (one way) from the parking place to the rock paintings. It takes about 30-60 minutes. The route is quite easy to walk although it is a forest path. There are very beautiful views on the way. You see lakes, forests and cliffs. There are also some benches on which you can take a rest. If the weather is fine, normal walking shoes or running shoes are enough.

Astuvansalmi is Finland's largest single rock painting site. The painted area is almost 17 meters high and 8 meters wide. Over 60 painted individual designs have been identified. The paintings are some of the largest in the Nordic Countries.

There are 20 figures of European elk and 17 human figures (including three female figures) 20-50 centimeters in height there. There are also 11 boat designs and a hand impression which can be seen very clearly. Other paintings are not as clear.

This place is very striking!
Written 3 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mianneli
Helsinki, Finland132 contributions
Family
The Astuvansalmi rock paintings and the trail leading there make a beautiful day trip. The rock paintings are quite faint (well, they are about 5000 years old after all) and there are not very many of them. However, the place is incredible and the nature trail leading there is beautiful. Walking there takes about half an hour (one way). Go when the weather is nice and remember good walking shoes. Pick up and eat blueberries on the way and just enjoy the nature. The trail is not very well marked so when you arrive to the end of the trail turn left and you'll find the paintings. There is a fireplace so you can have a nice picnic. If you want to swim you can change your clothes in the toilet. If you arrive by boat you can stay for 2 hours which is just enough for the paintings and the trail and some swimming.
Written 3 July 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Traveller H
Molnlycke, Sweden30 contributions
Family
Great way to see Astuvansalmi paintings is to take a cruise with MS/Kuutti and SSV! We took a boat from Anttolanhovi and it took 1 hour 15 minutes to get to Astuvansalmi. On the way you could get a nice picture about the Finnish lake scenery and enjoy the sun of course. When arriving to Astuvansalmi we had possibility to go and take a walk next to the paintings and have a closer look. After an 40 min break we returned to the boat and cruised back to Anttolanhovi. On the way we had a coffee break on the way. MS/Kuutti was cosy little boat, with very friendly and experienced skipper, who had many stories to tell. And there is actually something, you can see from the boat only: the profile of the face of Astuvan ukko, which means the rock formation which looks like a mans profile. We enjoyed every moment in Astuvansalmi and can recommend it as a destination for those who like outdoor activities and nature.
Written 24 June 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Luci_Onvacation
Province of Reggio Emilia, Italy32 contributions
Friends
It's interesting to see how nature operates. This could be a way, and besides you get very beautiful views and a nice walk in the forest!
Written 7 June 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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  • Sun - Sat 00:00 - 23:59
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