The Twin Peaks of Kuopio:
Puijo and Tahko
Puijo and Tahko
The calmness of primeval forests, an open view to nature spotted with lakes, and meaningful activities for people of all ages around the year. These are the themes around which Puijo and Tahko, at the top of Kuopio’s tourism, are developed and complement each other.
Puijo and Tahko play an essential role for Kuopio in various ways. The areas are located less than one hour from each other. Puijo is Kuopio’s bestknown landmark and a popular place to visit, particularly in the summer. By contrast, Tahko is the uncontested centre of winter tourism in the area, and also one of the biggest hubs for leisure time activities in the country.
Kuopio wishes to develop the two peaks into increasingly versatile tourism destinations. The city aims to create conditions and structures that allow the entrepreneurs in the area to develop their tourism services around the year.
On nature’s terms
Both peaks are important sites when it comes to their natural features. For instance, Puijo is partly covered by nature reserves, which sets limits to investments.
– When it comes to developing Puijo, nature is always put first, which means things such as no heavy construction on the ridge summit. The wishes of Kuopio’s residents are also considered in the development work, as Puijo is loved by locals, says business adviser Unto Juutinen.
Puijo has been actively developed in recent years. The city has renovated the frame of the tower. The entrepreneurs have renovated the café, restaurant, souvenir shop, the Puijo cottage, and sauna cabinet to fit the nature theme. The souvenir shop and sauna cabinet have been fully constructed with wood harvested without clear felling.
Activities merging into the surrounding nature have also been brought to Puijo. These include husky dogsleds rides, snowtubing and one of Finland’s finest disc golf tracks. Visitors can also try virtual ski-jumping or visit the ski jump tower by the biggest ski jumping hill on request.
– We want to make Puijo a tourism area with year-round activities. We are going to develop new activities with respect to nature, and aim to extent the time tourists spend in Puijo and Kuopio, says Pekka Niemelä, the managing director of Puijo Peak Oy.
The city is also planning to construct a two-seat chairlift from the Puijo sport and recreation venue to the peak. If the chairlift system was constructed, Puijo would become more accessible, there would be less car traffic to the summit area, and the chairlift would provide an experiential way to travel from the venue to the summit. The lift would also help developing the downhill skiing slope.
The city is actively developing the Tahko area together with entrepreneurs, the local village association and other stakeholders.
The joint efforts have resulted in a local physical activity park, including playing fields, Tahko Event Park, hiking tracks winding in the wilderness, and Finland’s longest stairs with around 1,000 steps, taking you to the top of the Tahko hill. The slope area has a full disc golf track and downhill mountain biking routes. The most recent investment is an observation tower high enough that on a clear day, visitors can even see Puijo from there.
Many private investments are also currently launched in the area. The Panorama Bar is planning to build a unique, high-quality tourism centre consisting of a panoramic hotel and a forest spa which seamlessly merged into the nature. The hotel’s panoramic suites display an amazing view to lake Syväri and the centre of Tahko.
The centre of Tahko will look different in the future. The aim is to renew the centre into a hub pulsating with life, including pedestrian streets, boutiques and other services.
The area is also developed into a centre of various activities, which supports tourism around the year. Many well-known events have already found their way to Tahko. These include a full distance IRONMAN race, the Tahko MTB mountain bike event, the Tahko Ski Lift Pitch start-up event, and the Tahko Juhannus midsummer festival.
– All of these are major reasons for coming to Tahko – also outside the downhill skiing season. The city’s task is to enable the related investments, which means investing in streets, municipal technology and other basic structures, Unto Juutinen says.