Landscape of natural wonders 
Lappeenranta and the imatra region offer an unforgettable vacation with numerous outdoor activities to enjoy in any season. Located on the southern shore of Lake SaimaaLappeenranta lies in the southeast of Finland, on the border between Europe and Russia, surrounded by beautiful nature and green woods. The city was founded in 1649 by Queen Christina of Sweden, but its history began in the middle ages when it became an important centre for trade.
Lappeenranta. Copyright © / Shutterstock
Nowadays, Lappeenranta is a lively university city and the commercial hub of south-eastern Finland, equidistant from Helsinki and St. Petersburg (215km).
Its unique natural setting means it offers different kinds of entertainment, which can be appreciated by tourists and sports-lovers alike.
During winter, the versatile ski slopes in the Saimaa area are well marked, and cross-country skiing becomes a relaxing sport suitable for all ages. Imatra Spa features a slope of ‘first snow’, completed using the snow of the previous season, which offers the opportunity to ski every November regardless of the weather. The snowmobile safaris are fascinating and allow you to experience the beautiful surroundings of South Karelia in the winter as well as the summer.
Lappeenranta. Copyright © / Shutterstock
Fishing is an extremely popular sport in Finland, which never stops, even when winter takes over. Fishing on the lake is a relaxing experience, and with a bit of luck can be gratifying as well, taking into account that the smallest lakes freeze over in late November and the larger ones in December. Floating on Lake Saimaa or on the River Vuoksi is a unique experience, which allows you to enjoy the freezing water in complete safety without getting wet, wearing warm, dry clothes, surrounded by an enchanting landscape.
Lappeenranta. Copyright © / Shutterstock
On the blue waves of Lake Saimaa, you can enjoy the silence and views of the great outdoors by sailing on a yacht or going on a cruise. Lake Saimaa’s picturesque harbour offers unforgettable experiences. In winter you can skate on the frozen lake or hire snow-shoes for a fantastic hiking experience in the snow.
Lappeenranta. Copyright © / Shutterstock
Lappeenranta has 1,000km of coastline and a beach right in the centre of the city called Myllysaari, where during summer you can play beach volleyball, swim in Lake Saimaa or experience a typical Finnish sauna. From May to September you can take a cruise on the lake from the harbour to the historic Saimaa canal or to Helsinki; the more experienced can rent a sailboat with a skipper. The port is an interesting meeting place, with entertainment, music and cosy restaurants open all year round.
Lappeenranta. Copyright © / Shutterstock
The Upper Town can only be reached by foot from the harbour; it has a combination of ancient wooden buildings dating back to the seventeenth century, and modern office blocks and shopping complexes. The historic centre is home to the ancient Orthodox Church of Finland and museums. To get to know the city’s culture, a visit to the South Karelia Museum should not be missed. It is housed in a solid grey concrete structure that was once an artillery depot built at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and offers a permanent exhibition of the history of Lappeenranta, Vyborg and Käkisalmi. The South Karelia Art Museum houses a collection of Finnish art from the 1800s until today.
Traditional products of Lappeenranta
In the narrow streets of the Upper Town you can buy beautiful fresh flowers, fresh local strawberries and seasonal vegetables, or you can enjoy a coffee accompanied by a traditional Finnish cinnamon roll.
Fresh fish from the lake
Roast mutton
Fresh strawberries
Stopping the restaurants allows you to taste local cuisine, a mix of Finnish and Russian plates, prepared with traditional produce: fresh fish from the lake (smoked, mashed or fried vendace) salmon, roast mutton, barley bread, meat pies with boiled eggs, smoked ham, fresh strawberries (in June) accompanied by apple cider, Finnish beer (Karhu,Lapin Kulta) or icy Finnish vodka (Koskenkorva) and finally sweet cakes and vodka (Carl Fazer).
Text by Lisa Maria River
Avion Tourism Magazine
Photo:, Shutterstock
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Tourism Board
Where to sleep in Lappeenranta
Lappeenranta is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Lappeenranta. Copyright © / Shutterstock
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
Hotels in the Region
Hotels near the airport
where to go in Lappeenranta
Monuments and Museums in Lappeenranta
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Kirkkotie 2
The Church of Luumäki was built during 1843 and 1845 according to C.L. Engels plans. Wooden church represents the early 19th century empire-style. Major renovation was done in 1909. The church has seats for approximately thousand people.
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Mannerheiminkatu 1
The Church was originally designed as an Orthodox military church by a Russian academic, Georg Kosekoff, and the construction of the church began in 1913. As Finland became independent in 1917, the church was given to the congregation of Lappeenranta. The church underwent some alteration work in 1923–24 to make it suitable for Lutheran use and it was consecrated in August 1924. Since then, the church has been extensively renovated, and in 2008, four smaller domes were added to it.
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Pusupuisto (Kissing Park) is the oldest park in town; many claim it is also the most beautiful. Located close to the Fortress, the park has been enlarged fairly extensively as a result of renovation work on the fortifications. The park was originally established in 1854 along the Fortress Esplanade (Kristiinankatu) and an old wooden kiosk can still be found along the esplanade. At the north end of the park there is a bandstand, classically designed in 1926 by Otto-Ivar Meurman.
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The Fortress is a unique place in South-Eastern Finland and became the 'Old Town', which has nevertheless remained inhabited and full of life. For centuries, Sweden-Finland and Russia fought against each other and the Fortress of Lappeenranta was constructed as a border fortress, forming part of the chain of fortresses between Finland and North-Western Russia. Over the centuries, was alternately held by the Swedes and Russians. Today, is a cultural heritage and forms part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations.
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Raastuvankatu 7
The oldest wooden town hall in Finland was built in 1829. Building work on the town hall was initiated by Governor A. Ramsay and Governor-General Zakrewsky’s visit to Lappeenranta in 1827. The town hall was completed in August 1829, and together with the church it is among the first public buildings in Lappeenranta. The first extension in the 1840s made the exterior of the town hall, with its clock tower; today the City Board has confirmed the rules for the use of the old town hall, which stipulate that the building is mainly to be used for social receptions and functions of the city.
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Kristiinankatu 15
The South Karelia Museum display not only the cultural history of the present-day region of South Karelia, but also the southern part of Karelia which was ceded to Russia. The permanent exhibition, “On the Border - Three Karelian Towns; Lappeenranta, Vyborg and Käkisalmi” showcases the key events in the towns’ history. Both local people and tourists are attracted to the museum by the topical and interesting themes explored in the temporary exhibition. The museum has an activity corner for children.
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Kristiinankatu 8-10
The South Karelia Art Museum has a collection of Finnish art from the 1800s to the present day. Most of the works in the collections represent the post 1960s Finnish art, particularly from the South-east of Finland. The largest single collection of older art is a collection by Viipurin Taiteenystävät (Vyborg Friends of Art). The museum regularly puts on temporary exhibitions featuring the history of art and phenomena expanding the concept of art. In addition to exhibitions, the museum also offers an outreach programme and the services of the gift shop Sulotar.
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Kristiinankatu 2
The Museum was founded in 1973 and housed in the former guardhouse of the Lappeenranta Fortress. The Cavalry Museum showcases the history of Finnish cavalry from the “Hackapelites” of the 1600s through to the present day. The exhibition focuses on the cavalry regiments that were based in Lappeenranta. The Finnish Dragoon Regiment of the autonomous Finland, the Uusimaa (Nyland) Regiment of Dragoons and the Häme (Tavastland) Regiment of Cavalry of independent Finland, all represent the town’s important cavalry tradition and history.

Excursions in Lappeenranta
The Gem Village is situated on Via Karelia (Vaalimaantie), 35 km south of Lappeenranta, and is one of the best rest stops and attractions in the area. Facilities include jewellers’ workshops, a gem museum and a restaurant. The food is delicious, enjoy a cup of coffee, shop for amazing jewellery, and visit the exotic gem museum for a cultural experience. The little ones will be ready for more travel after a break in the playground, or after searching for treasures in the museum’s gem sand box. The Village is open from 1 June to 31 August.
Myllysaari Recreation Area. Copyright © / Shutterstock
Myllysaari Recreation Area is the main beach in town on the shores of Lake Saimaa. It is located close to the city centre, to the east of Kaupunginlahti and Linnoitusniemi. Facilities at the Myllysaari Recreation Area include beach services, beach volleyball courts, green spaces, beaches safe for young children, a playground, a street basket court, bobsleigh tracks, keep-fit and climbing equipment, a shoreline café, the Myllysaari public sauna, swimming and diving tower, as well as facilities for rowing and canoeing. In the winter, there are two ice-swimming spots at Myllysaari, one at the swimming area and one at the public sauna. The latest addition to Myllysaari is Flowpark, a private adventure park. 
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Valtakatu 49
Different route can you choose by boat on the Lake Saimaa: from Lappeenranta to beautiful Lake Saimaa or via the Saimaa Canal to the Gulf of Finland. M/S Brahe takes you to a one or two day cruise from Lappeenranta to opera city Savonlinna or via the Saimaa Canal to Hamina and Helsinki. Cruise price includes buffet lunch and onboard program. You can also accommodate in the ship cabins before or after your cruise. M/S Brahe is the biggest passenger ship in the Lake Saimaa district. Onboard there are two restaurants and of course a sun deck. M/S Brahe can take 200 passengers and has cabins for 100 passengers. An ideal cruise to experience the greatest landscapes of Lake Saimaa and the archipelago of the Gulf of Finland.
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Tiuruniementie 84
The Atreenalin Adventure Park offers unforgettable experiences for visitors of all ages, five differents levels and more 60 games. The ticket prices include the rent of the harness and other safety equipment needed by every adventurer. No prior experience required, all you need is a positive attitude. In summer time the park operates every day, not on during heavy rain, lightning or storm. An adventure to enjoy in finnish nature.
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