Lakeland Finland is purest Finland. Lappeenranta and Imatra region is located in South Karelia that is a border province in the southeast corner of Finland, between the Saimaa lake district and Russia. The cities of Lappeenranta and Imatra are located in the heart of Lakeland Finland by Finland´s largest lake called Saimaa. The distance from the capital city of Helsinki is only 220 km, which can be covered by train or your own car. The region is connected by water – in the shape of the Saimaa Canal – to Helsinki, the sea and rest of the world. The location is special since the border of Russia is very near by, and if you wish you can of course combine your Finnish nature holiday with the cultural metropolis of St. Petersburg.
HIKING OR BIKING
The gem of the area is Saimaa, Finland’s largest and Europe’s fourth largest lake. The Salpausselkä. ridges, running through South Karelia, are ice-marginal deposits from the time of the Ice Age that offer a network of different trails for travellers.
There are several easy and more demanding routes close to the city of Lappeenranta. You can use English guidance via QR codes on some of the routes or take a break at a lean to shelter. Also nice beaches will be located on your way. Close to the city of Imatra, which lies 35 km from Lappeenranta, there are several options to choose from. Kruununpuisto Park which is the oldest natural Park in Finland is located just in the city centre of Imatra next to the old historical Jugend style Castle hotel, which serves as a hotel even nowadays. You can also go hiking near the water and explore some of the islands located in the area. If you are more interested in the historical aspect the Imatra Geo Trail is just for you: you can feel the history from the Ice Age to the present day, and admire the Salpausselkä ridge. SOme routes are also located close to the border crossing to Russia. The most stunning stretch of the European long-distance path, E10 (over 100 km in South Karelia), runs from Imatra via Ruokolahti and Rautjärvi to Parikkala. Legs of 2–10 km, ideal for day trips, can be found in Savitaipale, Joutseno, Ruokolahti and Parikkala.
Salpalinja –fortifications is also an interesting sight in the area. The 1,200 km long historical Salpa Line that was constructed at the end of the Winter War is an interesting place to visit; a guide will tell you the most interesting stories.
Learn more about hiking in Lakeland Saimaa
General instructions for behaving in nature:
• Do not disturb wild animals and plants; for example, do not beach on the birds islets.
• Do not disturb other visitors. Let other people enjoy the peace and quiet of nature too.
• Always clear away your own rubbish and do not leave other items in the terrain either.
• Take care of the structures at the destination and protect nature on your part.
• Do not make a noise when hiking or boating
• Do not play the radio in nature.
Learn more about Hikers etiquette
Would you like to cycle in Saimaa’s beautiful landscape or maybe get to know the interesting history and landscape of the Saimaa Canal that connect the region with Russia? Choose a route that interests you most and spend a lovely day biking, enjoying the beautiful landscapes and peace of nature. There are again many routes to choose from. You may start in the harbour area of Lappeenranta or experience the Vuoksi Culture Trail that follows the River Vuoksi in Imatra. There are also good tracks that area ideal for mountain biking
If you wish to bike for a longer time you can also go touring around the Lake Saimaa. A 170-km route goes around southern Saimaa and includes one or two boat rides. Another option is the 180-km Western Saimaa Tour.
Close to the border you will find EuroVelo 13, the Iron Curtain Trail, that is part of the European-wide EuroVelo network of cycle routes. In Finland, it starts at Vaalimaa and follows the Finnish- Russian border all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
Learn more about biking in Lakeland Saimaa
Don’t forget geocaching!
The Lappeenranta and Imatra region also provides great opportunities for geocaching, with more than 1,500 geocaches waiting to be discovered. Learn more
Everyman's rights in Finland
Walking in the wild and picking berries and mushrooms is allowed in Finland if no damage is caused to the environment. However, the freedom to roam is restricted near residential buildings, for example.
Everyman’s rights entitle you to
• Walk, ski, bike or ride a horse in the woods, natural meadows, on lakes and rivers
• Temporarily stay and spend the night in areas where roaming is allowed
• Pick wild berries, mushrooms and plants that are not protected
• Angle and ice fish
• Boat and swim in lakes and rivers and walk on ice
Permits needed for a fishing trip
Angling and ice fishing are generally allowed in Finland without a fishing permit, but depending on your age and the fishing grounds, you will need a permit for other forms of fishing. For more information, contact the local tourist information office or an outdoor activity company.
Learn more about hiking in general in Finland