The Best Travel Guide to Lappeenranta & Imatra Region
Section in Lappeenranta & Imatra Region
Sights
The blue and white waves, theatre stages, the largest sandcastle in Finland and the Rapids in Imatra entail many fun experiences, both big and small, peaceful and at full speed. You can explore Lappeenranta’s Old Town, the Fortress, and its museums around the year. The Fortress encompasses the oldest Eastern Orthodox church in Finland and small artisans’ shops. This popular tourist attraction also features a number of events each year. For centuries, visitors have come to Imatra to see the town’s famous rapids. You can admire the rapids year round, and visit the oldest nature park of Finland, Crown Park "Kruununpuisto" surrounding the rapids.

Lappeenranta fortress

Surrounded by the ramparts, this historic district represents the original town which was founded in a medieval trading centre during the Swedish regime in 1649. Most of the buildings date back to the Russian era, which lasted from 1741 to 1917. Following renovation, they now house private residences, handicraft workshops and cultural and business premises. Graced with a fascinating history, magnificent scenery and a myriad attractions, the Fortress is today a popular tourist destination. The History The city of Lappeenranta was officially founded in 1649 by Queen Christina of Sweden, but the tale of the town had begun much earlier: in the Middle Ages, the Fortress became a bustling market place. Following the Battle of Lappeenranta in 1741, Sweden had to surrender the Fortress of Lappeenranta to Russia. A monument was erected in front of the ramparts of the Fortress in memory of the thousands of soldiers who perished in the battle. The fortification work which the Swedes had begun was subsequently continued by the Russians. The oldest surviving building in the Fortress date from the Russian period in the 1770s. Among those directing the fortification works was Count Aleksander Suvorov who had been assigned to the task and sent to south-east Finland by the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great. The Fortress thus became an important link in the three-stage-fortification system designed to protect St. Petersburg. The Lappeenranta fortress today Today the Fortress area is an interesting attraction for tourists as well as local people: you can have a delicious meal in Linnoituksen Krouvi restaurant (open during summer time), enjoy your dessert at the lovely old fashioned café Majurska, visit the handicraft shops and buy some local souvenirs to take home! There are also three museums located in the Fortress: South Karelia Art museum, South Karelia museum and the Cavalry museum – and don´t forget to take a picture of the oldest Orthodox church in Finland.
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Imatrankoski Rapids

Imatrankoski rapids were formed 5000 year ago, when land rose after the Ice Age and Lake Saimaa waters tore the Salpauselkä ridge apart. Imatrankoski was a famous tourist attraction already 300 hundred years ago, and in the end of 1800 century it was considered as a one of the Europe’s most know attractions. Many famous people visited Imatrankoski that time and the tourism in Imatra is considered to have begun in 1772, when Empress Catherine II of Russia and her retinue came to admire this magnificent play of the water in the narrow waterway. Kruununpuisto Park, the oldest nature park in Finland, occupying the area around the Imatrankoski Rapids, was founded in 1842 by Tsar Nicholas I. The Kruununpuisto Park features four different sections, the Koskipuisto Park, the Patopuisto Park, the Muinaisuoma Park and the Valtionhotelli Park, and numerous sights, ranging from monuments to the largest hydroelectric power plant in Finland and a summer theatre. Rapids are nowadays blocked by a dam, but during the summer there are daily shows, when dam is opened. The show is a very popular (and free) happening gathering always hundreds of people to see magnificent nature show. Unfortunately, due to the construction works at the Imatra hydroelectric powerplant, there will be no rapid shows in 2017.
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Kruununpuisto - The Crown Park

In 1842, Tsar Nicholas I established the first nature reserve in Finland in the area surrounding the Imatrankoski Rapids. The best way to get to know the Kruununpuisto Park is to follow the marked Historic Trail. Imperial lookout pavilions, rock carvings, potholes etc. The new City Brook in Imatra Within the vicinity of the Imatrankoski Power Plant in the Kruununpuisto (Crown Park) area, a kilometre-long City Brook has been built which brings the area's history and geology to the fore. The brook divides into a scenic upper course and natural lower course, which also has trout. There is a separate map and brochure of the park, available from tourist information offices.
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Imatran Valtionhotelli

Imatra Valtionhotelli is an art nouveau style hotel, standing near by the Imatrankoski rapids, and it was built in 1903. Before in its place were two hotels, which were unfortunately perished in a fire. After the disaster, the decision was made to build the strikingly beautiful castle its now known for. The hotel was built by the command of Finland's senate and it was planned to satisfy the needs of the tourists from St. Petersburg. The hotel was designed by architect Usko Nyström in an art nouveau style, containing lots of elements from nature, as well as a unusual resemblance of a medieval castle. During the first years after the hotel was opened, it was frequently visited by the aristocracy of St. Petersburg and the members of the Finnish government. Among the most notorious visitors were Nicolai II and his family. The hotel has also served as a military hospital during the civil war of 1917. And, during the Second World War it served as a staff headquarters of the Finnish army and, later on, it functioned as headquarters of military administration. An interesting little fact during those years was that the tallest tower was flattened for the Second World War, used for spotting enemy planes coming from the East. The distinct hotel is one of the must-see places in Imatra and it is also considered to be one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture Finland. The hotel is also well known for its unparalleled customer service, and modern, yet unique rooms. The hotel also includes a Spa-hotel wing with pampering treatments and conference facilities with cutting-edge technology, serving the needs of meetings and conferences of all kind. To top it all off, the hotel's own Linnasali restaurant is considered to be one of the best restaurants in the region and is a popular place for weddings and other celebrations.
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Café Röytty

The house Röytty was first time mentioned at the end of the 17th century as a military residence. From 1700 to 1937 Röytty served as a guest house. At the beginning of the 20th century, half of the real estate was taken over by the family Rikkonen. Veikko Rikkonen (1934-2015), the last Head of the estate, sold the house to the Municipality of Taipalsaari in 1988. Local Heritage House Röytty was opened in 1996. Since 2013, local associations have been running a café here in the summer and at Christmas. Taipalsaari Artisans have their sales exhibition in the side rooms of the house, and horse-drawn vehicles are presented in the stable museum.
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Sights

Harbor of Lappeenranta

The Harbor of Lappeenranta is a whole family destination full of activities and events. Harbor is located between fortress of Lappeenranta and Myllysaari family park. Harbor is a heart of the city and there you will find the true soul of locals. During summer time there are numerous performances on the harbor stage and lots of events for the whole family. You can watch events from terrace of a ship restaurant while enjoying your drink and a delicious meal. On the market square of harbor you can always find something interesting. Fresh strawberries and crispy fried vendace can also be found on the harbor market square. In summer you will find Vety and Atomi, favorite snacks of locals from the harbor kiosks. Tasty meat pies filled with egg and ham will definitely win your heart and keep the hunger away. Every year a huge Sandcastle is built in the harbor of Lappeenranta. Tons of sand turn into magnificent sculptures and figures, bringing joy and amusement for locals and tourists. From harbor you can go on a landscape cruise around archipelago and Saimaa Canal. You can also embark on a visa-free cruise to Russia.
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Haukkavuori hill

Haukkavuori is located by lake Sarajärvi. Haukkavuori is the highest place in Ruokolahti and even in South Karelia. Measured from the Sarajärvi water surface, the Haukkavuori is 80 metres high. From Haukkavuori is gorgeous view towards Sarajärvi and the place is owned by Finland's cultural heritage association. Haukkavuori is one of the Natura-targets in South Karelia. This sight holds also a border marker (1722) of Uusikaupunki peace in the year 1721. Haukkavuori is a popular attraction among families.
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Hiitolanjoki river

Hiitolanjoki is a 53 kilometres long river. 8 kilometres of the river streams in Rautjärvi in South Karelia and 45 kilometres in Hiitola in Russia. Water of the river comes from Simpelejärvi (Simpele Lake) and water flows to Laatokka Lake in Russia. There are 12 rapids in the river. Formerly Hiitolanjoki has been a waterway, a source of fishes, a transport channel and lastly a source of power for hydroelectric plant. All four rapids on Finland's side of the border, Juvankoski, Ritakoski, Lahnanen and Kangaskoski, are dammed up to produce electricity. The river area is interesting attraction to visit, whether you are fisher, hiker or for example interested in cultural history.
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Lappee church

Lappee church is a wooden so called double cruciform church situated in the centre of the city. The church is built in the year 1794. Juhana Salonen, a church builder from Savitaipale, has built the current church. During the years the building has gone through many fixing and modification works. Aleksandra Frosterus-Såltin has painted the altarpiece, which represents the Ascension of the Christ, in 1887. The other paintings are made by artists, who have remaind unknown. The existing organ are from the year 1967. The church serves travellers as a road church. Open: 6 Jun–14 Aug, every day 10 am–6 pm. In the summer on wednesdays midday concerts at 12 am. Service on Sundays at 10 am.
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Lappeenranta church

The Lappeenranta church was inaugurated for its present use in the year 1924. This red brick church was first designed for the use of the Russian garrison. Academician Georg Kosekoff has designed the church and the building started already in the year 1913. The First World War caused the suspension of the constuction work. When Finland became independent the church became a property of the country. The church is located on the embankment of the Nikolai. Ilmari Launis has painted the altarpiece "The Christ on the Cross". The Lappeenranta church was totally renovated in the year 1965.
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