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The ancient landscape in the Imatra region offers much to see, especially to those who are keen on discovering the past. The famous Imatrankoski Rapids are the oldest tourist attraction in Finland – and are as popular today as ever. The magnificent castle hotel Rantasipi Imatran Valtionhotelli has stood by the rapids for more thanВ 100 years. The new holiday cottages, the exciting Magic Forest Spa and the many other services and activities at the Imatran Kylpylä Spa offer rest and relaxation for the whole family. The proximity of the Russian border also makes the region an intriguing place to visit.

Imatra is situated in the southeast of Finland where it rubs shoulders with the Russian border. On the other side of the border - only 7 kilometres away from the centre of Imatra - lies the town of Svetogorsk. St. Petersburg is situated 210 km to the southeast, Finnish capital Helsinki is 230 km away and Lappeenranta, the nearest town to Imatra in Finland, is 40 km away.

The River Vuoksi runs through Imatra and has resumed its rightful place as the recreational oasis for the inhabitants of the town. The river offers excellent opportunities for fishing throughout the year: in winter it is possible to go ice fishing as well as practise open water fishing since Vuoksi never freezes completely, even in winter. Some of the most beautiful jogging and cycle tracks in Finland hug the contours of the river, and from the banks bird watchers can observe dozens of bird species. The river is also suitable for swimmers.

In the west, Imatra is bordered by Lake Saimaa, which allows people to reach the town by boat from the Gulf of Finland along the Saimaa Canal. There is also a busy marina for visitors on the beach area owned by the Imatran Kylpylä Spa in Ukonniemi.

The Imatrankoski Rapids are the most famous attraction in Imatra, and travellers have been drawn to the rapids for hundreds of years. At the turn of the century the rapids - with Imatra's famous hotel, the Valtionhotelli, standing on their banks - were the most popular tourist attraction in Finland. To celebrate the town's 50th anniversary, the rapids were permanently illuminated to allow people to admire it all year round. In summer, the rapids are allowed to run free on a daily basis.

Imatra is also a border town which shares a frontier with Russia. The former industrial settlement of Enso (now the Russian town of Svetogorsk) lies just on the other side of the border, which means that Imatra and Svetogorsk are in the unique position as the only twin towns which gaze over the border between the European Union and Russia.

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Lake Saimaa, Purest Finland Regional Council of South Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment Rural 2020 The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas
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