An international university town, Lappeenranta has always been a point where Eastern and Western cultures meet. Located at the heart of the Saimaa tourist region in southeastern Finland, Lappeenranta is only 220 kilometres from Helsinki and 190 kilometres from St. Petersburg.
Lappeenranta offers fascinating things to see and do throughout the year: the Fortress of Lappeenranta is a sight in itself, and popular cruises on Lake Saimaa will take you right to its shores. The Myllysaari beach right next to the city centre, museums, spas, the biggest sandcastle in Finland, golf, fishing, cabins, restaurants and cafés, the Lappeenranta City Theatre and other cultural experiences are part of Lappeenranta's lively everyday life. Lappeenranta also offers excellent shopping. The breathtaking waters and natural environment of Lake Saimaa offer unforgettable sights in the summer and the winter alike. Visa-free cruises to Vyborg or St. Petersburg also depart from Lappeenranta.
Holiday Club Saimaa, the largest entertainment spa in the Nordic Countries, and its excellent auxiliary services are located in Rauha, on the shore of Lake Saimaa. Our national gemstone of Finland, spectrolite, is on display at the Ylämaa Gem Village, the Ylämaa Gem Museum and the workshops of stone blacksmiths.
Discover the harbor and old town of Lappeenranta
Lappeenranta and Imatra region offers plenty of cheerful events to enjoy especially in the summer season. Visit the old town or take a cruise on Lake Saimaa. Today the waters of Lake Saimaa, dotted by hundreds of islands, provide excellent opportunities for boating.
Surrounded by the ramparts, the Fortress area of Lappeenranta represents the original town which was founded in a medieval trading centre during the Swedish regime in 1649. Following renovation, they now house private residences, handicraft workshops and cultural and business premises. Graced with a fascinating history, magnificent scenery and a myriad of attractions, the Fortress is today a popular tourist destination.
There are numerous cruises available that take you around local routes or all the way to Vyborg. On the visa-free cruises to Vyborg, you can admire the city's sights in addition to the stunning views. The visa exemption applies to all nationalities, so combining a visit to this Russian city full of traditions to your visit to the Saimaa area is definitely a good idea.
Plan your day
There are several theme excursions as well as tailored group excursions.
Dragoons and Spa life
– On this tour you will hear about history of Finnish dragoons.
From Emperors canal to Kekkonen’s canal
– On this tour you will hear about the history of Saimaa Canal from 1800s to present day.
Riding the street train
You can also get familiar with Lappeenranta by touring the city on board a street train. There are earphones on the train allowing you to listen to information in six languages including english. The street train is in operation 11 June – 14 August, 20 – 21 and 27 -28 August
Restaurants and local delicacies in Lappeenranta
Everything good in life takes time. One of the seven wonders - Särä, the lamb stew from Lemi - also needs time to stew. The secret of Särä is hidden in the way it’s prepared in a birch-wood trough called “särä”, which gives this traditional dish its name. The basic ingredients are lamb and potatoes, and the only spice used is salt. Before Särä is ready to be served it stews slowly in a wood-heated oven for as long as 8 hours.
While waiting for the särä to be ready, the hungriest visitors can pop out to Lappeenranta to try Vety and Atomi, the favourite local snacks. The jokingly named Vety and Atomi (Hydrogen and Atom) are made at the Kesämäki bakery using a secret recipe. Filled with ham or egg, these rich pies are eaten year-round in the Lappeenranta market square, and in the harbour market square during the summer. These treats can be enjoyed with mustard, ketchup, cucumber pickle, onion and mayonnaise. The recipe was developed in the 1960s on the basis of customers' wishes.
- Säräpirtti Kippurasarvi, Café: Market square in Lappeenranta and restaurant in Lemi.
About 20 min. drive from Lappeenranta.Restaurant Säräpirtti Kippurasarvi is the only restaurant in Finland specialising in a single dish. It takes at least nine hours to prepare Särä (lamb dish). If you would like to enjoy Särä during the standard serving times, we kindly ask you to reserve your table in advance.
- Kehruuhuone, Fortress/old town of Lappeenranta
A modern karelian cafe-restaurant in a historical building where you can enjoy a lunch or brunch made from local ingredients. One can also enjoy a salty or sweet bakery with a coffee.
- Le Biff, Holiday Club Saimaa
A Jospers charcoal grill ensures juicy steaks and charcoal aromas; the delicious flavours are complemented by food from local suppliers and a comprehensive wine list. Warm à la carte restaurant with different knives to suit the steaks.
Accommodation in Lappeenranta
A good night’s sleep and good accommodation are things you should not compromise on during your holiday, as they make up an important part of the experience. There are plenty of options to choose from in the Saimaa area, depending on the type of holiday, your travel companions and personal preferences. You can stay at a spa hotel, hotel, cottage, family room or farm, or spend the night in a lean-to shelter, where the star count is as high as on the night sky.
Need help or do you have any questions? Lappeenranta tourist service will be happy to help you find your way.
Lappeenranta region tourist information office
Brahenkatu 1 (Shopping centre IsoKristiina)
+358 (0) 5 667788