In Imatra the landscape is dominated by the River Vuoksi and the cultural heritage and nature landscape that surrounds it. The biking routes on the banks of Vuoksi are said to be the most beautiful in Finland – and with out a doubt for a good reason! On the route you can find dazzling landscape and culture, and also a lot of delightful experiences.
This route runs in the breath taking surroundings around the River Vuoksi, getting to know the attractions at the same time. It is possible to visit the Mellonlahti Bay and catch a glimpse of its beautiful surroundings or you can visit the Church of the Three Crosses. You can rent your bike from Imatra Spa or Vuoksi Fishing Park. So why wait, hop on and get on the road!
Vuoksi route from Imatra Spa (20 km)
From Imatra Spa the easiest way to get to the Vuoksi route is by Joutsenonkatu. Go over Tainionkoskentie to the shorefront. Go south following the cycle path on the banks of River Vuoksi. The route goes near Imatra City Hall and Cultural Centre that houses Imatra Art Museum and Imatra Town Museum.
Visit the Karelian Farmhouse open-air museum that represents 19th century karelian rustic style. You can also enjoy the services of the café and on preliminary bookings it is possible to enjoy traditional karelian buffet. Visit also the nearby Vuoksi Fishing Park, a travel destination that offers various services for the whole family: camping and caravan area, cottages, restaurant, sauna, fishing licences and rental services. Vuoksen Lautturit offer scenic cruises on River Vuoksi on daily bases.
Once you head on the road, continue on beautiful cycle path on the banks of River Vuoksi towards Imatrankoski rapids. On the cliff of Imatra rapids stands the spectacular jugend castle from 1903. Nowadays it works as a hotel. Valtionhotelli offers also spa services and the park next to it has stunning views over the rapids, make sure to visit the lookout spot during the Imatra rapid show. The cliffs of pavilion have carvings from years gone by; see if you can find the names of Russian Empress Catherine the Great or Brasilia’s Emperor Pedro II?
You can admire the beautiful scenery also on the nature path that starts from Valtionhotelli park. Don’t forget to visit the Imatra Veterans Home and Lotta Museum, which has memorabilia from the Winter and Continuation War, Finnish and Russian soldier’s uniforms and fives also insight to the activities of the Lotta Swärd organization.
The bridge over the Imatra rapids offers spectacular views and is certainly the best place to watch the show. It is spectacular even when empty, on the rapid’s show simply breath taking! It is also possible to glide http://gosaimaa.fi/en/activities/program-services/safaris/taikuri-ja-terasmies over the foaming rapids during the show. How exciting is that?!
Explore the nearby island that Tsar Nicholas I established as a protected area, Kruununpuisto, to protect this unique area. The best way to get to know Kruununpuisto Park is to follow the marked Historic Trail. The trail is 1, 5 km long and has parks, imperial lookout pavilions, rock carvings, potholes and Finland’s biggest hydroelectric power plant on it. You can leave your bike on the parking lot between two bridges. You can borrow booklets (in English) about the trail from Imatra Tourist Information Centre.
After crossing two bridges on Imatrankoskentie turn north and drive through the park to visit Imatrankoski Church, dating from 1954. In the park next to it there is replica of the canopy from the wall that used to go around the church of the former Jääski parish. Later the cycle path runs on the the banks of river Vuoksi. This bit offers beautiful open scenery over river Vuoksi framed by willows. At the beginning of this so called the Straight of Vuoksi there is a memorial for those who died on Imatra racing, Cottle memorial.
Later you can admire Imatra’s Orthodox Church, Saint Nichols church. Saint Nicholas is thought to be the protector of those who travel, so do visit the church on your journey and see the sacred artefacts!
Neitsytniemi Mansion was built in 1895 but the history started already in 17th century when the Queen of Sweden, Christina, gave some land to Latvian baron. He built an estate on his lands and later on the mansion was build.
Go across the River Vuoksi on Tornansillantie. There used to be rapids over there, but nowadays there is a sump of Tainionkoski power plant. Nearby is situated the paper mill of Tainionkoski. After crossing the River Vuoksi turn south towards Ritikanranta, cycle path goes through the forest and then follows the river banks again. Visit the Industrial Worker’s Housing Museum, which gives insight to the living conditions of the worker classes from the beginning of 20th century.
You can return to Imatra Spa along Joutsenonkatu.