Top Choice Fortress in Lappeenranta


Standing guard above the harbour, this hulking hilltop fortification was begun by the Swedes and finished by the Russians in the late 18th century. Today it contains galleries, craft workshops and fascinating museum…
Top Choice Public Art in Lappeenranta


Every summer around 30 sand artists from Finland and abroad gather to build the Hiekkalinna, a giant themed ‘sandcastle’ made from some three million kilograms of sand. Previous themes have included dinosaurs, a Wil…
Top Choice Museum in Joensuu


Themed displays – on the region’s prehistory, its war-torn past, the Karelian evacuation, the importance of the sauna etc – cover both sides of the present-day border at this excellent museum.
Museum in Ilomantsi


Karelian traditions are celebrated at this little Bardic village, 2km south of Ilomantsi. It's named for bard and kantele player Jaakko Parppei (1792–1885), whose songs inspired the Kalevala epic. Listen to the harp…
Historic Building in Hattuvaara

Taistelijan Talo

The striking wooden Taistelijan Talo was designed by Joensuu architect Erkki Helasvuo in 1988 to symbolise the meeting of East and West. On the ground floor, the restaurant (buffet €17) offers an excellent all-day K…
Museum in Vuonislahti


Between Vuonislahti and Vuonisjärvi, Paateri was the home and workshop of Eva Ryynänen (1915–2001), Finland’s most respected wood sculptor – as well as her greatest work, Paateri Wilderness Church (1991). Carved flo…
Museum in Lieksa

Pielisen Museo

Over 70 Karelian buildings and open-air exhibits at this outdoor museum are organised by century or trade (such as farming, milling, fire-fighting). A fascinating insight into the forestry industry includes a look a…
Museum in Lappeenranta

Cavalry Museum

The cavalry are honoured as Lappeenranta’s greatest heroes and the former garrison (the town’s oldest building) now houses this museum in their honour. It tells how this band of red-trousered warriors began as the f…
River in Imatra

Imatra Rapids

The 1929 construction of Imatra's hydroelectric complex (Finland’s largest) dammed the river, but the watery wonder lives on with the spectacular 20-minute Rapids Show, when the dam is opened to a rousing son et lum…
Museum in Lappeenranta

Wolkoff Home Museum

Built in 1826, this lovingly preserved Russian home was owned by the merchant Wolkoff family from 1872 to 1986, and its 10 rooms have been maintained as they were in the late 1800s. The house is visitable only by 40…