Founded in 1957, Joensuu's botanic gardens contain over 600 plant species in four separate areas: desert, tropical, sub-tropical and temperate. Highlights include a 570-sq-metre glass-paned greenhouse (with a butterfly enclosure and a resident sulphur-crested cockatoo, Juuso), a poison garden, a medicinal garden and kitchen garden as well as an apiary (its honey is sold at the gardens' shop).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Karelia attractions

1. Joensuun Taidemuseo

1.27 MILES

The impressive collection at Joensuu’s art museum spans Chinese pieces, examples of Finnish modernism and an intriguing selection of Orthodox icons.

2. Carelicum

1.38 MILES

Themed displays – on the region’s prehistory, its war-torn past, the Karelian evacuation, the importance of the sauna etc – cover both sides of Karelia's…

3. Orthodox Church of St Nicholas

1.39 MILES

Joensuu’s most intriguing church is the wooden Orthodox church, built in 1887 with icons painted in St Petersburg during the late 1880s. Services are held…

4. Taitokortteli

1.47 MILES

Dating back over a century, these charming wooden buildings are some of the few remaining in Joensuu; some have been relocated here from other parts of…

5. Town Hall

1.48 MILES

Dominating the town centre, the art deco town hall was designed by Eliel Saarinen – the architect most famous for Helsinki’s train station – and completed…

6. Joensuu Bunker Museum

2.27 MILES

Situated 8.5km northwest of the city centre, off Rd 9, this outdoor museum is part of the Suomen Salpa ('Finland's Bolt'). Built between the Winter War…

7. Valamon Luostari

29.82 MILES

Finland’s only Orthodox monastery is idyllically located on an island in Juojävi. Visitors are free to roam the site and enter the churches. The first…