Lappeenranta's bus station is 1.2km south of the city centre; most intercity buses also stop on Valtakatu in the middle of town. Bus 9 (€3.20) runs between the bus station and the city centre.
Major Matkahuolto (www.matkahuolto.fi) services include the following:
Helsinki (€30, 3½ hours, eight daily)
Imatra (€9.30, 35 minutes, two daily)
Joensuu (€30, 4½ hours, two daily)
Mikkeli (€20, 1¾ hours, three daily)
Savonlinna (€25, four hours, three daily)
Onnibus (www.onnibus.com) has cheaper but less frequent services to destinations including Helsinki (€7, three hours, four daily), Imatra (€5, 30 minutes, one daily) and Joensuu (€10, three hours, one daily).
Intercity trains use Lappeenranta train station, next to the bus station, 1.2km south of town. Services include Helsinki (€28, two hours, six daily), Imatra (€5, 25 minutes, eight daily) and Joensuu (€30, 2¼ hours, four daily).
International trains to/from Russia use Vainikkala train station, 29.5km south of Lappeenranta, linked by bus (€6.50, 40 minutes, up to 10 daily) from the bus station and Valtakatu in town. Trains run to Vyborg (€47, 25 minutes, two daily) and on to St Petersburg (€75, 1½ hours).
Book through VR (Finnish Railways; www.vr.fi).
Travelling to Russia
A boat cruise along the Saimaa Canal to Vyborg, 60km southeast, in Russia, is something of a spiritual journey to reunite Karelia.
Saimaan Matkaverkko runs quick-and-easy ‘visa-free’ day cruises for all nationalities from Lappeenranta to Vyborg aboard the M/S Carelia (from €63, departs 7.45am four to six times weekly from late May to mid-September) that allow you around three hours to sightsee and shop. There's a Vyborg port fee of €8.80. It’s also possible to stay overnight in Vyborg, with prices varying by season and usually costing more on weekends. You must provide the company with a copy of your passport at least three days before departure (and passports must be valid for at least a further six months from the end date of your trip). Book well in advance, as these cruises are heavily subscribed. The company can also organise a package (from €310, single supplement €145, meals and excursions extra, departing July to August) to St Petersburg that includes the cruise to Vyborg and a bus on to St Petersburg, with two nights’ accommodation in Russia before returning to Lappeenranta.
If you want to travel independently (and you have a visa), several train and bus services pass through Lappeenranta on the way to St Petersburg and Moscow. For non-EU citizens who haven’t organised a Russian tourist visa before leaving their country of residence, independent travel is difficult to impossible. If you can endure a long wait and complex bureaucracy, you could try the Russian consulate in Lappeenranta.