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This appealing Gulf of Finland provincial town is dominated by a medieval castle and peppered with beautiful Finnish art-nouveau buildings and romantic cobblestone streets. An important port and rail junction, Vyborg is 174km northwest of St Petersburg and just 30km from the Finnish border. It has just about enough to do to justify staying over, but is also an easy day trip from St Petersburg.

The border has jumped back and forth around Vyborg for most of its history. Peter the Great captured it from the Swedes in 1710. A century later it fell within autonomous Finland, and after the revolution Vyborg remained part of independent Finland. Since then the Finns have called it Viipuri. Stalin took Vyborg in 1939, lost it to the Finns during WWII, and on getting it back at the end of the war deported all the Finns. Today the Finns are back by the coachloads for sightseeing and carousing on the weekends.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Vyborg.