Best holidays in the Saimaa region
Welcome to Lappeenranta and Imatra regions to enjoy the summer!
Lappeenranta and Imatra with its surrounding areas is definitely the best place to spend a summer holiday - after all, here is Finland's largest lake, Lake Saimaa. Saimaa region is full of cultural activities, active and fun things to do for the whole family and all ages.
Here you can enjoy the beautiful and clean nature of Lake Saimaa, experience diverse hiking and cycling routes, relax in unique destinations and enjoy local specialities.
Welcome to Saimaa region for a memorable summer holiday.
Lappeenranta offers charming nature sites and unforgettable experiences all year round. Lappeenranta's harbour area is the heart of the city. It starts at Rantapuisto Park and continues all the way to Finland's largest Sandcastle and Myllysaari area. The harbour is flanked by the Rantaraiti, a path in the shade of linden trees, which offers a magnificent view of the ramparts of the fortress. In summer, Lappeenranta's harbour market is filled with events, live music and joyful conversation. Activities for the whole family are offered by the Sandcastle at the head of the harbour, where you can also find the city's equipment rental services for fun activities. Lappeenranta's enchanting fortress and its historical museums, charming boutiques, cosy cafés and magnificent summer theatre invite you to enjoy modern Karelian life.
Located in the heart of some of Karelia's best scenic landscapes, Imatra attracts attention with a variety of events and attractions. In the middle of it all, Finland's oldest tourist attraction, Imatrankoski, flows through the city and creates a rugged canyon in the middle of the town. More than 6,000 years old, the rapids have been one of Europe's most important attractions since the 1700s, and the wild waters have not lost their appeal over time. On the banks of Imatrankoski is one of the most beautiful buildings in Finland - the almost 120-year-old art nouveau castle, Scandic Imatra Valtionhotelli. The first nature park in Finland, the Kruununpuisto (Crown Park), hums around the Imatrankoski rapids. Founded in 1842, Imatra's Kruununpuisto hides man-sized pine and broadleaf woods and historical stories.
The restaurants in Lappeenranta and Imatra have always been good places to eat. In the restaurants of Saimaa region you will find both traditional and modern cuisine. Whether you want to dine casually with the family or enjoy a more festive evening, restaurants in the Saimaa region have something to suit every occasion. Want to try something local? At Säräpirtti Kippurasarvi you can taste the local speciality Lemi särää, which has been produced in the South Karelia region for a thousand years.
Saimaa is also home to some of the best cafés and roastery in Finland. Satamatie 6, voted Finland's best café in 2018 and 2020, is located in Lappeenranta, at the tip of the fortress hill in the harbour area. Lappeenranta's atmospheric summer evenings are best spent in the harbour's ship-restaurants and even on the roof terrace, where you can enjoy good food and company as well as the summer's music and cultural offerings. A visit to Lappeenranta is also incomplete without the local delicacies - Vety and Atomi ("hydrogen" and "atomic") meat pies, found in the markets of Lappeenranta.
Just a fifteen-minute drive from Lappeenranta lies the scenic Taipalsaari, which attracts outdoor enthusiasts with its great hiking trails and campsites to enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes of Lake Saimaa. The Saimaa Archipelago Route, starting from Taipalsaari, takes cyclists to the stunning landscapes of the Saimaa archipelago.
In Savitaipalee you will find great nature trails for outdoor activities and historical sites. The unique landscapes of Lake Saimaa can be explored by cycling or canoeing, for example, and you can start your exploration in the courtyard of the Olkkola Manor House, where you can find experiences and services in the middle of beautiful nature.
Ruokolahti Church Hill is located right on the shores of Lake Saimaa, just a 20-minute drive from the Imatra city centre. The wooden cruciform church was completed in 1854, and the belfry dates back to 1752. The church and its tower are listed by the National Board of Antiquities as nationally significant cultural heritage sites. Ruokolahti is also home to Huuhanranta beach, the "Riviera of Lake Saimaa", one of the longest sandy beaches on Lake Saimaa.
Rautjärvi, in the northern part of South Karelia, offers a wonderful nature experience in peaceful and safe surroundings. The highest point in the province, Haukkavuori hill, offers stunning scenery and nature trails, as well as history: an old stone-carved border marker is visible here. Along the famous Hiitolanjoki River, there are nature and landscape trails around three historic hydroelectric power stations.
The Luumäki Independence Trail introduces sites and tells stories about both local and Finnish history. One of the most significant sites in the municipality is Kotkaniemi, the home of President P.E. and Mrs Ellen Svinhufvud. At Hotel Salpa you can stay on the shores of Lake Saimaa and enjoy a summer night with its scenery.
Summer on the shores of Lake Saimaa is full of fun and unforgettable moments. During your summer holiday, enjoy the beautiful beaches and refreshing waters by boating, SUP-boarding, kayaking or just lying on the beach. The nature and archipelago of Saimaa offer attractive conditions for spending the summer camping, kayaking and cycling. Lappeenranta's guaranteed weekly programme offers individual tourists and locals alike easily accessible experiences. Tuplakasi Action offers a wide range of services for a fun day out - choose from karting, kayaking, precision sports and skydiving.
What would a summer on Lake Saimaa be without a cruise! On cruises departing from Lappeenranta and Imatra you can admire the unique views of Lake Saimaa, visit the unique Ilkonsaari, relax in good company and spend memorable moments. Step on board - Saimaa, with its hundreds of islands, invites you on a cruise.
In the spa, both body and mind are relaxed. Spend a relaxing summer holiday enjoying the warmth of the pools in the exciting spa hotels in Lappeenranta and Imatra. Holiday Club Saimaa's captivating spa in Lappeenranta Rauha plays with a theme set in the world of amusement parks and circuses. In addition to water slides, the spa features a separate play pool for independent water games, an attractive diving pool with docks and a sensory-inspiring central piazza with fountains and colourful lights. The Taikametsä Spa, based on the nature and underwater world of Lake Saimaa, is the heart of Imatra Spa, where all the senses can enjoy. Sounds, colours, lights, effects and natural forces will make your visit unforgettable.
Discover unique accommodation on Lake Saimaa. Imatra and Lappeenranta offer accommodation in the Saimaa region for all tastes: welcome to stay in a hotel, cottage, family rooms, farm or even a cabin in a forest Hotels in the Saimaa region, such as the hearty Original Sokos Hotel Lappee, the stylish and sustainable Scandic Patria, the cosy Hotel Rakuuna and the charming Salpalinja Hovi, offer everything you could ask for in a hotel.
A cottage for rent in Saimaa region is always an excellent choice. There are plenty of cottage options available: you can choose from an elegantly furnished luxury cottage or a cosy, simple beach cottage in the middle of nature, or anything in between. The campsites in our region will delight you with stunning lake views, friendly service and a relaxed attitude.
Although there are more active things to do on holiday than hang around in shopping centres, the shopping opportunities in the Lappeenranta and Imatra region offer a nice break between activities. At the same time, it's nice to take your time to find something nice to take home - in the shopping centres IsoKristiina and Galleria you'll find the best souvenirs from Saimaa region.