Saimaa Archipelago Route- A GREAT CYCLING ROUTE THROUGH THE ISLANDS OF SAIMAA
Saimaa Archipelago Route takes cyclists to the amazing sceneries of Lake Saimaa. Start the route from Lappeenranta.
What if you chose a bike instead of a car and took a trip of at least two days through Saimaa's islands and changing rural landscapes? Lappeenranta, just over two hours from Helsinki, is stunning, especially in summer. The city has been described as the Monaco of South Karelia. Get on your bike from Lappeenranta to the Saimaa archipelago route, which offers a stunning scenic route for cyclists and the chance to explore unique cultural sites along the way. The route and its destinations invite you to relax in nature, while the restaurants and cafés invite you to enjoy local delicacies. Along the 160 km route, you will see the sights of Lappeenranta and Imatra, as well as three charming church villages; Taipalsaari, Ruokolahti and Joutseno. In addition, if you combine the route with the Savitaipale tour, you can see the magnificent countryside, the clear waters of Lake Kuolimojärvi in the centre of Savitaipale and the Kärnäkoski fortress, for example. There are also several Saimaa UNESCO Global Geopark sites to visit along the Saimaa Island Route.
For more information on these sites, visit the Saimaa Geopark website https://saimaageopark.fi/en/
The route between Sarviniemi and Kyläniemi is made by the cycle ferry Rasti. The route between Ruokolahti and Utula is pedalled via the stunning Äitsaari scenic road, which is also used for boat rides. Along the Äitsaari scenic road is Huuhanranta; one of the longest sandy beaches on Lake Saimaa. Huuhanranta is 1.5 kilometres long and its shallow sandy bottom makes it ideal for wading. Huuhanranta has also been called the "Saimaa Riviera". Alternatively, you can cycle across the mainland and visit the stone paths of the Salpalinja in Syyspohja. Rastinniemi, on the eastern bank of the Rastinvirta in Kyläniemi, is one of the finest hiking destinations in Saimaa. Rastinniemi is about 4 km from Kyläniemi harbour, 3 km of which is on a sandy road, but it's worth cycling to get there. There are two campfire shelters for self-sufficient hikers, and there is plenty of shoreline on both sides of the peninsula.
It's worth setting aside several days for the route, as there's plenty to see. Visit Lappeenranta on the way, where in summer you can enjoy the pleasant harbour with its cafés and restaurants. You must try the famous hydrogen here! Stop off at Lappeenranta's historic fortress, which also serves as a picnic spot for many with its views of Saimaa from the top of the hill. The fortress is crossed by a cobbled street with museums, cafés, shops and Finland's oldest Orthodox church. There is also a summer theatre in the fortress.
The Saimaa island route runs through Imatra and you can't miss Finland's oldest national landscape, the Imatra rapids also sparkle in summer with public performances accompanied by music. Finland's first nature reserve, Kruununpuisto (Crown Park), established in 1842, is located in the area of the rapids, as well as the magnificent castle hotel - Scandic Imatra State Hotel. Imatra also offers a wide range of restaurants, information on which can be found at gosaimaa.com.
Combining the route with the Savitaipale tour, you can see idyllic countryside, Partakoski and Kärnäkoski Fortress. Along the route you can stay in personalised hotels, bed and breakfasts or camp on the shores of Lake Saimaa. The section between Ruokolahti and Utula can be pedalled via Äitsaari, the largest island in South Karelia, and crossed by boat. You can also cycle across the mainland and visit the stone paths of the Salpalinja in Syyspohja.
The area's hiking trails invite you to relax in nature, and the restaurants and cafés invite you to enjoy local delicacies.
Be sure to check the ferry timetables before you plan your itinerary
The Cycle Ferry Rasti operates in summer, transporting cyclists from Sarviniemi to Puumala Lintusalo. The ferry is also accessible between Kyläniemi fishing harbour and Sarviniemi. Seats must be booked in advance. Tickets can be purchased at matkahuolto.fi, enter the names of the piers in the 'from' and 'to' fields in the travel search. Utula - Karonniemi (Äitsaari) tickets from utulanlautturi.fi
You can also find the timetables for the Rasti ferry on the website of the South Karelia Recreation Foundation ekvas.fi.
The Saimaa archipelago route takes you to the picturesque landscapes of the Lappeenranta and Imatra regions.
Start planning your trip by booking accommodation in one of our region's wonderful spas or unique accommodation facilities. Also check out the restaurants on the route in Lappeenranta and Imatra. In Ruokolahti, for example, Hotel Hirsiranta makes a break possible, while in Taipalsaari, Wanha kunnantupa accommodates overnight guests and Ullan Bistro serves authentic local Karelian food. Check out the café offerings if you need a little refreshment for your trip. In Lappeenranta and Imatra, you can also combine activities with your cycling trip, take a sailing trip on a sailing boat from Lappeenranta harbour in Imatra or go on guided tours with Saimaa Palju Events, Discover Saimaa or Tuplakasi Action, or try relaxing dry suit bobbing.
Download a map of the Saimaa Archipelago Route here : Saimaa archipelago route map
Start your journey from the picturesque landscapes of Lappeenranta and Imatra.
Choose your favorite and book a stay in a spa hotel of your choice.
Start planning your greatest cycling experience!
Take a look also to the Saimaa Cycle Tour 7.-8.7.2023
Saimaa Cycle Tour’s 300 kilometre route runs through the world's most beautiful lake landscapes. Enjoy the magical light of the midnight sun and experience the nightless night.
The Saimaa Cycle Tour is not a competition and it is open to cycling enthusiasts of all levels who want to challenge themselves for this unique cycling experience. The entire route is ridden along asphalted roads. There are multiple service points along the route, where drinks, snacks and warm meals are offered.
Need help to plan your stay?
The tourist informations centers in the area are happy to assist you with tips and recommendations to a successful stay, welcome to Lake Saimaa, Purest Finland
Lappeenranta Tourist Information serves visitors in the IsoKristiina shopping centre and is open Mon-Fri 10 am - 5 pm and Sat 10 am -4 pm
Tel. +358 (0)5 667 788
Sandcastle Information point is open: 3 June – 27 Aug 2023 Tue-Sun at 10 am–5 pm (subject to change due to weather)
Satamatie 11, Lappeenranta
In the summertime tourist information services are located at R-kioski (Parikkalantie 12, 59100 Parikkala). Telephone number +358 46 920 0977.
During winter tourist information is available at the municipal office (Harjukuja 6, 59100 Parikkala). Telephone number +358 44 7811 901.
Brochures are available at R-kioski (Parikkalantie 12, 59100 Parikkala), at the municipal office (Harjukuja 6, 59100 Parikkala) and at well-equipped tourism and travel-related companies all around Parikkala.