Bicycle Ride recommended route

Two Towns on The Border, Lappeenranta - Imatra Cycling Tour

Bicycle Ride · South Karelia – Lappeenranta & Imatra region
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  • Russian border sign
    / Russian border sign
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Country view at the border in Salo-Issakka
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Holiday Club Saimaa golf
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Horses in Leppälä
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Municipality border sign
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Water tower in Joutseno
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Legendary bar in Konnunsuo
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Cooling off on a wharf
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Stone Age residence
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Organic food shop
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Mellonlahti bay
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Air photo from Joutseno
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Theme routes for cycling in South Karelia
    Video: Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Konnunsuo lookout tower
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Bike ferry on Saimaa canal
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Old lock gate in Saimaa Canal
    Photo: Joonas Talka, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
m 100 50 100 80 60 40 20 km Imatran venesatama Soskuan sulku Konnunsuon lintutorni Pontuksen kaivanto Nuijamaan kirkko Hiljan piha Kapulalossi
The cycling route connecting Lappeenranta and Imatra represent you the Saimaa Canal, Imatrankoski rapids and rural roads at the border between Finland and Russia.
Distance 102.8 km
8:00 h
265 m
265 m

Needless to say, Lake Saimaa and border cities of Lappeenranta and Imatra offers excellent surroundings for cycling trip. The cities of Lappeenranta and Imatra are border towns where the close connections to Russia is visible both in the history of the region and also in today's life. The towns are also located on the shore of Lake Saimaa, offering many things to see and many alternative accommodations for your stay.

There are two alternative cycling routes for the cyclist between the cities: the border cycling route leads to peaceful countryside near the Russian border, along this route there is also an exciting 20 km road on the Saimaa Canal.

In the other direction, you should cycle near the Saimaa coastline, where you can admire the activities of marinas and enjoy the services or enjoy the swim in the clear water of Lake Saimaa.

Author’s recommendation

Target groups: active, adventurous and occasional cyclists

The cycling route runs along a dirt road next to the canal and in the vicinity of the border

Profile picture of Etelä-Karjalan pyöräilyn teemareittihanke 2018 / Karttatyö: FCG
Etelä-Karjalan pyöräilyn teemareittihanke 2018 / Karttatyö: FCG
Update: September 08, 2021
Highest point
112 m
Lowest point
13 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Surface material on the route: asphalt, gravel road.  There are about 30 kilometres of gravel roads along this route.

Before the excursion, it is advisable to check the weather forecast. Always wear clothes to suit the weather. It is recommended that you take first aid equipment, rainwear, a spare set of clothes, as well as enough drinks and snacks with you. 

In an emergency, dial the number 112. Report your location, what has happened and listen to the instructions.

Outdoor Safety in Finland

Road Safety for Cyclists

Tips and hints

There is a lot to see and do in the both cities, so it's recommended to spend more than one day/night in those. 


Railway station in Imatra or Lappeenranta (30 m)
61.100667, 28.764413
61°06'02.4"N 28°45'51.9"E
35V 595119 6775282


Return to the starting point

Turn-by-turn directions

When starting from Lappeenranta first stop is at the Saimaa Canal Museum in the vicinity of the centre of Lappeenranta, where cyclists can start by exploring the exhibition about the different stages of the canal. Mälkiä lock is located next to the museum, which is the highest lock on the Saimaa Canal and also the first lock when coming from Saimaa. You can also start your journey on the route from Imatra, and it is recommended that the cycle trip is split over two days, and time is put aside for exploring the sites. There are a lot of accommodation and dining services in Imatra and Lappeenranta.

When leaving from the Canal Museum, the route heads towards the Mustola lock. After this, the route continues along the service road of the canal right next to the canal. The third lock, out of a total of eight, is Soskua’s lock, which is also the final lock within Finnish borders. The old canal’s roller bridge is in Kansola, which during the old canal was rolled out of the way of vessels travelling up and down the canal, as well as a culvert passing under the canal, along which River Soskuanjoki flows below the canal. The environment of Kansola is lush and beautiful.

The exciting part starts after Kansola: the bicycle path passes along a narrow swathe between the old and new canal. In Suikki, the bicycle path ends at the intersection of the old and new canal. At the location, there is a self-service cable ferry, which cyclists can use to cross the canal with their bicycles. In Suikki it is worth visiting the Parish of Nuijamaa along the bridge that crosses the canal. Nuijamaa is one of the liveliest border stations between Finland and Russia. There you can find a restaurant and a fish shop, which sells other groceries too. A special memorial is the Ring Stone, a large erratic, which is one of Saimaa Geopark’s geological sites.

From Nuijamaa, the route continues in forest landscapes towards Konnunsuo. You will see the stunning buildings of Konnunsuo’s previous prison, and near them you can pop in the legendary Konnunsuo Bar. After this, a bird-watching tower can be found, where you can spot several different birds, if you are lucky, because Konnunsuo is a preferred resting area for migratory birds.

The journey continues to Leppälä and Kuurnanpohja. The route runs in an area, where Finland’s oldest known residential areas can be found, which date back ten thousand years. At the prehistoric residential areas of Kuurnanpohja, you can sense how close the southern frontiers of Imatra and Joutseno are to sea level. At that time, the predecessors of the Baltic Sea; Yoldia Sea and Lake Ancylus, have flowed all the way to Vesikkola and Salo-Issakka.

In Salo-Issakka, environmental art is available to everyone, as there is environmental art about the village area’s history and modern time at the side of the road. The route continues to the very limits of the border in Räikkölä and from there, via Hallikkala, to Imatra. Along the way, you will see border zone signs and border markers, as well as the Russian City of Svetogorsk together with its factory chimneys. There is a rapids site and a good picnic area in Hallikkala.

There are services, i.e. a shop and pizza restaurant in Meltola, Imatra. At Meltola, the concrete stone gate columns that exude a sense of the past can be found at the intersection of Vallinkosketie and Kiviportinkatu. They once held up a three-metre-high iron gate, which led to Londén’s Court at Vuoksi’s cliff. At the top of Mellonmäki, which is close by, the views stretch far out to the environment of Imatra and Svetogorsk in Russia.

Next, we reach the national landscapes of Imatrankoski and the centre of Imatra, where a diverse range for cyclists’ needs can be found. There are accommodation services in both the city of Imatra and a few kilometres away, at the shore of Saimaa, in the tourism area of Ukonniemi-Rauha. There you will find an option between two spa hotels, as well as various smaller accommodaton sites.

From Imatra, it is time to return to Lappeenranta by following the shoreline of Saimaa. Along the way, at Hinkanranta, you can have a swim or relax in the steams of the public sauna. After Hinkanranta, we cycle through the centre of Joutseno, and then return to the shore of Saimaa and cycle along Ilottulantie via Lauritsala to the centre of Lappeenranta.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


The starting points of the route are Imatra and Lappeenranta Travel Centers, which can be reached by train and bus.

You can check train (VR) schedules here.

You can check the bus (Matkahuolto) schedules here.

Getting there

Imatra Travel Center, address: Koskikatu 1, 55120 Imatra. 

Lappeenranta Travel Center, address: Ratakatu 23, 53100 Lappeenranta.


There are free parking spots in Imatra Travel Center.

In the area of ​​Lappeenranta Travel Center, there are paid parking spaces for longer early parking, as well as free parking spaces for temporary parking.


61.100667, 28.764413
61°06'02.4"N 28°45'51.9"E
35V 595119 6775282
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Similar routes nearby

  • Imatra-Svetogorsk – exoticness of the twin city
  • Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 3: Imatra–Ruokolahti
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  • Stage 1: Iron curtain trail, Imatra - Simpele (Rautjärvi)
  • Imatra Architecture and Attratction Cycling Tour
  • Cycling Route around River Vuoksi in Imatra
  • Four Island Cycling Route from Imatra
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102.8 km
8:00 h
265 m
265 m
Public-transport-friendly Circular route Scenic Refreshment stops available Family-friendly Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights


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