Bicycle Ride recommended route

Saimaa Canal Lock Cycling Route, Lappeenranta

Bicycle Ride · Lappeenranta
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  • Bridge over the Canal
    / Bridge over the Canal
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaa Canal memorial
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Old lock gate in Saimaa Canal
    Photo: Joonas Talka, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaa Canal
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaa Canal
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaa Canal museum
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Cyclists on canal road
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Housing street
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Theme routes for cycling in South Karelia
    Video: Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaa old Canal in Mälkiä
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
m 150 100 50 25 20 15 10 5 km Myllysaaren uimaranta Saimaan kanava Luukkaansalmen silta Raatihuone Saimaan kanava Lauritsalan kirkko Lauritsalan kirkko Lappeen kirkko Mälkiän sulku Mustolan sulku
The Saimaa Canal Lock Route that takes you around the town of Lappeenranta and to explore as well nowadays operations and multi-staged history of the Saimaa Canal.
Distance 26.9 km
3:00 h
114 m
121 m

The Saimaa Canal is an interesting sightseeing in the city of Lappeenranta. On the route you can see both part of the old channel opened in 1856 and in the existing channel currently in use. At the Saimaa Canal Museum, you can initially look at the exhibition of the various stages of the channel and the old lock of the nearby canal that has been preserved.

There are 8 locks in Saimaa canal - of which 3 locks are are in Finland and the rest in Russia. If you like, you can also visit at the point where the Canal starts and watch the scenery on Luukkaansalmi Bridge.  When you have good luck you can see ships, maybe you can follow how a ship is transferring in locks. 

Surface material on the route: asphalt

Author’s recommendation

Target groups: occasional cyclists, families

The entire route is along a surfaced road

Profile picture of Etelä-Karjalan pyöräilyn teemareittihanke 2018 / Karttatyö FCG
Etelä-Karjalan pyöräilyn teemareittihanke 2018 / Karttatyö FCG
Update: October 08, 2020
Highest point
111 m
Lowest point
61 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Surface material on the route: asphalt

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

The road to Nuijamaa along the Saimaa canal is an experience!


Railways station in Lappeenranta (84 m)
61.061766, 28.259015
61°03'42.4"N 28°15'32.5"E
35V 567959 6770320


Return to starting point

Turn-by-turn directions

From the centre, we cycle via the districts of Harapainen, Tirilä, Lapvesi and Hovinpelto to the embankment of the canal.

The canal is crossed for the first time in Mustola, where the third lock at this site is located. The original Suur-Mustola lock was built in 1856 as part of the first and oldest Saimaa Canal. In 1933, in connection with the second construction of the canal, the new Mustola lock was built, and in 1968 in connection with the third construction, the current Mustola lock was built.

From Mustola, we head along the eastern shore towards Saimaa to explore the preserved Pien-Mustola lock. At the lock, there is an old power track, along which horses used to walk while they pulled non-motorised barges to and from the lock. Next is the current canal’s highest lock Mälkiä, which in terms of fall distance, is Saimaa’s highest lock (14.2 metres).

The Saimaa Canal Museum is also located near the Mälkiä lock. The exhibition about the different phases of the Saimaa Canal is located in the stunning official residence of Saimaa Canal’s upper region’s regional leader, which was built in 1845. The museum’s historically valuable yard area together with its plantations and park walkways has been renovated, and the outbuildings showcase items related to the history of the canal. The Saimaa Canal Museum is open daily during the summer, otherwise upon request.

If you wish to see the intersection of the Saimaa Canal and Saimaa, as well as the traditional workers’ residential area of Kanavansuu, visit the opening of the Saimaa Canal before crossing the canal bridge towards the city. After the bridge, the route follows the side of the beautiful canal and Saimaa’s shore to Lauritsala, where you can go and admire the stunning lake view from Luukkaa’s bridge, which is renown from the crime series Sorjonen. In the other direction, you will experience impressive factory views to Kaukaa’s factories, where cellulose, magazine paper, sawmill products and biofuel are produced from a renewable resource.

The environment of the Kaukaa factory exudes the industrial history of Lappeenranta. In addition to the factory, some residential buildings and Kaukaa’s club house remain. The journey continues past the Central Hospital and Myllysaari’s family park to Kaupunginlahti and the port of Lappeenranta.

Finland’s largest sandcastle is built every year in the close vicinity of the port, and is open to the admiration of even slightly older visitors. Approximately three million kilos of sand are used for building the sandcastle, which can be seen throughout the summer. The theme of the sandcastle changes annually, and alongside the event, there is a variety of free and chargeable entertainment for families with children.

At the port, you can sit down at pleasant cafes and restaurant boats, as well as try local delicacies, such as Karelian pies, waffles and meat pies.  The historical Fortress of Lappeenranta, together with its many sights and services, is nearby.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


The starting point of the route is 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

The Canal Museum can be reached either by bicycle or by car. There is also a local bus connection to Mustola (7).

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

The Canal Museum, address: Sulkuvartijankatu 16, 53300 Lappeenranta.


There is free parking space at the sand park close to the Canal Museum in the Mälkiä lock on the Saimaa canal.

There are paid parking spaces for longer parking in the Lappeenranta Travel Center area, as well as free parking spaces for temporary parking.


61.061766, 28.259015
61°03'42.4"N 28°15'32.5"E
35V 567959 6770320
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Similar routes nearby

  • Taipalsaari Scenic Cycling Route
  • Wetland and Limestone Cycling Tour, Lappeenranta
  • Saimaa Archipelago Route
  • Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 1: Lappeenranta–Joutseno
  • The Lappeenranta City Cycling Tour
  • Saimaa Canal Route to Nuijamaa, Lappeenranta
  • Local Food Tasting Cycling Route from Lappeenranta
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26.9 km
3:00 h
114 m
121 m
Public-transport-friendly Circular route Scenic Refreshment stops available Family-friendly Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights


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