Bicycle Ride Top Multistage route

Saimaa Archipelago Route

Bicycle Ride · South Karelia
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  • Lappeenrannan satama
    / Lappeenrannan satama
    Photo: Joonas Talka, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaan saaristoreitti
    Photo: Joonas Talka, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Huuhanranta
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Ferry to Kyläniemi island
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Traditional milk hut
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Utula village grocery
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Ruokolahden kirkonmäki
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaan vanha kanava
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Saimaan maisemia
    Photo: Arto Apila, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
  • / Kesäinen Lappeenrannan satama
    Photo: Markus Lehteinen, Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
m 150 100 50 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 km Kyläniemen lossi Pontuksen kaivanto Rastinniemi Huuhanranta Sarviniemi Saimaan kanava
Saimaa Archipelago Route takes you to the lake sceneries. Lake Saimaa and it´s waterways river Vuoksi and Saimaa Canal are the highlights, as well the Salpausselkä marginal formations.
156.6 km
15:00 h
763 m
833 m

The Saimaa Archipelago Route is a traditional popular cycling tour in the southern Saimaa region. On the route you can explore the sights of the cities of Lappeenranta and Imatra, as well as three attractive smaller centres: Taipalsaari, Ruokolahti and Joutseno.The route offers several Saimaa Geopark destinations. Specially for geology enthusiastics cycling along the vast marginal formations of Salpausselkä, shaped by the continent. The first Salpausselkä can be seen from Imatra to Lappeenranta and the Second Salpausselkä in Kyläniemi and Utula, Ruokolahti.

There is a ferry transport on the route, which must be booked in advance. We will update the information concerning the reservation system on spring 2021.

There are different types of accommodation in cities, with reservations on the countryside for small local accommodation companies before making a trip.

Author’s recommendation

When the bikeferry is not on the run, here's a list of boat transportation service providers :

TK-Fishing +358 400 886 903 (max 5)

BlueSaimaa +358 40 735 4021 (max 10)

TaigaSaimaa +358 45 863 6024 (max 4)

Highest point
127 m
Lowest point
41 m
Best time of year

Rest Stop

Kahvila, Café Kaiku

Safety information

Surface material on the route: asphalt, gravel road. 

The route has gravel road sections between Sarviniemi and Taipalsaari. There are a total of about 7 km of gravel roads on the 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, hints and links

It is possible to take a different route from Kyläniemi and alternatively order boat transportation to the north, to Puumala’s Lintusalo, where there are tourist services. From Lintusalo, you can continue the journey towards the parish of Puumala, where the bicycle routes continue with different themes.

Boat transportation from Lintusalo’s Nestorinranta to different location

+358 (0)40 510 6208 (Nestorinranta / max 4 cyclists)

Bicycle ferry Norppa II runs daily between Lintusalosaari and Hurissalo.

+358 (0)50 308 3004 (according to schedule / max 10 cyclists)

NOTE! All transportation must be booked and confirmed no later than during the previous day.


Railway station in Imatra (also Lappeenranta is possible) (89 m)
61.068278, 28.182775
61°04'05.8"N 28°10'58.0"E
35V 563831 6770969


Back to the starting point

Turn-by-turn directions

The city centres of Lappeenranta and Imatra operate as the starting points for the route. When taking the route counter-clockwise from Lappeenranta, we first cycle over Saimaa Canal towards Joutseno and at the beginning of the journey cyclists can familiarise in the history of Saimaa Canal at the Canal Museum (Saimaa Geopark site). Necessary services can be found in Joutseno, as well as in Imatra. Finland’s oldest tourist attraction can be found in Imatra, the Imatra rapids (Saimaa Geopark site), which tourists have admired since the 1700s. Vuoksi, which guides Saimaa's waters to Laatokka, separates the city landscape. The bicycle path follows beside Vuoksi for approximately seven kilometres. There are several museums and memorials along the way.

Next, we arrive at Vuoksenniska, which is Imatra’s second town centre that has been created by industry. The Three Cross Church designed by Alvar Aalto, which is located there, is a significant attraction. Kaukopää’s factory is one of the world’s largest paper factories, which can be seen from the dam’s road leading to Salosaari.

We arrive in Salosaari from across Ukonsalmi bridge to Ruokolahti Church (Saimaa Geopark site). The church is known from Albert Edefelt’s painting Women Outside the Church at Ruokolahti. The church that was built in 1854, the old bell tower that was built in 1752 and the graveyards together with their soldiers’ graves offer a peaceful environment to have a break. At the church hill, you will also find Ruokolahti Museum and Ruokolahti House, where old Ruokolahti outbuildings have been placed in the yard area. In Rasila, you will also find shop and restaurant services, as well as a beach. There are also accommodation services to meet cyclists’ needs in Ruokolahti.

The journey continues along Puumalantie, where you have to stay strictly to the edge of the road, because the shoulder area is narrow and there is a lot traffic, such as timber lorries, that use the road. Stop by at Syyspohja’s Salpa station, where you can see completed fortresses, incomplete and fallen dugouts, water-filled foundations of dugouts and the armoured vehicle barrier line that is built of large rocks.

From Puumalantie, we turn towards Utula. Utulantie runs on the Second Salpausselkä (Saimaa Geopark site), where rough boreal forests of pine trees are typical. There, you have beautiful views to the southern side of Saimaa, as well as to the village of Utula as you approach it. In Utula, there is a shop where you can replenish your snack storage.

After leaving Utula, Huuhaanranta is approximately five kilometres away, which is one of Saimaa’s longest sand beaches. It is approximately one kilometre to the beach from the main road. Huuhaanranta is also a Saimaa Geopark site. You can find a lean-to shelter and campfire sites, as well as an opportunity for self-maintained camping there.

The Second Salpausselkä continues to Kyläniemi, which nowadays is an island. In the 1700s, Southern Saimaa was divided between Russia and Sweden, and to secure access, the Russians built the canals known as Suvorov’s Canals under the supervision of Russian General Aleksandr Suvorov, one of which made Kyläniemi an island. Thereafter, the canal has been made wider, and it is now crossed with a cable ferry. The cable ferry trip takes a few minutes, and during that time, you can enjoy the amazing sceneries. The sceneries are also magnificent in Kyläniemi: The ridges of the Second Salpausselkä, the rocky areas left by the Ice Age and the varying terrain of the ancient Saimaa shore are all visible along the route. At the tip of Kyläniemi there is the pleasant Rastiniemi recreational area (Saimaa Geopark site) which has a barbeque shelter. It is possible to camp there.

NOTE! Boat transportation must be booked and confirmed no later than during the previous day.

After boat transfer you land to Sarviniemi, which is yet another Saimaa Geopark site and worth having a rest there before heading towards Taipalsaari. In Taipalsaari, there are accommodation services along the way, and there are also restaurant services in the parish. In the vicinity of the church and town hall, there is the historic Röytty local history house, which has been a military deanery and tavern. During the summer, a cafe operates there.

One of the most beautiful scenic roads can be found between Taipalsaari and Lappeenranta, where there is a safe bicycle path. Kuivaketvele’s prehistoric hillfort is located on route to Lappeenranta. It is worth visiting the Fortress that was built at the request of Russian General Suvorov, which is part of the late-1700s fortress chain known as Suvorov’s fortresses. Hillfort and Fortress are Saimaa Geopark sites.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

On the Saimaa archipelago Route, you can leave, for example, the Lappeenranta Harbor or the center of Imatra.

Lappeenranta and Imatra can be reached by train or bus.

You can check train (VR) schedules here.

You can check the bus (Matkahuolto) schedules here.

Getting there

Lappeenranta Harbor, address: Satamatie 11, 53900 Lappeenranta.

Imatra center, address: Imatrankoskentie, 55610 Imatra.


There are free parking spaces in Lappeenranta Harbor, close to the Sand Castle.

There are also parking spaces in the center of Imatra, some of which are chargeable.


61.068278, 28.182775
61°04'05.8"N 28°10'58.0"E
35V 563831 6770969
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


It would be advisable to include EA equipment, rainwear, spare clothing, and enough snacks and drinks.

Similar routes nearby

  • Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 1: Lappeenranta–Joutseno
  • The Lappeenranta City Cycling Tour
  • Wetland and Limestone Cycling Tour, Lappeenranta
  • Taipalsaari Scenic Cycling Route
  • Saimaa Canal Lock Cycling Route, Lappeenranta
  • Local Food Tasting Cycling Route from Lappeenranta
  • Western Saimaa's Fortress Cycling Tour
 These suggestions were created automatically.
156.6 km
15:00 h
763 m
833 m
Scenic Geological highlights Loop


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Maps and trails
  • 7 Stages
Bicycle Ride · Lappeenranta
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 1: Lappeenranta–Joutseno
Top moderate Stage 1
24.8 km
2:30 h
92 m
96 m

Set off from Lappeenranta Harbour and pedal along the lake shores to Joutseno. Along the route, you will see Saimaa Canal and glimpses of the blue ...

Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
Bicycle Ride · South Karelia
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 2: Joutseno–Imatra
Top moderate Stage 2
21.2 km
2:30 h
44 m
65 m

You can enjoy a peaceful flow of cycling along the rural roads between Joutseno and Imatra. On this leg, the services and sights are located at the ...

Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
Bicycle Ride · South Karelia
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 3: Imatra–Ruokolahti
Top moderate Stage 3
20 km
5:00 h
102 m
68 m

From Imatrankoski, cycle along the riverbank to Ruokolahti Church Hill. On your way, you will see the industrial district of Vuoksenniska and the ...

from Mari Matikainen,   Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
Bicycle Ride · Ruokolahti
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 4: Ruokolahti–Utula
Top moderate Stage 4
29.3 km
3:00 h
94 m
92 m

On your way from Ruokolahti Church Hill to the village of Utula, you can explore Salpa Line (Salpalinja) and the Second Salpausselkä.

Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
Bicycle Ride · South Karelia
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 5: Utula–Kyläniemi Fishing Harbour
Top moderate Stage 5
20.6 km
5:30 h
104 m
144 m

When cycling from Utula to the tip of Kyläniemi, you can enjoy the gorgeous Second Salpausselkä scenery. There is a cable ferry to Kyläniemi, which ...

Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
Bicycle Ride · Taipalsaari
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 6: Kyläniemi Fishing Harbour–Taipalsaari
Top moderate Stage 6
28.3 km
2:30 h
80 m
51 m

You can cross Rastinvirta between Kyläniemi and Sarviniemi by taking a bicycle ferry. Also enjoy the pleasant Saimaa atmosphere on land, in the ...

Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
Bicycle Ride · South Karelia
Saimaa Archipelago Route, Leg 7: Taipalsaari–Lappeenranta
Top moderate Stage 7
13.9 km
2:00 h
63 m
61 m

If you appreciate lake scenery, this leg is suitable for you! One of Finland’s most charming bicycle routes runs from Taipalsaari to Lappeenranta ...

Etelä-Karjalan virkistysaluesäätiö
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