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The City of Lappeenranta (population 73,000 in 2023) is the economic and cultural centre of Finnish South Karelia.


The city is near the border of Russia and at the southern shore of the Saimaa, the largest lake (system) of Finland. Its culture and dialects are strongly part of eastern Finland, although Wikivoyage treats it as part of Southern Finland. Also known as Villmanstrand (its Swedish name and previous English name), Lappeenranta has a colourful, 360-year history influenced by its location in the border dividing western and eastern cultures.

Get in[edit]

Travel Warning Visa restrictions:
In response to Russia's war in Ukraine, Russian tourists are banned from entering Finland.
(Information last updated Jan 2023)
Lappeenranta harbour, facing the centre.

By car[edit]

Highways 6 and 13 pass through Lappeenranta. Bus companies operate frequently from Helsinki and other cities, in normal times even from Saint Petersburg in Russia. Highway 13 extends to the Russian border, some 25 km from the city centre, where the 1 Border Station of Nuijamaa/Brusnichnoye (Нуйямаа-Брусничное) is the second busiest border crossing in Finland. Russian tourists usually use this pathway to come to the city either by bus or a car.

If you drive from Helsinki, three almost equal routes are available: you can drive along road 6, via Hamina (roads 7, 26 and 6), or via Vaalimaa (roads 7 and 387)

By train[edit]

The 2 main railway station of Lappeenranta connects the city to the rest of Finland with fairly modern trains, operated by VR. The travel time to Helsinki is 2–2½ hr. Prices start at €14.30.

At late evening you can take a train to Kouvola and then continue further to Lappeenranta by Yöksi kotiin[dead link] taxi service, price is €50. Order must be made at least 24 hours before departure.

Trains from Saint Petersburg and Moscow were suspended in 2022 due to the war on Ukraine.

By bus[edit]

The bus station is located next to the main railway station.

There are direct connections by bus from Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kouvola, Joensuu, Kotka, Mikkeli, Porvoo and Imatra. Coming via Tallinn or Stockholm, there may be coach connections from the port with arranged transfer, mostly via Kamppi. For timetables, see Matkahuolto.

There used to be foreign lines from Saint Petersburg and Vyborg, see Sovavto[dead link] and Transgold.

By plane[edit]

1 Lappeenranta Airport (LPP IATA). Ryanair flies year-round to Lappeenranta from Bergamo, Vienna and Budapest. There are also seasonal flights from Chania. Lappeenranta Airport (Q254039) on Wikidata Lappeenranta Airport on Wikipedia

The nearest international flight hubs are in Helsinki and Saint Petersburg. If you come to Helsinki airport at late evening, you can use Yöksi kotiin[dead link] taxi service which transports you from Helsinki airport to Lappeenranta, price is €87.50. Order must be made at least 24 hours before departure.

By boat[edit]

Lappeenranta is a popular destination for boaters within the Saimaa lake area. Some cruise boats operate from Lappeenranta to other destinations on the lake. Lappeenranta is connected to the Gulf of Finland through the Saimaa Canal. The canal is also popular among boaters, and private boats occasionally come from as far as southern Europe. Check Boating on the Baltic Sea for instructions on the last legs.

As of summer 2023 the Saimaa Canal is open, but commercial shipping has dropped, because of the Russian war on Ukraine and the resulting strained relations. If coming by own yacht, check whether the canal really is open, and whether there are risks involved in passing through Russian waters (are you on their sanction list? they might find an excuse to give you a hard time).

Get around[edit]

By foot[edit]

Everything in the centre is within walking distance. Even the airport is within walking range if you do not have much luggage, but taxi or local bus is probably preferable.

By bus[edit]

Getting further to the suburbs is easy by bus. City of Lappeenranta has bus schedules[dead link]. There is a graphical route planner[dead link] to find timetables. Routes and Tickets mobile app has an address based routing and also a ticket purchase option directly from the app.

You can use NFC payment with Visa, Mastercard or Eurocard (Diners Club and American Express do not work) or a mobile device with Apple Pay, Pivo or Google Pay: the payment card or mobile device is displayed to the reader device, which then says "Lähimaksu hyväksytty" ("Proximity payment accepted").

When travelling to ruralside, school buses[dead link] can be used. The ride must be booked in advance.

By bike[edit]

There is a bike sharing system using bluetooth and the Donkey Republic about €1.50/1 hr, €4/5 hr, €12/24 hr. For longer stays becoming a member is cheaper: €9 or €18/month covers all trips of less than 1 hr respectively 12 hr, also in other towns using Donkey Republic – but you need to register as member in the country of your card (available: most countries in western Europe and USA). Customer service , +358 44 716 0644 daily 09:00–21:00. Several towns in south-east Finland use the same system, which is in use also elsewhere in Finland and abroad.

Electric kick scooters[edit]

See also: Finland#By motorised scooter

You can rent electric kick scooters for use in the centre from German Tier, American Bird and Finnish Joe Scooter. Tier has also electric bicycles.

By taxi[edit]

  • Taksi Saimaa, +358 200 60 400, . Also bookable by app. Flag fall M–F 06:00–20:00: €5.90, Sa 06:00–16:00: €5.90, other times and holidays: €9.00; 1–4 persons €1.76/km, over 4 persons €2.28/km (July 2020).
  • Menevä Lappeenranta, +358 50-471-0470 (head of office), toll-free: 0800-02120 (booking). Also bookable by app or web. Fixed price based on calculated route and time if destination address given when booking by app or web. Flag fall M–Sa 06:00–18:00: €4, other times and holidays: €7; 1–4 persons €0.90/km + €0.90/min, 5–8 persons minimum €20, €1.60/km + €0.90/min (March 2021).
  • Smartphone apps: Valopilkku, 02 Taksi


The walls of the Lappeenranta fortress
  • The 1 historical fortress, the original city center which was established in mid-17th century. The old buildings include artist workshops, the 2 oldest orthodox church in Finland, completed in 1785, as well as 3 the Museum of South Carelia and 4 the Art Museum of South Carelia.
  • 5 Sandcastle. The biggest one in Scandinavia. Each summer an ever larger sandcastle is built by artists on the northern end of the harbour area. Each year they have a different theme and make sculptures on the walls of the castle accordingly. There is a small theatre inside the castle playing acts intended mainly to children and families.
  • 6 Jewellery museum (Jalokivimuseo), Kivikyläntie 19 (Kivikylä, Ylämaa, 30 km south from Lappeenranta centre), +358 400-391-590, . Daily Jun–late Aug 12:00–15:00, other times by agreement. Domestic and foreign gemstones and minerals, especially the spectrolite. Tours to the quarry of 1–2 hr, including guiding in the museum and optionally also to a local history museum or the World War II Salpa line fortifications (building of which the spectrolite deposit was found). €4/2, accompanied children under 12 free; quarry tours €40–50/person.


Saimaa Canal and Lauritsala railway bridge
  • 1 Harbour area. The harbour, the parks nearby, the fortress and Myllysaari beach are a perfect place to chill out in summertime, sitting on the terraces, drinking, eating and watching the boats and things that happen. Live music played on many summer days. Early in August there is a popular festival called "Linnoituksen yö" (Engl. The Night of the Fortress) in the harbour and fortress area.
  • In winter, the city seems to quiet down a little. The main attractions during winter are the city theatre and major league ice hockey and basketball games. Also many possibilities exist for practising winter sports. There are tens of kilometres worth of cross-country skiing tracks (a popular stage circles around the airport), and also a small downhill skiing slope. Many outdoor and indoor ice-rinks are available for skating. The city bay becomes a skating track during winter.


  • Ylamaa Gem and Mineral Show (Ylämaan jalokivimessut): 5–7 July 2024,  +358 400-391-590. A yearly fair in Kivikylä, Ylämaa. A good opportunity to make acquaintance with the local spectrolite, Finnish jewellery and related interior design in general, minerals (free identification of interesting stones and minerals you and your children found yourselves). Also a range of foreign companies are present. (date needs fixing)
  • LPRHC Fest: August. Hardcore, punk and rap festival in Lappeenranta in early August. After party and more.


Situated close to the border, Lappeenranta is one of the most popular destinations for Russian shopping travellers. The two major shopping mall chains Prisma and Citymarket are located at the outskirts of the city.


Spectrolite is an unusual variety of labradorite with a very rich range of colours, quarried in Ylämaa in the south of the municipality. The Ylämaa bedrock deposits are the first ones known, found in 1940. Spectrolite items may be available from goldsmith shops in Lappeenranta centre, but especially in the Kivikylä ("stone village") by Ylämaa centre, 30 km south of Lappeenranta centre, or at the jewellery fairs arranged there.

  • 1 Ylämaan Korukivi, Kivikyläntie 17 (Kivikylä), +358 50-534-0390, . in season, by request or when there otherwise is staff around. Locally made jewellery and other goods with spectrolite. Besides jewellery, products include interior design such as clocks, and individual stones. €35–500.

Malls and supermarkets[edit]

  • 2 Citymarket, Toikansuontie 4 (at the crossing of highway 6 and regional road 390).
  • 3 Prisma, Puhakankatu 9 (at the eastern end of the airport).
  • 4 Iso Kristiina, Brahenkatu 3–7. The largest mall in the city centre.



  • Small coffee booths at the harbour and the 1 market square (Kauppatori) offer traditional meat pies called vety (Eng. "hydrogen") and atomi (Eng. "atom"). Vety consists of a meat pie, ham, boiled egg and condiments. Atomi has either ham or egg, but not both. Also other snack food is offered by the booths. Just ask for 'vetyatomi' and you'll be understood in nearly all the grillikioskis in Finland.


  • 2 Wolkoff, Kauppakatu 26, +358 5 4150320. M-F 11:00-24:00, Sa 16:30-23:00. A nice, cozy 50-seat restaurant in a historical 150-year-old house. Non-smoking. In the summertime, seats also available on the courtyard. Main dishes €14-28..


  • 3 Lappeenrannan Kasino, Ainonkatu 10. An old, classy restaurant. Has also a separate terrace docked on the water at the harbour.



  • 1 Majurska, Kristiinankatu 1, +358 5 4530 554. Open M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 11:00-17:00, an hour longer in summer. A romantic café in the historical old Fortress. Delicious homebaked cakes and tarts. Not necessarily for small children because of limited space and fragile décor.
  • 2 Coffee House, Kauppiaskatu 29-31 (In the shopping mall Amanda), +358 5 678 6667. M-Th 08:00-22:09, F 08:00-00:00, Sa 09:00-00:00, Su 13:00-20:00. A nice, modern cafe.
  • 3 Café Galleria, Koulukatu 15 (In the Galleria shopping mall), +358 5 453 1644. M-F 07:30-17:09, Sa 09:00-15:00. A small cafe.


Most of the popular bars are located in the city centre.

  • 4 Prinsessa Armaada, +358 5 4513376. Harbour. 10:00–02:00 daily in summer (subject to weather). A popular hangout place in the summer, this restaurant is built on an old parked steamboat. Most people come here for drinks, although they also serve food. Another similar boat restaurant, S/S Suvi-Saimaa, is located next to Prinsessa Armaada. main dishes €9–17.


Some mid-range and budget hotels are present.


  • Local student housing foundation, LOAS, offers affordable accommodation during the summer months for tourists.
  • 1 Pitotalo Miekkala, Partalantie 136, +358 5 458 1882. A typical Bed and Breakfast hotel, 10 km from Lappeenranta towards Joensuu. B&B €25/person.
  • 2 Matkustajakoti Turisti-Lappee, Kauppakatu 52, +358 5 415 0800. Centrally located. The shower facilities are shared, the double rooms have private toilets but the single rooms do not. Prices include breakfast and the use of the sauna facilities. double €51, single €31.
  • 3 Camping Lappeenranta, Kuusimäenkatu 18 (2 km west of the city centre), +358 50-555-6800, . The prices include breakfast and the use of the swimming pool.
  • 4 Lahtelan maatilamatkailu, Lahtelantie 120, +358 5-4578034. Bed and Breakfast south of Ylämaa centre, 40 km south of Lappeenranta.



Stay safe[edit]

Lappeenranta is a safe city very accustomed to foreigners. Lappeenranta is the second most popular destination in Finland, mainly due to Russian shopping tourists, but also many other nationalities visit during summer months.


Go next[edit]

  • Imatra - 40 km northeast. See the rapids of Imatrankoski (free flowing at special occasions) and other attractions that the Russian czars used to visit in the 19th century.
  • Punkaharju - drive through Finland's national landscape on a road on the top of a ridge that partially divides Lake Saimaa.
  • Savonlinna - 120 km north, home to a well preserved medieval castle where an opera festival is held each summer.
  • Vyborg - in Russia. The canal cruises are unavailable as of 2023, so the way in would be by car. Due to western sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, going to and from and staying in Russia may involve extra hassle and surprises.
This city travel guide to Lappeenranta is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.