Cycling around Lake Saimaa with E-bikes


Lake Saimaa is the largest lake in Finland and 4th largest lake in Europe. Lake Saimaa was listed in top 5 most beautiful lakes in the world by Wall Street Journal in 2014. No wonder. This area offers its visitors charming villages, pristine scenery, and nature at its purest. Top this all off with friendly and helpful Finns living scarcely around the Lakeland area makes this the perfect place if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing cycling tour. This cycling tour you offer lodging mostly in small charming family run hotels with personal touch in service.


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Photo credit: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland


Day 1: Lappeenranta – Savitaipale (42 km)

You can collect your bikes end equipment from Lappeenranta Sandcastle. Before departing you might want to try the local street food Vety or Atomi on the harbor. The first day will lead you away from the city of Lappeenranta. You will be cycling along asphalt roads. The route has some uphill’s and downhill’s, but nothing that will give you problems with the E-bike. During the first kilometres you will be cycling along narrow road with Lake Saimaa on both sides of the road. Great places for taking first fabulous photos from this this tour. After roughly 10 km you will Arrive to small town Taipalsaari. The last part of the days cycling will be done on top of the second salpausselkä  bar ridge formation that was created during the end of last ice age. Today the bar ridge is covered with forest so you don’t even notice the formation unless u know what you are looking for.

Day 2 Savitaipale – Ristiina (65 km)

Second day is mainly small country road, mostly gravel road. You will see the real Finnish country side with possibility to see some farm animal on the pasture. After the first 10 km you will arrive to Kärnäkoski fortress area. The fortress was built in 1791 and 1793 by the Russian to defend against Swedish forces. Before the fortress was build there were some border skirmishes in this area between Russian and Swedes armies. During summer you might encounter friendly sheep’s inside the fortress.  Also next to the fortress is an old flourmill. The area is picturesque and you can really get the feeling of times gone by. 

About 16 km from the start you will find free to use open fire place and lean in shelter. You wish to have early snack you can buy some Finnish style sausages from local market before you depart from Savitaipale and grill the here. Just remember to bring matches.

Day 3 Ristiina – Anttola (32 km)

Third day has the shortest distance of your journey. That is a good thing, because your next lodging destination has plenty of options to do during the day. But before you arrive to your lodging we recommend you visit a local winery. Ollinmäki winery has a fully functional winery. They have a wine cellar, souvenir and wine shop and a restaurant in an old palatial stone barn.

 

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Photo credit: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland

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Photo credit: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland


Day 4 Anttola  - Puumala (41 km)

Your next destination in Puumala, one of the most popular cabin destinations in Finland. And no wonder why. You are at the heart of Lake Saimaa. But before arriving to the next lodging destination you will cycle past Pistohiekka beach. This is legendary and beautiful sand beach that you should definitely visit, and maybe take a dip in Laka Saimaa. To get the best possible view of the lake you should defiantly go to the bridge tower cafe  and enjoy a cup of coffee. The views from the top are something to remember. From the Puumala harbor you can book a cruise to the Lake. If your cycling tour is in the spring time you can book a Saimaa ringed seal watching  cruise. The Saimaa ringed seal is one of the most endangered species in Finland. There is roughly 400 of them remaining, and with luck you can see one of them from a distance during a cruise. 

Day 5 Puumala – Äitsaari (68 km)

Day 5 has the longest bike journey of your trip. The road is asphalted. At the last part of the days cycle we recommend a visit to Café Kaiku that is located at beautiful Ruokolahti Church Hill, nearby the lake Saimaa, Café is at the main building of the outdoor museum area where you can see the old style Finnish house and the yard area. 

Day 6 Äitsaari – Joutseno (47 km)

River Vuoksi, Lake Saimaa outlet is an impressive sight. This outlet broke through the first salpausselkä bar ridge 5,700 years ago as a result of the Greater Saimaa flood. River Vuoksi flows to Lake Ladoga in Russia. Your route will lead to Kruununpuisto park where you can amaze how the last ice age affected this region . Kruunupuisto park was established in 1842, by Tsar Nicholas I as the first nature reserve in Finland. This area is one of the oldest tourist destination in Finland, and when you visit here you know why.

Day 7 Joutseno – Lappeenranta (29 km)

From Joutseno your journey leads to Saimaa Canal that is a transportation canal that connects Lake Saimaa with the Gulf of Finland near Vyborg, Russia. The canal was initially built from 1845 to 1856. In the 60’s the canal was widened. When visiting this site you should definitely visit the trail that goes around the canal area. After you have reached the end of your Lake Saimaa round trip we highly recommend that you reward yourself again with a local street food classics. Vety or Atomi. 


Details about this cycling tour

  • Length of the trip: 7days/6nights
  • Price: 920€ / person includng local VAT
  • Guiding: Self guided
  • Travel Period: 1.5-31.8
  • Minimum of: 2 persons
  • Route: Lappeenranta, Savitaipale, Ristiina, Anttola, Puumala, Ruokolahti, Imatra, Joutseno, Lappeenranta
  • Highlights: Lake Saimaa views in Puumala bridge and along the way.  Finnish country side with possibility to see farm animals like cows and sheep. Lake Saimaa Geopark locations, for example the 200 year old fortification in Savitaipale. One of the oldest tourist destination in Finland, Kruunupuisto park. To enjoy Finnish sauna and swim in Lake Saimaa.
  • Total length: 324 km
  • Route profile: Some hills, asphalt road, gravel road, mainly small and medium. 55 km main road with higher traffic. 
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Our E-bikes: Whyte Cliffton with Shimano steps E6000, or similar.
  • Price includes: 6 nights in hotels and B&B, including breakfast, eBikes, 2 luggage bags, helmet, GPS navigation with a planned route.

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Photo credit: Savitaipaleen kunta, Hanne Kosonen

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Photo credit: Savitaipaleen kunta, Hanne Kosonen

FAQ

How do I book this tour?

  • Option 1 Use the online booking option at the top of this page. After you have made the booking, we will reserve the lodging for you and within 24 hours confirm the booking.
  • Option 2 Call us at +358 405 880 738 or email us at teemu@saimaanaturally.com

What if my bike breaks down?

  • Option 1 We send a bicycle  mechanic to your location, this might take couple of hours. If its unrepeatable we replace the bike
  • Option 2 If it's lake or it takes unreasonable long for the mechanic to arrive we will arrange a transport to your next lodging destination. 

What is not included in price?

  • Train / airplane tickets to start and/or end point, unless otherwise stated
  • Insurance, we highly recommend taking a personal travel insurance
  • Guiding service
  • Meals (breakfast in included)

Is this a good option for a whole family?

  • Not the best option if you have small children.

Can you specify "high traffic" roads?

  • These are main roads between bigger cities. There is one lane to each directions, speed limit for cars is 80 or 100 km/h. There will be big lorries. We try to avoid these roads as best as we can when planning the routes.

What kind of accommodation is used?

  • We use mainly small bead & breakfast style lodging or medium size hotels. Please note we cannot guarantee lodging in a specific location. Our partners include for example: