The seemingly endless lakes in Finland`s lake district are punctuated by several communities that come to magical life in the summer, from Imatra and Lappeenranta in the south to the town of Savonlinna with its medieval island castle. The Karelia region gives you a taste of the distinctive culture, flavored by the historical influence of the Orthodox faith and the hospitable character of the Karelian people.
Day 1 Helsinki Arrival
Pick-up your car from Helsinki Airport. Helsinki is a modern cultural city which, throughout 450 years of history, has existed in the crosscurrents of the East and West. The colourful layers of history can be seen everywhere. Remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight in Helsinki at Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti or similar.
Day 2 Helsinki - Lappeenranta 250km
Leave Helsinki in eastern direction. We recommend a stop in Porvoo, a small, idyllic town which is the second oldest in Finland. Continue driving east, past the boarder town of Vaatimaa to Lappeenranta which is the center of the South Karelia region. It is a city renowned for its natural beauty and its happy Karelian character. Spend two nights in Lappeenranta at Original Sokos Hotel Lappee or similar.
Day 3 Lappeenranta: Lake Saimaa
Day at leisure. We recommend a two hour cruise on Lake Saimaa. Also you should not miss one of Lappeenranta`s most famous attractions: the sand castle. A huge sand sculpture located close to the harbour area, which can be visited from June to August. In the evening, we recommend an excursion to the Imatrankoski Rapids close to Imatra, which have been attracting visitors for over 200 years. Today tourists can admire the daily rapids shows which are organized every evening during summer (mid-June to mid-August). 2nd overnight in Lappeenranta at Original Sokos Hotel Lappee or similar.
Day 4 Lappeenranta - Savonlinna - Joensuu 340km
Today’s drive will give you the opportunity to experience the famous lake lands. Drive along Lake Saimaa towards Imatra. From Imatra, continue in Northern direction to Savonlinna, host of the famous Opera Festival. From Savonlinna continue your drive north past Kerimäki. It is worth a stop to visit the world’s largest wooden church! From Vihtari you will continue to to Joensuu, located next to the Russian border. It is a university town and the lively capital of the North Karelia Region. Overnight in Joensuu at Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel or similar.
Day 5 Joensuu - Jyväskylä 250km
From Joensuu head into western direction, passing Varkaus on your way to Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä is especially known for its rich variety of culture, museums, art exhibitions, concerts, events and theatre performances. Jyväskylä is the hometown of the world-famous architect Alvar Aalto and houses several buildings designed by him. Overnight in Jyväskylä at Original Sokos Hotel Alexandra or similar.
Day 6 Jyväskylä - Tampere - Turku 315km
From Jyväskylä drive towards Tampere, located between two lakes, which differ in level by 18 metres. The Tammerkoski rapids linking them have been an important power source throughout history. Tampere is also the second most important urban centre in Finland after the Helsinki region. From Tampere continue to Turku, Finland’s oldest city and previous capital. The famous Moomin theme park, perfect for a day visit with the whole family, is located close to Turku in the coastal town of Naantali. Overnight in Turku at Original Sokos Hotel Wiklund or similar.
Day 7 Turku - Helsinki 165km
Drive in western direction past Salo, often considered the original hometown of Nokia telephones, towards Helsinki. On your way you pass along the King's Road, a route comprising some of the oldest roads in northern Europe, starting in Bergen by the Atlantic Ocean and ending in St Petersburg by the Gulf of Finland. Overnight in Helsinki at the Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti or similar.
Day 8 Helsinki Departure
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Your tour concludes with car drop-off at Helsinki Airport.
2024 departures: daily May - September
Please enquire for other car options - economy automatic, intermediate manual or medium automatic also available.