After a one night stop over in a suburb of Helsinki called Vantaa, we headed up to Lappeenranta, a city in South-Eastern Finland. This place is not on the usual European tourist trail but after Helsinki, it’s the most visited place in Finland by Russian tourists.
We visited here because Serena used to work as a Nanny here many years ago. We thought it would be fun to see where she used to work and how she thought it had changed since she was last there. Plus I like the idea of going somewhere most people haven’t been and will never go.
Lappeenranta isn’t a massive place but there is enough there to keep you occupied for a couple of days. It’s also home to loads of Finnish black metal bands for some reason. We did notice a few goth types wandering around looking all scary and grumpy as we walked around the town. I’m partial to a bit of Cradle of Filth myself.
As I write this I’ve just had a listen to a band from Lappeenranta called ‘Satanic Warmaster‘ not bad actually. I’m a musician myself (I play drums, bass and guitar and can also hold a tune). Whether or not you like death metal you can’t help but appreciate the speed and accuracy that these guys can play.
Anyway, back to travelling…
Where we stayed
What we saw and did
The famous seal statue of Lappeenranta perched at the top of the entrance to the town centre.
Walking on the frozen Lake Saima.
This boat ain’t going anywhere until the lake thaws out.
Looking out across the frozen lake Saima with the fortress in the background.
View of Lappeenranta from the frozen lake.
Wandering around the Lappeenranta Fortress.
Serena sunning herself and texting.
Lappeenranta is very close to the Russian border. St Petersburg is about 197 km’s by road from Lappeenranta. We noticed there were a lot of Russian workers staying in our hotel. I wish we’d have had the chance to pop over the border but there is only so much you can do in 12 days.
Some ‘proper’ snow. Not the 2 inches of fluff that we experience which brings the UK to a grinding halt.
It’s cold in that there Lappeenranta. I’m very glad I invested in that North Face jacket before we embarked on this Scandinavian adventure. It paid for itself several times over.
Where we ate
- Rosso – Italian restaurant (hands down the best pizza I have ever tasted. (Ever better than the one I had in Sicily which is quite an accolade)
- Konditoria Aleksanteri (a cafe where we had tea/coffee and cake)
- Otherwise, we bought snacks from one of the many supermarkets in Lappeenranta
What we thought of Lappeenranta
- It’s probably not somewhere you would make a beeline for unless you had a reason to go there but it’s a pleasant enough place nonetheless
- Serena enjoyed seeing where she used to work and I enjoyed being led around the city by her as she told me some of the stories about what she got up to while she was there (mostly unrepeatable)
- I found Lappeenranta to be a very laid back place, I don’t think they get many non-Russian or Finnish tourists
- Finland is a wonderful country, I really want to go back and stay in a cabin in the woods of Northern Finland
- Like the rest of Scandinavia Finland is expensive so bring plenty of money with you