Saint Petersburg

Karelia in Summer

A Comprehensive Guide for Tourists

Karelia, a region located in the northwestern part of Russia, is an exceptional travel destination in summer. Its pristine nature, charming villages, and unique cultural heritage make it a popular choice for tourists looking for a different experience. In this guide, we’ll explore what you can see and do in Karelia in summer, how to get there, and what makes it different from winter Karelia. We’ll also take a closer look at the Karelian retro train and what makes it a must-see attraction.

Getting to Karelia

Karelia is accessible by air, road, and rail. The main entry point to the region is the city of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Republic of Karelia. Petrozavodsk has an airport with daily flights from Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you prefer to travel by car, the journey from Moscow to Petrozavodsk takes about 14 hours. The train is also an excellent option, with daily trains from Moscow and Saint Petersburg to Petrozavodsk.

Sights and Activities

Karelia is a land of lakes, rivers, forests, and hills. It is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Here are some of the top sights and activities to enjoy in Karelia in summer.

  • Kizhi Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the northern part of Lake Onega. It is famous for its open-air museum, which features wooden churches, chapels, and houses that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The centerpiece of the island is the Church of the Transfiguration, a stunning wooden structure that has 22 domes and no nails.
  • Ruskeala Mountain Park is a natural wonderland that offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The highlight of the park is the Marble Canyon, a breathtaking natural formation created by a former marble quarry.
  • The Solovetsky Islands are a group of islands located in the White Sea. They are known for their stunning landscapes and historic monasteries, which date back to the 15th century. The islands also have a rich history as a site of political exile during the Soviet era.
  • Kivach Nature Reserve is a protected area that features a stunning waterfall, scenic hiking trails, and an informative visitor center. The reserve is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare species like the European mink and the Arctic loon.
  • Sortavala is a charming town located on the shores of Lake Ladoga. It is known for its historic architecture, lively markets, and scenic waterfront promenade. The town is also a gateway to the Valaam Archipelago, a group of islands that is home to a famous Orthodox monastery.
  • The Shuya River is a popular destination for rafting enthusiasts. The river features a variety of rapids and stunning scenery, making it a memorable adventure for anyone seeking an adrenaline rush.

Summer vs. Winter Karelia

Karelia is a destination that is worth visiting year-round, but there are some key differences between summer and winter Karelia.

In winter, Karelia is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. The frozen lakes and snow-covered forests create a stunning landscape that is perfect for winter sports like skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Winter is also the best time to see the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon that is visible in the region from October to March.

In summer, Karelia istransformed into a vibrant and lush region, with long days and comfortable temperatures. The lakes and rivers thaw, and the forests come to life with an explosion of greenery and wildlife. Summer is the best time to explore the region’s natural beauty, go on scenic hikes, and take part in outdoor activities like fishing, boating, and kayaking.

The Karelian Retro Train

One of the must-see attractions in Karelia is the Karelian Retro Train. This vintage train takes you on a scenic journey through the beautiful Karelian landscape, allowing you to take in the stunning scenery and experience a piece of Karelian history.

The train consists of several vintage carriages, including a dining car, a lounge car, and a sleeper car. The train runs on the Petrozavodsk-Khiytola railway line, which is known for its picturesque views of the Karelian countryside.

The Karelian Retro Train is more than just a mode of transportation – it’s an experience. The train staff dress in period costumes, and the train is decorated with vintage artifacts, creating a nostalgic atmosphere that takes you back in time. The train also features live music and entertainment, making the journey even more enjoyable.

карельский ретропоезд


Karelia is a hidden gem that is waiting to be discovered by tourists. Its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and unique attractions make it a must-visit destination in summer. From the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kizhi Island to the natural wonders of Ruskeala Mountain Park, Karelia has something to offer every traveler.

And if you’re looking for a unique experience, don’t miss the Karelian Retro Train. This vintage train takes you on a scenic journey through the Karelian countryside, allowing you to take in the stunning views and experience a piece of Karelian history. So pack your bags and get ready for a memorable journey to Karelia!

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