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Karelia

In Russia’s far north, bordered by Finland and the White Sea, Karelia is frontier country. It encompasses vast tracts of wilderness – dense forests and idyllic lakes ringed by hills and steppes. Yet if you were to visit Karelia on holiday, you will notice that it is also a living museum of human history. Inhabited by Scandinavian peoples for 6000 years, it has been bitterly contested by the Finnish, Swedish and Russian forces over the centuries. After the Winter War of 1939, most of Karelia was ceded to the Soviet Union. Today, while Russian is the official language, Karelia retains a strong cultural connection with Finland. Distinctly Karelian culture lives on in the peasant traditions of poetry, music and folk ceremonies that reinforce the people’s bond with the land and sea.

Why travel to Karelia:

  • Be enthralled by Karelia’s breathtaking nature and landscapes, from picturesque hills and crystal-clear rivers to lush green forests and idyllic lakes, such as Europe’s two largest lakes - Lake Ladoga and Lake Omega
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kizhi Pogost on Kizhi Island, a spectacular cultural site filled with a collection of 17th and 18th-century churches elaborately and skilfully crafted entirely out of wood
  • Built upon the cultural influences of its four indigenous populations: Karelians, Finns, Russians and Vepps, discover the peculiar history and culture of Karelia that differs it greatly from the rest of Russia
  • Find freedom in the great outdoors at two of Karelia’s most captivating eco-destinations - the primordial forests of Kivach Nature Reserve, and Ruskeala Mountain Park, a former marble quarry that has been naturally transformed over time into a magnificent flooded canyon

Karelia’s Lake Onega attracts a steady stream of local and international visitors. It’s the home to the World Heritage Kizhi Pogost on Khizi Island, an elaborate collection of 17th-century religious buildings crafted entirely out of wood. Yet what makes Karelia truly remarkable is its untouched nature, including the primordial forests of Kivach Nature Reserve.

Karelia’s rivers, lakes and streams allow off-the-grid kayaking, fishing and camping for weeks, and you may even encounter reindeer, golden eagles, wolverines, wolves and lynxes. In winter, the woods become an enchanting playground for dog sledding, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Another spot now on the tourist radar is the marble canyon of Ruskeala Mountain Park, which like Karelia itself, has been carved from a unique and harmonious fusion of the natural and the man-made.

Tours in Karelia

Karelia Kizhi Island 3 day tour

Karelia & Kizhi Island in 3 Days

Private tour | Departure dates of your choice from May to October
Petrozavodsk * Kizhi Island * Ruskeala Park * Kivach Nature Reserve * Kinerma village

On this short detour from Moscow or St Petersburg, you will explore cultural and natural sites of Karelia. Your tour starts in Petrozavodsk - the largest city in Karelia mostly known as a gateway to Kizhi Island, where you will travel by a fast boat. You will also explore the beauty of Karelia's nature parks and enjoy the Karelian hospitality in the village of Kinerma.

3days From(USD) $980 View Tour
Karelia tour

Gems of Karelia - Kizhi Island, Solovki and Valaam

Private tour | Departure dates of your choice - May to October
Petrozavodsk * Ruskeala * Kinerma * Kivach * Sortavala * Kem * Solovlki * Valaam

Enjoy all major sights of Karelia just in a 7-day tour. You will visit Kizhi and Valaam Islands, Kivach Waterfall and Ruskeala Park, Solovetsky and Valaam monasteries. See the true beauty of the Russian North by immersing yourself in Karelian culture, architecture, history, and art.

7days From(USD) $3,085 View Tour
Northern lights in Russia

Northern Lights in Russia: Arctic Winter Magic

Group tour | Guaranteed departures
Moscow * St Petersburg * Karelia * Kola * Murmansk

Explore main sights of mighty Moscow and cultural capital of Russia - Saint Petersburg. Head to Karelia, where we’ll stop to admire the Ruskeala Mountain Park and historic Kizhi Island. Discover the customs of the indigenous Saami in Kola Peninsula and observe Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky.

13days From(USD) $3,550 View Tour

A custom tour made to order

We understand sometimes our set departure dates do not align with your ability to travel at that time, or you just want to travel bespoke. We got you covered.

Go custom — gives you the choice & flexibility of creating your own bespoke itinerary, using our tours for inspiration.

Go custom

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