Why Travel to Karelia, Russia?
Our Karelia tours take you to 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.
Karelia Tours - Highlights
- 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 tour experience truly remarkable is taking in 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. Below you can explore a few Karelia tours options which can easily be an itinerary on their own or an add on to a Saint Petersburg or Moscow Tour.