Spa town in Finland
Lappeenranta is a city and municipality situated on the shore of the lake Saimaa in southeastern Finland, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Russian border. It belongs to the region of South Karelia. With approximately 73,000 inhabitants (31 August 2017) Lappeenranta is the 13th largest city in Finland.
Lappeenranta is known as an international university city in Finland with Lappeenranta University of Technology and Saimaa University of Applied Sciences which together have approximately 13,000 students from 68 countries. Lappeenranta is also a commercial centre of South-East Finland and the meeting point of the EU and Russia, 215 km from both Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Location on the southern shore of Lake Saimaa makes the city the region’s centre for tourism. Lappeenranta is the second most visited city by Russian tourists in Finland after Helsinki and it competes with Helsinki for the largest share of tax-free sales in Finland.
Lappeenranta is known as a summer city, mostly due to its closeness to the Lake Saimaa. Europe’s 4th largest lake. The eponymous GoSaimaa (www.gosaimaa.com) provides all the touristic activities in the area. In addition, its inland location means that summers tend to be warmer and winters colder than along the coastal areas.
Lappeenranta does have a healthy winter tourism industry. Various cabins around Lake Saimaa, as well as numerous snowmobiles, Nordic skating, floating in the river, reindeer rides, paragliding, skiing and sledding tracks draw a fair number of winter visitors.
The proximity of the Russian border is increasingly evident in the number of Russian tourists visiting the city. In fact, Lappeenranta is closer (195 km or 121 miles) to Saint Petersburgthan Helsinki, the capital of Finland (220 km or 140 miles). The presence of Russian tourists is noticeable by the many Russian registered cars on the streets and the use of Cyrillic letters in signs of some shops.