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Imatra [4](population ca. 30 000) is an industrial town in South Karelia. It is dominated by Lake Saimaa, the River Vuoksi and the Finnish-Russian border. Imatra’s over 300-year-old history of busy tourism is greatly attributed to the attraction of the spectacular rapids of the river Vuoksi which have enticed many illustrious personas to visit the area throughout the ages. Visitors have included such people as Russian Empress Catherine II, Alexander Dumas Senior and Richard Wagner.

In poetry
Imatra is even mentioned in the Kalevala, the epic poem of Finland (compiled from oral poetry in 1835):
"Three, the water-falls in number,
Three in number, inland oceans,
Three in number, lofty mountains,
Shooting to the vault of heaven.
Hallapyora's near to Yaemen,
Katrakoski in Karyala;
Imatra, the falling water,
Tumbles, roaring, into Wuoksi"

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Imatra is situated about 250 kilometers east from Helsinki and the trip takes three hours (or more in the winter). The city is situated near the Russian border and you can cross the border at Svetogorsk just 7 km from Imatra.

By plane[edit]

Nearest airport (about 40 km) is the Lappeenranta Airport that is situated close to the centre of Lappeenranta city. As of January 2011 there are no flights from Helsinki, however it is connected to Riga by Air Baltic, and Ryanair flies there from Düsseldorf-Weeze, Brussels-Charleroi and starting March 30th 2011 also fromBergamo.

By train[edit]

Trains [5] between Helsinki and Joensuu stop at Imatra. The duration of the trip is about three hours and there are about ten daily departures.

By bus[edit]

Another alternative is to travel by bus. Timetables can be found at Matkahuolto's website [6].

Low-cost expressbus service from Imatra to Helsinki is provided by Pohjolan Liikenne.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Imatrankoski Rapids. These rapids are Finland's first ever tourist attraction. The Russian Empress Catherine the Great and her retinue visited the rapids in 1772.  edit
  • Hotelli Valtionhotelli (Imatra State Hotel). A hotel resembling a medieval knight's castle by the Imatrankoski Rapids. The original name of the hotel was Grand Hotel Cascade d'Imatra.  edit
  • Kruununpuisto Park. The oldest nature park in Finland, occupying the area around the Imatrankoski Rapids, was founded in 1842 by order of Tsar Nicholas I.  edit
  • Church of the Three Crosses. Open: 1 Sep - 31 May daily 10am - 3pm, 1 Jun - 31 Aug daily 9am - 8pm..  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Imatra Big Band Festival
  • Rock to the River - rock festival
  • Imatran Kylpylä Spa, [7]. The spa offers large swimming pools, saunas, whirlpools etc., from time to time with an artificial thunderstorm. Imatran Kylpylä Spa is your resource for recreation and holiday making in wonderful Lake Saimaa scenery and nature.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Buttenhoff, Koskenparras 4, 55100 IMATRA, +358 5 476 1433, [1]. This small (100 seat) restaurant offers Imatra's finest dining. Á la Carte menu consists of Finnish, French and Russian dishes. Fair selection of European wines and beers. During lunch hours Buttenhoff has business-lunch selection with salads, soups, main course and cofee included in the same price. During Summer months, if the weather allows, you can also opt for a table outside by the Koskenparras pedestrian street. Opening hours Monday - Friday: 11.00 a.m. - 23.30 p.m. Saturday: 12.00 a.m. - 23.30 p.m. Sunday: closed  edit
  • Ravintola Xiangfu, Tainionkoskentie 10, 55100 Imatra, +358 (0)5 436 80. Currently the only Chinese food serving restaurant in Imatra. Fast and easy lunch offered on weekdays for 8 €. Beyond lunch hours serves good Chinese style dishes, but prices tend to be a bit high.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Hotelli Imatra Hotel, [8]. This new economy hotel is situated only 500 meters from the famous Imatra Rapids and the center of Imatra town. Hotels motto is: Sleep and save. Very good breakfast, large rooms and sauna. Address: Kanavakatu 9, Phone +358 10 666 5700, fax +358 10 666 5709.
  • Hostel Immalanjärvi, Niskapietiläntie 27, situated 12 km from the center of Imatra to the north. There is a regular bus No. 1 between the hostel and the railway station of Imatra, the journey time is about 18 minutes. One bed per adult in the shared 8-bed dormitory room costs 20-24 €. Also proper hotel rooms are available (e.g. 2-bed room for 40-50 €). Prices include bedclothes and wireless internet access. All beds are single beds 140 cm wide. Reservations online [9] or by phone +358 440 109 886.


  • Imatran Kylpylä Spa Hotel, [10]. The old Spa Hotel and the new Promenade Hotel. Promenade Hotel offers good rooms for families. The spa department named Taikametsä (literally Magical Forest) has large swimming pools, saunas, whirlpools etc., from time to time with an artificial thunderstorm.
  • Hotel Cumulus Imatra, Koskenparras 3, +358 05 627 2200 (), [2]. 68 rooms with TV,minibar, hair dryer and free broadband connection."  edit


  • Imatran Valtionhotelli, Torkkelinkatu 2, +358-5-625-2000, [3]. The offputting name of the Imatra State Hotel hides a wealth of history: this castle-like hotel by the Imatrankoski rapids was built in 1903 for Russian nobility, and for several generations of Finns a suite here was the place to spend your honeymoon. Now privately run, the hotel was reopened in 2005 after extensive renovation and is, by Finnish standards, surprisingly cheap. 95€-.  edit

Get out[edit]

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