Earth : Europe : Scandinavia : Finland : Southern Finland : Lappeenranta
City of Lappeenranta  (population 70,000) is the economic and cultural center of southeast Finland situated near the border of Russia and at the southern edge of the Saimaa, the largest lake (system) of Finland.
The culture and dialects of Lappeenranta strongly represent Eastern Finland, although it administratively belongs to the Province of Southern Finland. Lappeenranta has a colourful, 360-year history influenced by its location in the border dividing western and eastern cultures.
Two highways, 6 and 13 pass through Lappeenranta. Bus companies operate frequently to Helsinki and other cities, even Saint Petersburg in Russia. Highway 13 extends to the Russian border, some 25 km from the city center, where the Nuijamaa border station is the busiest border crossing in Finland. Russian tourists usually use this pathway to come to the city either by bus or a car.
The main railway station of Lappeenranta connects the city to the rest of Finland with fairly modern trains, operated by VR . The travel time to Helsinki is currently 2 - 2½ hours (EUR 41.30 as of end-2011). Trains to Saint Petersburg and Moscow stop at a smaller station in Vainikkala, located near the Russian border, about 30 km from the city center. There are connection buses from Lappeenranta City to Vainikkala railway station.
Lappeenranta travel centre offers connections to other parts of Finland and to Russia. There are direct connections by bus to Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kouvola, Joensuu, Kotka, Mikkeli, Porvoo and Imatra. Foreign lines extend to Saint Petersburg and Vyborg. More information about bus connections from Matkahuolto.
Low-cost expressbus service from Lappeenranta to Helsinki is provided by Pohjolan Liikenne.
The airport is located perfectly only 2 km from the center. It is the oldest in Finland established in 1918. Air Baltic flies to Riga, Ryanair has routes to Weeze near Düsseldorf, Girona near Barcelona and Bergamo.
There is a local bus connection number 4 from railway station and center of Lappeenranta to the airport. It serves once an hour. Timetables are available from Lappeenranta city website.
Lappeenranta is a popular destination for boaters within the Saimaa lake area. Some cruise boats operate from Lappeenranta to other destinations within the lake area. Lappeenranta is connected to the Gulf of Finland through the Saimaa canal. Visa free (remember to always check the current situation) cruise boats operate from Lappeenranta to Vyborg, Russia through the canal. The canal is also popular among boaters, and private boats occasionally come from as far as Southern Europe.
Everything is within walking distance at the center. Even the airport is within walking range if you do not have much luggage, but taxi or local bus is probably preferable.
Getting further to the suburbs is easy by bus. There is a graphical route planner to find timetables.
Lappeenranta is well-known for its large outlet stores that offer significant discounts on fashion clothes, sports apparel and shoes (incl. some good-quality local brands such as Luhta or Rukka), consumer electronics, home and DIY items, car parts and accessories. Most of them are located in the southern part of the town.
Some mid-range and budget hotels are present. Local student housing foundation, LOAS , offers affordable accommodation during the summer months for tourists.
Lappeenranta is a safe city very accustomed to foreigners. It is also the second most popular destination in Finland, mainly due to Russian shopping tourists, but also many other nationalities visit during summer months.