Petrozavodsk (Петрозаво́дск) is the capital city of Karelia with a population just above 263,000.
The small Petrozavodsk Airport is located 12 km outside the city, with flights from Moscow-Domodedovo, Helsinki, and Saint Petersburg.
The city is easily reached by train and is located nine hours north-east of Saint Petersburg. The are both day and night trains leaving from Ladozhsky station, a second class sleeper ticket will set you back about 1100 RUB. Moscow is 16 hours away on a over-night service, trains depart from the Leningradsky station with second class tickets costing from 2200 RUB. All trains bound for Murmansk makes stop-overs here so there are long-distance connections with Kaliningrad (44 h), Kiev (41 h), Minsk (24 h) and seasonal trains from Black Sea resorts as Sochi (55 h) which serves mostly tourists getting home. Slow regional trains also connects with various smaller cities in Karelia such as Kostomuksha (13 h) and Suoyarvi (4 h).
There are bus services from Saint Petersburg daily with Avokzal  and a international connection from Helsinki with Incoming Finland  on Fridays and Sundays. Buses departs from the railway station at 7AM and arrives in Petrozavodsk at 8:30PM. There is also a bus service from Tampere leaving the railway station at 8PM each Monday and Friday and arriving 8:30PM. A one-way ticket costs €40, return €75.
Petrozavodsk is along the M18 highway, also known as Kola Highway which links Saint Petersburg and Murmansk. The road is mostly in good condition but expect long driving distances and few gas stations along the way.
The town is a moderate size and easily walkable. A taxi anywhere in town costs 100 Rubles or less. Buses run frequently along the major routes.
The railway station is located at the southern end of Leninsky Prospekt, which cuts through the center of town all the way to the embankment on Lake Onego. It is about a 30 minute walk from the station to the lake.
Bank of Lake Onega, Petrozavodsk
- All the neoclassical architecture
- The lake, the shore, and things nearby
- Visit the main theater. The architecture is gorgeous and the square along with a nearby park offer great walking opportunities
- Visit the Finnish Theater. Beautiful and authentic experience.
- Go mushroom and berry picking. If you are visiting in the fall, consider joining the locals as they head into the woods to pick delicious mushrooms and berries.
- The market.. This large outdoor marketplace has many typical food and wares vendors. As in any large city, get your vaccinations and have your stomache ache medicine ready before trying outdoor shish ka bobs or other foods. In the fall this is a good place to get fresh mushrooms, berries, fruit, and vegetables.
- Go fishing. Find a friendly local guide and go fishing at one of thousands of nearby lakes with an overnight stay or without.
- Dine out. Check out one of several local restaurants. Many trend foreign but some still serve local cuisine. Karelian dining often features fish cooked whole in its own soup.
- Visit Kivach Waterfalls. While not as impressive as the Niagara Falls, Kivach is close by and is worth seeing if you have the time.
- Visit the Martial Waters. This area houses several natural springs which are said to be very good for your health. There are also resorts nearby.
- Visit Kizhi. A hydrofoil can take you to this gem in Lake Onega. While there, admire the architecture and the island.
- Karelian wooden artworks. Karelian birch is of particular beauty and skilled artists add to its value as well. Avoid buying any antiques (especially of military character such as medals) that could be considered of cultural value by the Customs.
- Photo books. They make great presents at home and can be a replacement for photos that might be hard to take such as Kizhi (if you don't happen to get out on the island).
- Hotel Karelia, Gulling Embankment 2 (Northeast of the railway station, about a 45 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride), ☎ +7 (8142) 733-333 ([email protected]), . A new well-run hotel with several amenities, including gym, spa, restaurant, and a helpful tourism department that runs tours to Kizhi. Part of the Best Eastern Hotels group.
- Hotel Fregat, Prospekt Karla Marxa 1a (On the lake side of the ferry terminal building), ☎ +7 (8142) 774-853 and 764-162 ([email protected], fax: +7 (8142) 764-163), . A small but clean hotel close to the ferry dock. Good for early risers who want to catch the first boat to Kizhi in the morning. It is a little hard to find; the door faces the lake, not the street. Then the reception desk is left from the entrance. Ask bartenders at the bar in front of the entrance.
- Hotel Severnaya, Prospekt Lenina 21 (Halfway between the railway station and the lake, about a 15 minute walk from the station), ☎ +7 (8142) 762-080 ([email protected] ; [email protected]), . An older but decently-maintained hotel in the downtown area, closer to the railway station than the other hotels. Part of the Intourist Hotels group. From R700 per night.
- Finland (Petrozavodsk office of the General Consulate of Finland in Saint Petersburg), Pushkinskaya street, 15, ☎ +7 (8142) 766-208 (common), +7 (921) 726-0874 (Fri 5PM to Sun 11PM for the cases of emergency with the citizens of Finland) ([email protected], fax: +7 (8142) 767-167). Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri - 9-00 - 12-00 and 13-00 - 15-45; Wed 9-00 - 12-00.
- Sweden (Swedish representation at Petrozavodsk office of the General Consulate of Finland in Saint Petersburg), Pushkinskaya street, 15, ☎ +7 (8142) 766-208 (common), +7 (921) 726-0874 (Fri 5PM to Sun 11PM for the cases of emergency with the citizens of Finland) ([email protected], fax: +7 (8142) 767-167). Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri - 9-00 - 12-00 and 13-00 - 15-45; Wed 9-00 - 12-00.
A hydrofoil service takes travellers from Petrozavodsk to Kizhi.