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Finding Ways to Slow Down in Saimaa

Published: April 16, 2014 (Issue # 1806)



  • A seasonal sauna on the shores of Lake Saimma offers an idyllic respite.
    Photo: Mikko Nikkinen / goSaimaa.com

  • Launch yourself into the fun with Finlands most popular export, Angry Birds.
    Photo: holiday club

Finlands Saimaa region, which includes the towns of Lappeenranta and Imatra, is known as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Finland among St. Petersburg residents. The region has recently embarked on a program to expand the range of activities it offers Russian and other foreign travelers in a bid to increase visitor numbers.

Lappeenranta and Imatra, located just across Finlands border with Russia, are currently most popular among Russian travelers for the shopping opportunities they offer. However, Saimaas regional government wants foreign travelers to also discover the other attractions the region offers, including a wide range of leisure activities and historical sights.

We are happy to have Russian tourists come shopping here but we want them to know that there are also many other interesting places in our area, said Mirka Rahman, head of Marketing Communications at Lappeenranta City Office.

For instance, we have a nice spa and aqua park at the Saimaa Holiday Club hotel, which is located just outside Lappeenranta. It seems people dont know enough about it yet. Last summer the hotel also opened the Angry Birds Activity Park to offer more activities for children. Not to mention the Flowpark and Atreenalin Adventure parks, the Sand Castle in Lappeenranta, numerous options for summer cruises along Saimaa Lake as well as the historical fortress and the museums, Rahman said.

Saimaa Hotel World

Located in Rauha, just outside Lappeenranta, Holiday Club Saimaa offers a whole world of opportunities for adult visitors and families. Both adults and children flock to the hotels aqua park, while the more laid-back prefer the numerous saunas and a spa-zone. The aqua park presents an assortment of illuminated fountains that children inevitably have fun in, followed by a bit of diving, a vertiginous water slide and even the chance to play water polo.

The hotel also offers a separate wing called The Castle, which is meant exclusively for adults looking to have a romantic time away from the kids. The rooms in The Castle are as spacious and atmospheric as the name suggests.

Another attractive option offered in Holiday Club Saimaa is an ice rink where anyone can rent skates and enjoy a bit of winter sport even as temperatures soar outside during the warmer months. Children and youth hockey teams often use the hotel for training, especially as Holiday Club Saimaa does its utmost to accommodate the budding athletes.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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