Travel in Karelia
If you are planning a trip to Russia and your interest is not focused only on the capital's attractions and on Saint Petersburg's splendid palaces, but also on the majestic nature of the largest country in the world, a trip to Karelia is the perfect addition to your holiday.
You don't necessarily have to go as far as Siberia to see the authentic taiga. One night by train and you will find yourself in the kingdom of authentic forests and crystal-clean lakes.
Karelia is a region as attractive to the Russians as Lapland is to the Europeans. The resemblance to Lapland is due to the same climate, the identical landscapes and even the same Sami inhabitants of these neighboring Russian and Finnish regions. In the Russian Lapland, you can enjoy the experiences of dog sled, snowmobile or snowshoe trips, or cross-country skiing at affordable prices.
However, the difference from the Finnish Lapland can be seen in the wooden architecture, which is well-preserved in Karelia's authentic villages. In Finland, there is very little traditional wooden architecture remaining. Everything is modern, and the Finnish forests are much more affected by human influence than the Karelian forests. The major wood exploitation has destroyed the majority of the Finnish forests, and has left behind only national parks to preserve the remaining trees. By choosing Karelia for your vacation, you will find yourselves in a wild, forest landscape like you haven't seen before.
Saint Petersburg's neighboring area is well known for its virgin forests and the two biggest lakes in Europe: Onega and Ladoga. This surprising landscape was formed by the passing of a glacier, millions of years ago. Its melting has given birth to thousands of lakes that look like pearls lining the course of the river. Karelia's boreal forest landscapes are unequaled as a result.
However, nature is not the only source of inspiration in this country. The unique beauty and architectural framework specific to Northern Russia would make even the most experienced traveler dream; the ancient villages with Karelian houses and wooden saunas, the little charming little chapels and the famous church of the Kizhi, which dominates the island in the middle of the Onega Lake.
Adventurers can make rafting descents and kayak trips. The forest roads are perfect for bicycle or quad bike tours during summer. During the winter season, which here lasts for 6 months, you can participate in true expeditions by snowmobile, off-road cars or dog sledges. The sporty traveler can also enjoy cross-country skiing, which is the traditional sport here.
Those passionate about history and archeology will discover the prehistoric stone engravings on the shores of Lake Onega and the White Sea, which also keep the secret of the ancient Sami's labyrinths on the islands.
The gourmands will enjoy the local cuisine; dishes based on freshwater fish or wild meat, traditional beverages and sweet products. Once you have visited Karelia, you will come back here again and the memories of the moments passed in this fabulous country will linger in your thoughts for many years to come.