Lake Ladoga

Ladoga is Europe's largest freshwater lake, measuring 18 square kilometres. It's an astonishing location – not only due to its amazing surroundings, but also because of its connections to the roots of Russian nationality. The River Neva flows out of Lake Ladoga – the river on which St. Petersburg stands.

Fascinating Facts

  • In the 18th century Tsar Peter the Great gave orders to build the Staroladozhsky Canal from Lake Ladoga – from where it stretches 117 kilometres, joining the Volkhov and Neva rivers in a way that makes freight shipping safer.
  • The storms on Lake Ladoga can be serious. The lake is navigable from May to November, but even from late August the lake can be hazardous – ships should avoid the lake, and follow the alternative Malonevsky or Novoladozhsky canals instead.
  • There are lake beaches on the southern banks of Lake Ladoga. The water is shallow, and heats up to around +20C degrees, or a maximum of +24C. On the main section of the lake the water only averagely reaches +12 to +14 C degrees.
  • The bottom of Lake Ladoga arouses a lot of interest among archaeologists – there are traces of ancient Viking settlements here, as well as abandoned equipment from World War Two, and other military campaigns.
  • Ladoga is a place where brontids can be heard – low-frequency sounds. It's an acoustic phenomenon also found at lakes and water locations all over the world. Despite this, no clear explanation of these sounds has ever been published.


Russia's naval history begins at Lake Ladoga. It's through Lake Ladoga that the famous shipping route 'From the Vikings to the Greeks' once passed. As far back as the 14th century, the oldest-known Russian fortress Oreshek was built here. In the same century, the major Russian Orthodox monasteries of Valaam and Konovec were founded on the islands of the lake, and went on to carry out much missionary work.

Ladoga has exceptional weather conditions – a full bucket of rainwater can fall in just few dozen minutes. This fact was not wasted on Tsar Peter the Great, who said that a ship's hand couldn't call themselves a sailor, until they'd served on Lake Ladoga.

Lake Ladoga was part of the Road of Life, by which food was delivered to the besieged city of Leningrad during World War Two. From September 1941 until March 1944 the only way for food to reach Leningrad was by water – or over the frozen surface of the ice, 16 thousand tonnes of food was brought in, while over 1,300,000 people were evacuated.

What to see

  • As well as the magnificent natural beauty, Lake Ladoga has lots to offer to the enterprising tourist. One thing to try is fishing. There are over 50 kinds of fish to be found in Lake Ladoga, including salmon, pike, and Ladoga smelt. The flora and fauna resources are very rich, so a walk or hike would be a great way to relax.
  • Ladoga also offers an unusual take on diving (sub-aqua). As well as the fresh, clear water, there are numerous artefacts waiting on the floor of the lake, in excellent conditions of preservation that prompts scientific and research interest.
  • It's definitely work visiting Valaam Monastery – one of Russia's great spiritual centres. You can get away from the hubbub of city life, enjoy the natural peace and quiet, and bring your own internal vibes into harmony.
  • Another important sight to see is the Island of Konovec. The island is littered with boulders left by retreating glaciers. The Stallion Stone is the biggest of these boulders, which weighs over 750 tonnes. Only a glacier would be able to shift such a titanic object.
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