Lake Saimaa's diverse cycling opportunities

A winding forest path, a gravel road crunching under tires or a wide asphalt cycle path. Cycling is good exercise in nature and in the city. The Lake Saimaa region offers a wide variety of routes for cyclists.

You can go mountain biking in the Finnish nature. Mountain bikers should remember to keep their speed appropriate as forest paths belong to everyone in nature so faster cyclists should be prepared to give way to others. Mountain bikes and fatbikes are good for getting around in the terrain.

Cycling is an excellent form of everyday exercise, which is why many Finns use bikes to get to work or to study. Many cities also have city bikes that tourists can hire for the time they want.

Cycling can be done all year round  but in winter it is advisable to use studded tyres. When it is dark, you must also remember to check that your bike has the white front light and red rear light required by law. To ensure your own safety, it is also a good idea to wear a cycling helmet.

Cycling in the Saimaa archipelago

Cycling is a delightful way to discover new places. Lake Saimaa has many interesting routes whether you prefer to cycle a day or more. Along the way, you can stay overnight in a natural setting or in a comfortable accommodation. Eat your own snacks or enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants.

One great way to explore the beautiful archipelago of Lake Saimaa is to go cycling along the Saimaa Archipelago Route. This popular, traditional cycling route runs along the southern Lake Saimaa, through the towns of Imatra and Lappeenranta and the church villages of Ruokolahti, Joutseno and Taipalsaari. As part of the Saimaa Archipelago Route, the Puumala Archipelago Route leads cyclists through the islands and ridges of Lake Saimaa. The 60-kilometre route includes both asphalt and gravel roads, as well as one ferry ride, for which tickets must be booked in advance. The route through islands and ridges reveals a piece of the most beautiful Finland. It is worth setting aside several days to drive the routes, as there are many attractions along the way.

Saimaa Cycling Tour is a cycling event organised in South Karelia and South Savonia. The event, which takes place in July, is aimed at cyclists of all levels and everyone can choose a route of a suitable length. The 300-kilometre Saimaa Cycling Tour’s main route starts and finishes in Imatra, but otherwise the route follows the Lake Saimaa waterfront around Lappeenranta, Mikkeli and Puumala.

Incredible cycling routes

In addition to the traditional nature sites, Lake Saimaa also offers more unusual cycle routes. How would you like to cycle along part of a European cycling route? The Iron Curtain Trail runs from Bulgaria all the way to the Arctic Ocean, following the border of the former Iron Curtain. On Lake Saimaa, the route follows the border between Finland and Russia. The section from Imatra to Parikkala takes 2-3 days and offers many attractions and accommodation options along the way.

You can also enjoy the incredible scenery on the Kerma tour, which starts from Savonlinna and runs through Heinävesi to Kolovesi National Park and then back to Savonlinna via Enonkoski. Over 180 kilometres long, the route is suitable for cyclists.

The Bridges of Savonlinna ring route circles the town of Savonlinna, following the coastline from one island to the next. Cycling the route is a great way to explore the town’s magnificent sights. There is also a scenic island route for nature lovers near Varkaus town centre. The beautiful Ämmänkoski flows along the 3-kilometre-long nature trail on the Kämäri Island.