St. Petersburg area and the Russian North


the Mystery of Thousand Lakes

A view from the road at Lembolovo village 60 km from St.Petersburg

Karelia is the land to the north from St.Petersburg between Finland and the White Sea. For many outdoor travelers it is usually associated with thousands of beautiful lakes surrounded by rocky shores and hilly landscape, massive fur- and pine-tree forests and abundance of fish and wild animals. In the distance of overnight train sleeper from St.Petersburg there is Petrozavodsk. The capital of Karelia founded by the Peter the Great on the bank of Lake Onega is the gate for most of adventure travel programs on the Russian North.

Old wooden mill on the Kizhi Island
From here one can also take a hydrofoil boat to come to an amazing museum of wooden Russian architecture on the Kizhi island. Lakes kayaking and rafting down to the river Shuya are "the brand names" of Karelia. Many outdoor travelers return here every year for exciting kayaking holidays together with wild abundant nature and white summer nights. Treking along picturesque granite shores is less popular, though camping on a cosy bay with great fishing would make one's trip to remember.

On the way to Karelia is so called Karelian Isthmus, which stratches between the Gulf of Finland and Ladoga Lake to the north from St.Petersburg. Situated not far from the city it is the most favorite place for it's outdoor-minded citizens. Great diversity of outdoor sports available here makes this place a little mekka for local climbers, white water kayakers, velo bikers or just ramblers. It's reputation among local adventurers can compare with Glen Coe valley in Scotland or Colorado River Gorge.
There are several popular festivals in summer here. One is "White Nights of Vuoksa", which occurs in the end of June for 3 days and brings hundreds crazy kayakers from Russia and Finland to get a challenge in White Water slalom competitions at the "Losevo" rapid. This event goes together with one of the biggest Outdoor Gear Fair. To get "Losevo" takes 2 hours by the Priozersk road from St.Petersburg. White water kayaker at the Grand Losevo Rapid

Another famous festival "Climbing for Everyone" takes place in the first days of May. This bouldering competition attracts people of any age and any climbing experience, who enjoy climbing and even just would like to have a taste of it. The task is to climb as many short boulder's routes (problems) as possible for a certain time (usually it's 6 hours). The routes are spread out in a vast forest and a participant should be also quite good at orienteering. The three-four moves routes span from very easy to extremely difficult A top of Grand Rocks at Yastrebinoye Lake
Snake Rock at Yastrebinoye Lake Some of them are for speed climbing. Such an unusual way of climbing competitions makes it to be real excitement and fun for everyone. Year by year it attracts more and more people. To get this rock massive at Yastrebinoye Lake takes 3 hours by car.

Also it's possible to take a train and walk along a path for 1.5 hours. Before doing that make sure to have your passport ready for a border guard check post and a permit letter. The latter can be received at your working office or through your Russian friends.

Picture by A.Petrov

Winter is the season of cross-country skiing and downhill skiing in Kavgolovo village. Located in 40 minutes from the city center this place is very popular in winter weekends. Some people rather prefer to rent a house - "dacha" in this village to spend as much time as possible there during weekend.

Late spring and autumn are the best time for rambling and biking on the Isthmus. Areas around Orekhovo, Lembolovo and Losevo are the most popular for their proximity, clear pine-tree's forests, crystal lakes and brooks and easy paths. There are many "off-road" biking routes here for one or two days, which would be very in the end of a hard working week.

Lake Hippiyarvi at Kavgolovo village 40 km from St.Petersburg

See and read more about wild nature of Karelia and Karelian Isthmus on sites: A good travel guide to Karelia
Rock climbing in St.Petersburg - excellent review about a rock massive 300 to the north of St.Petersburg. Ask for one day climbing course in the "Wild Russia" office.
Karelia for travellers - useful info for independent and budget travellers visiting Karelia. Where is Karelia located? - a map of Europe, where Karelia is shown. 
Biodiversity of Karelia. Red data books
- description of most rare and unique spiecies that can be found in Karelia. 
Parks and protected areas of Karelia
- site supported by TACIS about the national reserves of Karelia.
 Kizhi by Victor Bus - site of a professional photographer about old Russian wooden masterpiece island - Kizhi.
 List of published Maps and books about Karelia. - site from Ukraine (!!), a collection of books and maps about Karelia. 
Alexander Hikkinen photos
- another good (but very slow downloaded) collection of photos about Karelia. 
Kyrill Krylov Geological Site
- excellent pictures from a field geological trip to Karelia. Paanajarvi reserve Site. - a wildlife reserve in the northern part of Karelia. 
Window to Karelia.
- a great collection of links to Karelian Internet resources. 
Photo Site of Karelia
- a great pics collection from Karelian photo professionals. 
Map of Karelia
- complete map 1:200 000 (Militaty HQ maps) of the northern and middle part of Karelia. Feel free to ask your questions how to use it if any problems occure. 
Virtual Ex-cit Club
- site of ex-citizen of Karelia, e-mails and contacts around the world. Kivach Waterfall Pictures - a collection of pics from the highest waterfall in Karelia (text in Russian). 
Karelian Isthmus general info
- a general ifo site about climate, forestry, territories and natural resources. 
Ex-travel Vyborg Site
- info about one of the oldest town in the region with some really good pics. 
Priozersk, a northern fortress of St.Petersburg region
- site about history of the Karelian Isthmus. 
Alexandre Kliouchnik's Page
- a very good pics collection about historical places in St.Petersburg region, Karelia and some other exciting corners of the Wild Russia. 
Climbing in Finland
- we believe that Finland is very close to Karelia by all means and so we include a very good reference about climbing in this northern next door country.

General information
Getting there







From Lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland
Lembolovo Fells
Kizhi-Kivach Waterfall
Russian North










Wild Russia / Neizvedanny Mir Company
Saint Petersburg, Fontanka embankment, 59

+7 812 703-3215

+7 812 703-3216

+7 812 703-3249