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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 Finland’s most popular export, Angry Birds.
    Photo: holiday club

Finland’s 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 Finland’s border with Russia, are currently most popular among Russian travelers for the shopping opportunities they offer. However, Saimaa’s 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 don’t 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 hotel’s 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

Friday, Dec. 26


Celebrate Boxing Day by playing various tabletop games during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening tonight at 5 p.m. Spread the Christmas cheer and goodwill by making other people regret their decision to come and try to match their intellectual prowess against yours.



Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Year’s Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Children’s Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Sweden’s cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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