Trip to Karelia: A Joyful Journey
Last winter, with a group of close friends, I got the chance to travel to Karelia in Russia's borderland. Karelia, a region of Russia in the northwest, The Republic of Karelia is a beautiful state with a strong cultural history.
Karelia offers a variety of natural settings, from grand forests and lakes to pure rivers and waterfalls, and shares its borders with Finland and the White Sea. Karelia is the ideal location for anyone wishing to explore Russia's rich history and natural beauty because it has a long history and is home to a variety of fascinating cultural and historical attractions. In this article, I will tell you why you should visit Karelia!! A must visit place to travel. At the end of this article, I will give some tips to make your trip more exciting and safer.
Karelia is a beautiful region that is worth visiting year-round. But, in winter it’s like road to haven! With snow-covered landscapes, frozen lakes, and unusual winter sports, the area becomes a winter wonderland. A winter vacation to Karelia can be exactly what you need if you're in Saint Petersburg during the winter and seeking for an exciting and unforgettable excursion. I visited with a group splendid friends arranged by ESN HSE SPB. Every year they are arranging such tour for all international students.
We started our journey at dawn by bus from Finlyandsky Station. Our tour guide said that traveling by bus was the easiest and the most affordable way to get Karelia from Saint Petersburg. Although the trip only lasts for about 7 hours, the scenery is spectacular, especially in the winter when the landscapes are covered with snow. As an alternative, you can travel 14 hours by train to Petrozavodsk.
Our day long journey started at 6 AM and when we got back to Saint Petersburg at 11 PM! So, lets dive into details of our fascinating journey.
Fascinating place we have visited!
Karelian Orthodox temples stand as a witness to the area's rich cultural and historical past. Everyone with an interest in history, religion, or architecture should go see these stunning and singular architectural wonders. This temple is also a site of UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes a bell tower and two ancient wooden churches. The most well-known of the two churches is the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior, which is renowned for its distinctive design and magnificent onion domes. The interesting fact about this temple is that there is a home of rehabilitation for drug addicted people after they get rid of addiction, they are preparing all the things for this temple. And most of them stay their rest of the life in temple.
Fortress Korela Keksholm
A remarkable historical monument, Fortress Korela Keksholm sheds light on Karelia's complicated and stormy past. The fortress's position is among its most striking qualities. It is a massive and intimidating building that is perched on a rocky island in the middle of a lake. More spectacular are the panoramas of the surrounding landscape that can be seen from the fort. There is a museum that chronicles the history of the fortress and its surroundings is also located inside the fortress. Anyone with an interest in history, architecture, or military planning should go there.
Ruskeala Mountain Park
It's renowned for its breathtaking scenery, pristine lakes, and intriguing geological formations. A former marble quarry that was in use from the 18th until the middle of the 20th century is where the park is located. The park's various caverns, tunnels, and grottoes, which have been converted into a number of lovely lakes and waterfalls, are now open to exploration by park visitors. Outdoor pursuits such as hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing are available here. Also, the park provides guided tours that shed light on the geography and history of the area.
The largest lake in Europe, Lake Ladoga, is another must-see destination in Karelia. The southern region of Karelia's Lake Ladoga offers picturesque views of the mountains and forests that are close by. To enjoy the lake's natural splendor up close, visitors can trek around its banks or take a boat tour of it.
Apart from this beautiful site we have also visited some amazing places like waterfall and Canyons. If you are fond of Museums, you can visit National Museum of Karelia, the Kizhi Museum and Karelian State Museum.
Winter Activities you can do
Outdoor enthusiasts will love the variety of winter activities that Karelia has to offer. Here are a few of the more:
Cross-country skiing: Karelia offers a variety of cross-country skiing routes that are appropriate for skiers of all skill levels. With its lovely trails and waterfall, the Kivach Natural Reserve is a well-liked ski resort.
Snowmobiling: Is an exciting way to discover the winter landscapes of Karelia. In Petrozavodsk, you can rent a snowmobile and go on a guided tour to see the area's icy forests and frozen lakes.
Ice fishing: Is a well-liked wintertime hobby in Karelia. At one of Karelia's numerous frozen lakes, you can rent ice fishing gear and try your luck at catching some fish.
Husky sledding: Is a one-of-a-kind and memorable experience. You can go on a guided tour and experience the exhilaration of riding a sled drawn by a pack of eager huskies.
Visiting a Russian banya: During the winter, a Russian banya (sauna) is a common place to stay warm. Visit one of Karelia's numerous banyas for a restful and revitalizing experience.
Food and Drinks
Karelia is renowned for its distinctive cuisine, which combines elements from Finland and Russia. We have tasted some of local dishes. One of Karelia's most well-known foods is Kalitka, a savory pie made with rice, eggs, and butter, it’s a must try recipe, I can still feel the taste of this dish. Karelian pastries, which are prepared with rye flour and filled with a variety of sweet or savory fillings, are another local delicacy.
The renowned Karelian beer, which is produced in Karelia using conventional techniques and natural ingredients, is also available to tourists. Everyone traveling to the area should drink the beer, which is sold at numerous local bars and eateries.
Joyful Moments of Tour
This day's discovery of a small festival honoring traditional Karelian music and crafts was one of our happiest moments. We enjoyed wonderful Karelian pastries and pies, danced to the upbeat music, and even tried our hand at creating wooden spoons and birch bark baskets. It served as the ideal introduction to the area's diverse cultural history. At the end one of the local bar hostages us with famous Karelian Vodka and Bear.
Finally, I would say my companions and I had a wonderful time traveling to Karelia across Russia's frontiers. We enjoyed the area's scenic beauty, rich culture, and delectable cuisine, but most importantly, we connected with one another and made countless happy memories.
A thank you note
Finally, I would like to thank you to ESN HSE SPB for arranging such an amazing tour. Without their tremendous and splendid effort we could not able to enjoy such an amazing tour. If, anyone want to travel, I would suggest to travel with ESN HSE SPB buddies, they are doing their best to make the tour enjoyable and comfortable with minimum cost. It’s worthy to travel with them.
If you are international student.
- Bring your passport, Registration Card, Migration Card (Very Important)
!DON’T FORGET! (For All)
- To bring your student ID.
- To bring some food/snacks/water/hot tea.
- Warm Comfortable shoes and clothes. No heels or dresses.
- To have CASH to buy souvenirs/extra activities in the park/food (Cards are hardly expected there).
- To get your phone/gadgets charged (and/or bring a power bank).
So, if you want to enjoy a pure winter tour outside the city, Karelia is a stunning and historically significant part of Russia that provides a distinctive combination of natural beauties and historical sites. Karelia has much to offer everyone, whether you enjoy the outdoors, learning about history, or enjoying good food. So why not pack your bags and travel to the Russian frontier for a once-in-a-lifetime experience?