Discover new summer memories in Lappeenranta
What does summery Lappeenranta have to offer in terms of things to see and experience for city residents and tourists who are looking for different activities? Follow me, I’ll tell you.
In early summer, nature has just come to life and shows its best side by luring us outside. I walk down along Kirkkokatu Street and through Kasinopuisto Park towards the harbour. Just look at those flowers! I think market life is an integral part of summer. So I’ll begin the tour of my home city from Harbour Square.
Harbour Square and summer concerts
Before me, the blue Lake Saimaa bathes in the rays of the sun. The warmth caresses the joyful-looking people spending time at the market square, and there is quite a buzz of conversation. How many of them are in Lappeenranta for the first time, I wonder? Where will they head today?
I order a strawberry jam waffle with my coffee and sit down to enjoy this blissful summer day in the city – still surrounded by nature. I have the English section of city’s resident magazine in my hand; let me take a closer look.
The summer concert season has opened and there will be concerts on every Saturday at 6-7pm at the Harbour Square
. I heard that the tradition of organising summer concerts here has continued almost unbroken for over a hundred years. There will be almost a hundred concerts and events during the summer.
will not be forgotten on Wednesdays 15 June, 13 July and 10 August on the Harbour Square stage at 19.00–21.00.
“Satama soi” singalong 8 June
: beginning at 18.30, the Conscript Band’s pops orchestra invites the audience to sing along with their gripping performance. A crowd-puller every summer!
Traditional horses and riders
of the Dragoon Regiment at the Harbour and the Fortress Tue–Sun at 13.00–16.00.
International Grand Markets
Thu–Sun 30 June – 3 July will attract both locals and tourists.
Lake Saimaa begins at Lappeenranta Harbour!
At the Market Square
In addition to the local delicacies Vety and Atomi meat pastries, at the Market Square I can enjoy the beautiful flowers at
the stalls and the vegetables and berries of the summer every day. There is also a small café and a couple of shops in the Market Hall in addition to the traditional meat and fish shops. There are summer concerts at the Market Square during the summer at 10-11 on every Saturday.
As a Sunday pick-me-up, you can drop by the Market Square’s summer flea market at 07.00–14.00.
King Street Cruise
on Sat 6 August is an American cars event.
The walk leads to the Sandcastle along the beach. I admire the boats moored to the pier and, on the other side of the street, the scenery of the Fortress’ fortifications. The Sandcastle is a famous and special destination in Lappeenranta. The theme of summer 2016 is a medieval tournament with knights and princesses. You can also enjoy theatre and music performances at the Sandcastle. Additionally, entertainment for children includes a bouncy castle, a small train and a carousel. The Sandcastle is open 11 June – 31 August at 10.00–21.00.
Lappeenranta Tourist Information also serves visitors at the Sandcastle with bicycles, kayaks as well as a rowing boat available for rent.
Information point opening hours:
11– 26 June Mon–Sun 10.00–18.00
27 June – 31 July Mon–Sun 10.00–20.00
1–31 August Mon–Sun 10.00–18.00
If you are in the mood for a peaceful tour of the city centre, perhaps with children, sit aboard the street train which departs from the Sandcastle on the hour and goes around the centre of the city. You can hop on or off the train at several stops. The train’s guided headphone tour has four language options (Finnish, English, Russian and German).
The street train runs 11 June – 14 August, 20–21 August and 27–28 August.
Departures every hour from the Sandcastle Mon 12.00–17.00 and Tue–Sun 11.00–17.00
I decided to hop on the street train. In a few minutes I was at the Fortress, the first street train stop. How convenient that I can get off here. The fortress is full of history that is fully alive today. The former old town is now one of the districts of Lappeenranta. With fortifications overlooking Lake Saimaa, the Fortress is a valuable part of the common cultural heritage of the Finns, Russians and Swedes
The oldest buildings of the Fortress include the Cavalry Museum, the current buildings of the South Karelia Museum, the Orthodox Church and the Former Commandant’s House. The Cavalry Museum opens to the public on Mon 6 June.
The South Karelia Museum has an extensive collection of museum pieces related to Vyborg and a scale model of the most central locations of the town of Vyborg from 1939. The exhibition Imperial Gifts from the Pavlovsk Palace will be on display until 2 October and it is definitely a must-see!
Lappeenranta Art Museum’s summer exhibitions
4 June – 21 August Wonderful Landscape – Landscape Paintings from the Collections of Lappeenranta Art Museum
7 June – 21 August Irma Laukkanen and Markku Hirvelä – Valon ja ajan jälkiä
4 June – 20 July High Fashion Horror – Pauli Parkkinen, in the Green Warehouse of the Fortress
All the museums in Lappeenranta will switch to summer opening hours from 6 June onwards; the museums will be open Mon–Fri 10.00–18.00 and Sat–Sun 11.00–17.00 until late August.
How amazing! A place like this exists at the heart of the city. Museums, cafes, restaurants, handicraft and other shops. You could spend a whole day in these surroundings.
The cultural and events centre Kehruuhuone hosts various events, concerts, theatre and dance performances as well as children’s events. The summer opening on Sun 5 June offers entertainment to people of all ages. The Midsummer celebration on Fri 24 June features folk music, singing together and Midsummer traditions. You will have plenty of time to move from the party to marvel at the city’s traditional Midsummer bonfire which will be lit at 21.00 in front of Myllysaari.
Humppaa&Skumppaa Festival Thu–Sat 30 June – 2 July with its renowned performers.
Three o’clock coffee call every day 27 June – 7 August where Kehruuhuone’s summer musicians perform.
Fortress Evening Concert
The musical record “Karjalan kunnailla” is played at 22.00 every night from June to August from the belfry of the Orthodox church located in the Fortress. The piece is performed by Director Musices Hannu Sopanen.
Old Town Days at the Fortress on 5–7 August feature various kinds of entertainment for people of all ages. Each day has a different theme: Friday 5 August is the Day of the Master of the Fortress, Saturday 6 August is the Family Day at the Fortress and Sunday 7 August is the Historical Day at the Fortress.
The free summer tai chi is a form of Chinese gymnastics on Wednesdays 8 June, 15 June and 22 June at 18.00–19.00 on the grass of the Radio Building at the Fortress. It would be nice to try this!
Right on the other side of the solid stone gate of the Fortress, there is the green Old Park better known as Kissing Park. People come here in droves for the Lappeenranta Summer Theatre. On the way down Kristiinankatu Street, you can take a look at the Monument of the Battle of Lappeenranta and the Dragoon statue.
Summer without the summer theatre is like summer without strawberries!
Lappeenranta Summer Theatre
The new, merry Theatre UIT visits the Fortress Summer Theatre and performs Melkoisia muskettisotureita, a hilarious adventure comedy full of songs, on 28 June – 28 July, and Lappeenranta’s own Theatre Kesy performs the family-friendly Pekka Puupää kesälaitumilla on 8–22 June and 31 July – 11 August. Both performances are sure to get summer visitors in a good mood! Performances are in Finnish.
Folk dance and folk music concerts at the Summer Theatre
The folk dance and music concerts of the Rajan Nuoret youth organisation which have become a hit with the public again this year at the Lappeenranta Summer Theatre on Sun 7 August, 14 August, 21 August and 28 August at 18.00–19.15. Free entrance.
At the Fortress Summer Theatre on Sundays 7 August, 14 August, 21 August and 28 August at 16.00–17.00.
I continue my journey on foot towards the city centre and come to the world of handicraft arts, the idyllic Tasihin House. You can do a bit of shopping in the Taito Shop and many concerts, summer theatre performances, singalongs and the Finnish Ocarina painting championship is organised in the courtyard of the Tasihin House, Kauppakatu 25, in the summer.
The Wolkoff House Museum is located opposite the Tasihin House, and is open 6 June – 28 August Mon–Fri 10.00–18.00 and Sat–Sun 11.00–17.00, closed during Midsummer 24–25 June. The opulent decor of the home museum accumulated over the years tells the story of merchant Wolkoff’s Orthodox family from 1872 onwards. I think I’ll first peek into the house virtually.
The historic Old Town Hall in the city centre is the oldest wooden town hall in Finland. It is open to the public on Sat 11 June at 10.00–15.00, Thu–Sat 21–23 July at 10.00–15.00 and Sat 6 August at 10.00–15.00. There is an entrance fee of 5 euros for adults and 3 euros for children, which includes the concert of classical music at 14.00–15.00 in worthy surroundings. Come and explore the history of the building beneath the beautifully decorated, curved ceiling of the Old Town Hall.
Now it is appropriate to take a seat on the Oleksi pedestrian street and enjoy some ice cream while resting your feet. During the holiday season the street will be teeming with locals and tourists at the stalls; however, this summer the ongoing construction work in the city centre makes the street somewhat less comfortable.
Food just for the soul is not enough, surely. Most of summer is spent outdoors, so there is no reason to ignore the sports events of the summer. There seems to be options for everyone!
Let’s start with the easier and more relaxed side of sports.
Experimenting with sports!
In June, it is possible to try out a new sport with guidance: golf in Tuosa, disc golf in Sammonlahti, Ravikangas or Myllymäki, swamp walking at the Hämmäaude swamp or hikes to the lean-to in Joutseno.
Exercise at the beach and in the park
An energetic crowd will exercise outside at the sports grounds of Kimpinen, Joutseno and Lauritsala as well as at Myllysaari and Hinkanranta.
Summer bike trips
The city’s Sports Services organise guided bike trips in the early summer to various natural attractions
8 June to Lamposaari and 15 June to the Karhusjärvi Cabin.
The mass starts take place on Wednesdays at 10.00 at the Water tower. Put a helmet on and pack some lunch.
Willimiesajot Road Race and Criterium Sat–Sun 23–24 July is a two-day cycling event in South Karelia. On Saturday, national level top drivers race against each other on a Criterium track in the Rakuunanmäki area. The Saimaa road race takes place on Sunday, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in road cycling.
Family time together and exercise for people of all ages
Disc golf Mon 6 June at 12.00–14.00, adventure orienteering Wed 8 June at 16.00–18.00, trick school for the whole family Mon 13 June at 16.00–18.00 in Joutsenohalli and Thu 16 June at 16.00–18.00 at the Kourula Sports Hall. Artistic gymnastics for children Wed 15 June at 12.00–14.00 in the Kahilanniemi Gymnastics Hall.
Sporttiherätys events and a fun day in the water 20–22 June.
Water games and obstacle courses at the fun day in the water at the Lappeenranta Swimming Hall and a wide range of fun sports at the Sporttiherätys events at Kimpinen Sports Centre and Lappeenranta Sports Hall.
Learn the basics of swimming at the outdoor swimming schools 11–27 July at Ahvenlampi, Myllysaari, Simola and Ylämaa.
Here you can experience the thrill of speed! In the Children’s Traffic Park located along Valtakatu Street at the foot of the Water Tower the children can drive pedal cars while the parents relax in the cool and comfortable park environment. Lappeenranta is a truly green city with many parks. Open until 28 June Mon–Fri at 09.00–18.00 and additionally in July on Saturdays 9–30 July at 11.00–16.30.
There is a popular recreation area in Myllysaari with plenty of things to do for people of all ages. Facilities at the recreation area include beach services, beach volleyball courts, green spaces, shallow beaches safe for young children, a playground, a street basketball court, bobsleigh tracks, a parkour area, fitness and climbing equipment, a shoreline café, the Myllysaari public sauna and a swimming pool with a diving tower. Myllysaari is open to everyone and located right at the heart of the city.
Riding the street train allows you to conveniently reach the Children’s Traffic Park for a drive and then go to Myllysaari where I was thinking of relaxing in the sun on the beach myself. The boys probably still have energy to spare, so we go to the playground and climbing equipment area; you can forget about relaxing on the beach. The parkour course is tempting, but they are not yet old or tall enough. Thank goodness!
Top sports events in Lappeenranta!
Really big track and field events and competitions will be held this summer in Lappeenranta. These major events are nice because they bring in tourists and locals join in too. There will be a lot going on. The cityscape will have more life and bustle and you can see happy people everywhere. Holiday atmosphere at its best!
The traditional orienteering event Jukola Relay will be run in the rural setting on Raippo on June 18-19. We will take part in this event with family friends. A record number of spectators is expected at Lappee-Jukola. The event is free for spectators.
One of the biggest CrossFit competition events in Europe, Karjalan Kovin, will take place in Lappeenranta on 15–16 August at the Kimpinen Stadium. The different sports test strength, endurance, speed and agility.
The summer of sports culminates in the Elite Games at the Kimpinen Stadium on Sat 27 August.
Lappeenranta proves to be a lively summer city full of events; its varied selection offers something for everyone, be it in the field of music, exercise or sports. I will surely enjoy the summer in Lappeenranta and collect summer memories for myself.
Further information about the events is available from the Lappeenranta Tourist Information in IsoKristiina or at the Sandcastle where you can also rent bicycles and canoes.
IsoKristiina Shopping Centre
Tel. +358 (0)5 667 788
Sandcastle Information Point
Satamatie 11, 53900 Lappeenranta
tel. +358 (0)40 5722 224
11–26 June and 1–31 August Mon–Sun 10.00–18.00,
27 June – 31 July Mon–Sun 10.00–20.00