Winter Activities in Karelia, Sortavala, 4 days, 4 nights
Open Russia Tours introduces a new Tour from St. Petersburg to Karelia, Sortavala, to provide excellent opportunities for snowy winter fun: snowmobiling, skiing, dog-sledding, ice fishing, and that includes the most famous and exiting historic and nature sights such as Ruskeala Mountain Park, Ahvenkoski waterfalls, Sortavala city centre and more. Our tours are led by knowledgeable guides speaking various languages, professional instructors ad top -level accommodation. The distance between St. Petersburg and Sortavala is 260 km, but you’ll cover it in 4 hours by fast train Sapsan.
The best time to travel is between mid-December and mid-March.
Day 1: Fly to St. Petersburg
Transfer from airport to Hotel in St. Petersburg with guide’s assistance
Day 2: Sortavala, Country Club
05:30Check out of Hotel with luggage and transfer to Ladozhsky Train Station
06:15Departure by fast train to Sortavala
10:20Arrive Sortavala. Meet and greet by the local guide.
Over centuries, Sortavala belonged to ancient Karelians, Swedes, Finns an, now, to Russia, so there one can find an amazing interweaving of cultures and nationalities. Sortavala is deservedly called ‘a Museum of Finnish architecture’. You’ll walk through old streets, stop at the monument to the Rune singer, admire the surrounding northern landscapes and visit the Art Museum of Kronid Gogolev with traditional Karelian woodcarvings.
Lunch in а restaurant (pre-set)
Transfer to a country club (5-15 km). Checking-in to Hotel / cottages
Tour of the club territory and Ladoga Lake views.
At ‘Dacha Winter’ and ‘Ladoga Estate’ clubs you can visit the authentic houses of the former owners of these residences.
Free time for winter activities (skates, skies, sleighs are available for rent)
Dinner in the restaurant (pre-set)
Optional: Bathhouse with a steam-room
Day 3: Country Club
Breakfast at the club
AM Meeting the snowmobile instructor. A short training course on safety measures and driving technique. Getting special helmets and outfit; test drive. Circle snowmobile route along the forest and Ladoga shore: viewing most picturesque sights, islands and mountains including Vakhtimyaki Mountain known as ‘Roof of Ladoga’. 40-80 km depending on the group skills.
Picnic stop: hot tea, sandwiches, chocolate, pastries and sweets.
Return to the Club
Optional: Bathhouse with a steam-room
Day 4: Country Club and train to St. Petersburg
Breakfast at the club, Checking out of the rooms (luggage on-board)
Transfer to Sortavala train station and board the retro locomotive train to Ruskeala – “Ruskeala Express”. The interior of the train is made in the style of the late 19th – early 20th centuries.
AM Departure from Sortavala
Arrival at Ruskeala Mountain Park
Tour of ‘Ruskeala’ – the park and outdoor museum of nature and mining history in Russia and Finland. The Marble Canyon, surrounded by marble walls, is impressive at any time of the year, especially in winter, when snow and marble complement each other.
Husky dog kennel at Ruskeala and a dog sledding safari
Lunch at Ruskeala (pre-set)
Transfer to Ahvenkoski waterfalls (15 min)
A cascade of picturesque waterfalls on the Tohmajoki River. The largest of the waterfalls, Ahvenkoski, reaches the height of four meters. It plunges with a hiss, growl and roar into a rather vast basin, more like a lake. Waterfalls were often filmed by Russian film directors which made them very popular.
There is a comfortable walk around waterfalls on elevated wooden roads. A store offers traditional souvenirs of Karelian birch and shungite stone, and local berries jams.
17:15Transfer to Sortavala to catch 18:45 fast train to St. Petersburg
22:43Arrive to St. Petersburg, Ladozhsky Station *
* You can also depart for Moscow by 20:25 overnight train arriving at 10:16 next morning
Transfer to Hotel, check in
Upon request, this programme can be extended for sightseeing in St. Petersburg / or Moscow