Ruskeala Mountain park is one of the most popular destinations for national tourism close to Saint-Petersburg and definitely the must-visit location in Karelia region.
Most of the tourists prefer to explore Karelia and Ruskeala Park together with a guided tour, which is of course easier and even more comfortable. In this article I have written about top locations in Karelia and advise you to explore the region which I determine as Russian Lapland. But this requires at least few days.
If you have time only for one day trip than the Ruskeala Mountain Park is the best choice, and actually the only choice in Karelia as you can get there by public transport quite easily.
Remember: not everyone understands English in Russia)
How to get to Ruskeala Mountain Park by yourself?
I know, sometimes traveling outside touristic cities in Russia by public transport can be really complicated, but you will survive this one-day trip.
So the best option is to get to Ruskeala Mountain Park from Saint-Petersburg is by train.
- You need to get to Finlyandsky railway station in Saint-Petersburg. It is “Ploshchad Lenina” metro station.
- There is a daily train named “Lastochka” from Saint-Petersburg to Sortavala city. It leaves at 06:15 and arrives at 10:20. You can buy tickets online.
- There on the platform you will see a very beautiful retro train. It’s called Ruskeala express. And this is the train you need. It leaves Sortavala at 10:40, so you will have 20 minutes to take the photos outside the train. You can buy tickets online.
- At 11:40 the train will arrive at Ruskeala mountain park. So it means you will have 1 hour to enjoy the historical interiors of the train.
I advice to buy all the tickets in advance as the Ruskeala express has limited seats.
- The return Ruskeala express train leaves the Ruskeala mountain park at 17:30.
- At 18:45 there is a train from Sortavala to Saint-Petersburg. You will arrive at 22:45.
Best things to do in Ruskeala mountain park
The territory of the park before 1721 belonged to Sweden and after the victory in the northern war passed to the Russian Empire. In the 17th century they started to extract marble. So that’s how appeared a marble canyon with a wonderful mountain park. In 2005 it became a tourist point created by private entrepreneurs.
Today Ruskeala mountain park is a fabulous place for relaxation in the nature. You will be surrounded by forest, deep career with transparent water, fresh air and silence. Marble walls of the career in the evenings are highlighted, creating a magnificent atmosphere.
The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles for adults, 150 rubles for students and 100 rubles for school kids.
But as you made it there then I advise you to take it all and take a tour around canyon with a guide. There are several tours starting with general walking tours around the most picturesque places finishing with boat trips, underground excursions inside the canyon or even 4×4.
Good news, the experience is awesome at any season of the year.
Follow the link to check all the options on the park official website.
And don’t forget to have some fun. As this park is very famous for active tourism.
- Quadrocycle / Snowmobile tours around the park. There are 6 routes with panoramic views of the surrounding forests, fields, mountains, canyons, Finnish mill, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife trails, lakes;
- Bungee Jump and Zip-Line are very popular. You will fly 10-30 m above the water at the small speed, which allows to enjoy all the beauty from the height;
- Diving. At the bottom of the career you will see machines, motorcycles and other technique that was flooded by Finns before the war in 1939;
- Bout trips around the lake.
And don’t forget to try Karelian local cuisine which is very unique. In the following post I’m writing about must-try foods in Karelia.