Boat through Saimaa Canal
To those who live not in the area, the best way to reach Viipuri is taking a boat trip by some travel agency (like Saimaa Travel) through Saimaa Canal. This can be done VISA FREE for 72 hours for citizens of all countries. You can take a day trip or have one or two nights out there.
More information of Saimaa Canal: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/240988/
The ship has tax free and a guide, each leg takes about 6 hours (there are 8 locks in the canal and you see those all) and with a day trip you have some 2-3 hours to spend in Viipuri. It's not much, so one night more and you have a lot of time to go around the town. You can have lunch and/or dinner on the ship, so you save time with this option.
Cruises run from May to September and you find the prices from agency's web pages. During winter time we have to find different options.
Please, book in advance, during peak times the cruises are very popular.
- Historical Travel
To and from Helsinki
Three trains go to Helsinki and two to St Petersburg and one to Moscow, plus the local elektra train. to St Petersburg. A couple of buses go to Helsinki. The russian border guards do a customs check and passport/visa check on the train . The emigration card that was filled in on arrival in Russia is handed in. rRemember a russian visa is required to enter Russia, which was applied for in your own country before travellingI travelled 09-27 am to Helsinki 2nd class, this was the russian owned train, free yoghurt, choc cake and fruit juice, was served., to those who boarded at Vyborg, the SP passengers had had theirs.
Nice cruise Finland - Russia via Saimaa channel
A nice way to see the city of Vyborg, nowadays belonging to Russia, is to take a boat via the Saimaa channel from Lappeenranta city directly to the centre of Vyborg.
Vyborg is actually an old Finnish city, built in the 13th century; also a still existing castle was built. The city used to be Finland's second biggest city after Helsinki, and it was the most international city of Finland. In World War II in the Soviet Union's attack they took this area of our land among others and 400 000 persons had to leave their homes.
We came back by bus after having spent some time in Vyborg. It is still a beautiful city. It is famous for its parks and avenues; also it is nice due to the fact that it is a coastal city.
Getting to Vyborg
There are several trains a day from St Petersburg which take around 2-3 hours.
There are no toilets on board these local trains, so it's best to wait until you get there to drink anything. Not knowing this, I had a couple of beers at the station in St Petersburg, and needed to go between the carriages.
Bus or Elektrishka
You can take an Elektrishka from Leningradsky Voksal in StP which takes about 3 hours. There are also a couple of faster ones. Check the timetable in the station itself.
Alternatively, there is a bus leaving every half hour from outside Metro station ........ (have to look it up).
Comfortable train from St.Petersburg
There is a comfortable train to Vyborg from Finland station. This starts about 8 AM. As well as in the afternoon on weekends. You can return back at 4PM or 9PM from Vyborg. The way takes about 1.5 hours and you can short the time in a bar with a beer.
Do not use usual regional trains - it's terrible !!!
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