KESKIVIIKKO, 03. KESÄKUUTA 2020
Imatra is a town and municipality in eastern Finland. Imatra is dominated by Lake Saimaa, the Vouksi River and the border with Russia.
On the other side of the border, 7 kilometres away from the centre of Imatra, lies the Russian town of Svetogorsk. St Petersburg is situated 210 km (130 mi) to the southeast, Finland's capital Helsinki is 230 km away and Lappeenranta, the nearest Finnish town, is 37 km away. Imatra belongs to the administrative province of Souther Finland and the region of South Karelia. The main employers are pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso Oyj, the Town of Imatra, engineering steel manufacturer Ovako Bar Oy Ab, and the Finnish Border Guard. As of October 2003, the total number of employees was 12,423. As of December 2004, 1,868 employees were employed by the Town of Imatra. The town manager of Imatra is Kai Roslakka. The town's nicknames include Imis, Ibiza and Nahkalippis City (Leather Baseball Cap City).
Imatra was once the darling of Russian aristocracy – one of the first tourists to the area was Catherine the Great who in 1772 gathered her entourage to view Imatra’s thundering rapids. Although the rapids were harnessed for hydroelectricity in 1929, the water pours forth again during dramatic daily summer shows.
The town has a number of dispersed, mostly modern 'centres' separated by kilometres of highway. Imatrankoski, the site of the rapids, is of most interest to visitors and has the majority of services. Boaties, beach goers and spa seekers may prefer the Imatran leisure area, 7km northwest of Imatrankoski.
BEST TIME TO GO TO IMATRA
Spring (March through May)
Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel moderately cold. Highs range from 66.3°F (19.1°C) and 32.2°F (0.1°C) with far warmer temperatures in the later months. Rain is rare with 2 to 5 days of significant precipitation per month. Spring is the second busiest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for things to do.
Summer (June through August)
The middle-year months have comfortably cool weather with high temperatures that are comfortable. These months see moderate precipitation with 5 to 9 days of precipitation per month. June – August is the busiest season for tourism in Imatra, so lodging and other accommodations may cost more than usual.
Fall (September through November)
Fall daily highs range from 62.8°F (17.1°C) and 32.9°F (0.5°C), which will feel chilly given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a significant amount: 6 to 7 days per month. Tourism is the slowest during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be affordably priced.
Winter (December through February)
Weather is far too cold this time of year in Imatra to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 34°F (1.1°C) and 18°F (-7.8°C). On average, it rains or snows a fair amount: 3 to 8 times per month. These times of year are fairly slow with tourists.
GETTING TO IMATRA
By car - Imatra is about 250 km northeast from Helsinki and the trip takes about three hours, depending on which of three most viable routes is chosen. The town is situated near the Russian border and you can cross the border at Svetogorsk just 7 km from Imatra.
By plane - Scheduled flights to the nearby Lappeenranta Airport have been on and off at various times, so you may need to check its webpage for the current situation. There is also the historically significant Immola Airfield (ICAO EFIM) in the northern part of the town. Your best bet, though, would be to fly into Helsinki and travel the rest by bus or train.
By train - Trains between Helsinki and Joensuu stop at Imatra. The duration of the trip is about three hours and there are about ten daily departures. From Russia, it's a bit more complicated; get off at Vainikkala at the Finnish side of the border, take a bus to Lappeenranta and from there by bus or train up to Imatra.
By bus - Another alternative is to travel by bus. Timetables for normal intercity buses can be found at Matkahuolto's wesite. Also budget bus company Onnibus connects to Helsinki, Kouvola and Joensuu among others.
By boat - Lake Saimaa can be reached from sea through the Saimaa Canal.
GETTING AROUND IMATRA
Downtown can be covered by foot or bike. The city also has a small public bus network of six lines. The other alternatives are car and taxi.
WHERE TO STAY IN IMATRA
- Scandic Imatran Valtionhotelli
Set in an elegant castle by the River Vuoksi, Scandic Imatran Valtionhotelli is centrally located in Imatra. It offers many relaxation options, such as an indoor swimming pool area with hot tubs, warm rock beds and saunas. Guests at Scandic Imatran Valtionhotelli can choose either rooms in the castle or modern rooms in the park building. There is an underground passage connecting the 2 buildings. All rooms feature satellite TV channels, ironing facilities and a hairdryer. The superior rooms offer tea/coffee making facilities and bathrobes. Guests can also enjoy tasty meals at the Restaurant Linnasali. Nature lovers can visit the magnificent Imatrankoski rapids and Kruununpuisto park, which are just 300 m from Scandic Imatran Valtionhotelli. Guests can also take a cruise on the River Vuoksi or Lake Saimaa.
- Finlandia Hotel Imatran Kylpylä Spa
Offering free access to spa and fitness facilities, this hotel is by Lake Saimaa in Imatra, 12 km from the Russian border. WiFi access is also free. Finlandia Hotel Imatran Kylpylä Spa’s spacious rooms feature wooden floors, flat-screen TV and modern bathrooms with showers. At Finlandia Imatran Kylpylä, guests can relax in indoor and outdoor pools as well as saunas and hot tubs. Beauty treatments and therapies can also be booked. Staff can help to organise quad biking, snowshoe hiking and archery activities. Live entertainment, music and dancing are offered at Club Tähtitaivas. A games room and bowling alley are also available. The à la carte Restaurant Kastanja serves international cuisine and cocktails, while Restaurant Pistaasi is open daily.
Set in Imatra, Loft hostel offers a terrace. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. At the hostel guests are welcome to take advantage of a sauna. Guests at Loft hostel will be able to enjoy activities in and around Imatra, like skiing, cycling and fishing. Lappeenranta is 36 km from the accommodation. The nearest airport is Lappeenranta Airport, 44 km from Loft hostel.
Just 150 m from Imatra Spa Areena ice hockey rink, this hotel features free sauna, WiFi and parking access. Cross-country ski trails are found right outside. Uitonniemi Beach and Imatra Marina are 500 m away. Rento Hotelli’s modern rooms have private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs with cable TV, including Russian channels. All superior rooms feature balconies. Laundry facilities and storage for ski equipment are available. Staff can help book curling, ice hockey or football activities nearby. Imatra Tennis Centre is within 300 m and offers both tennis and badminton. Imatra Spa is 800 m from the hotel. Rento Hotelli's restaurant serves a daily breakfast. The Russian border crossing at Svetogorsk is 14 km away. Lappeenranta Airport is within 30 minutes' drive.
Set a 10-minute drive from central Imatra, this guest house offers free parking, an outdoor BBQ area and direct access to bicycle paths and ski tracks. Imatra Spa Resort is a 20-minute drive away. Free WiFi is available. The basic rooms at Immalanjärvi include a flat-screen TV, wardrobe and small fridge, as well as bed linen and towels. Bathroom facilities are shared. There is also a convenient drying cabinet available for ski and outdoor gear, as well as a washing machine for guests' use. The communal kitchen is free for all guests. Bicycles can be hired at reception. Swimming and fishing are possible at Lake Immalanjärvi, 500 m away. During winter, cross-country skiing trails start directly outside Immalanjärvi. The nearest restaurant and grocery store are an 8-minute walk away. A local bus stops 30 m from the property and reaches Imatra in 20 minutes.
Situated by Lake Saimaa in Rauha, this property offers a terrace, spa and free Wi-Fi. All rooms include a TV. Capri Shopping Centre and the Angry Birds Activity Park is just 100 m away. Spa Aqua Park features pools, hot tubs and a relaxation area with saunas. Bookable treatments are available at Harmony Spa. Holiday Club Saimaa guests can also enjoy the on-site golf course, bowling alley and gym, while kids can keep busy in the playroom and playground. On-site dining includes both fast food and à la carte options. Guests can enjoy a drink by the pool, in the lobby or while watching a game in the sports bar. Imatra city centre is within 10 minutes’ drive away, while the Imatrankoski Rapids are situated 5.3 km away.
Located on the beachfront in Imatra and featuring a garden, Neitsytniemen Kartano has free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. At Neitsytniemen Kartano every room is fitted with a wardrobe and a shared bathroom. Guests at the accommodation will be able to enjoy activities in and around Imatra, like hiking and cycling. Lappeenranta is 39 km from Neitsytniemen Kartano. The nearest airport is Lappeenranta Airport, 47 km from the hotel.
Center Hotel Imatra is located on Imatra’s pedestrian street, Koskenparras, and offers an international restaurant and pub, just a 5-minute walk from the Imatra Rapids and River Vuoksi. Guests can enjoy a free evening sauna from Monday until Saturday. Center Hotel Imatra provides both guest room and self-catering accommodation. All have a flat-screen TV and work desk. Free WiFi is available. Broadway Grill & Diner offers a selection of international favourites and Broadway Pub features sport's channels, big-screen TVs and a versatile drink assortment. There is a nightclub entertaining over the weekend. Hotel staff is happy to provide tourist information and recommend other nearby sights to visit. Next to the hotel are free public parking spaces.
Hotelli Asematie 4 is offering accommodation in Imatra. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. Lappeenranta is 32 km from the hotel. The nearest airport is Lappeenranta Airport, 40 km from Hotelli Asematie 4.
Villa Campari is located in Imatra and offers a garden and barbecue facilities. The air-conditioned accommodation is 36 km from Lappeenranta, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site. The apartment is equipped with 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views. Languages spoken at the reception include English, Finnish and Russian. A bicycle rental service is available at the apartment. The nearest airport is Lappeenranta Airport, 44 km from Villa Campari.
THINGS TO DO & SEE
Imatra Spa Resort's central location of Ukonniemi leisure time centre allows active spa holiday as well as fluent training camps and tournaments for sport clubs. This holiday paradise by Lake Saimaa is one of the most beautiful attractions in Finland, and it lets you recharge both your body and your mind. The services of the Imatra city centre are a little more than five kilometres away from Ukonniemi.
The 1929 construction of Imatra's hydroelectric complex (Finland’s largest) dammed the river, but the watery wonder lives on with the spectacular 20-minute Rapids Show, when the dam is opened to a rousing son et lumière. If your inner daredevil wants to get involved, Imatra Express runs a flying fox over the gushing waters.
The new 18-hole golf course offers challenges for Ukonniemi visitors. The Kohonkangas heathlands, in the immediate vicinity of Holiday Club Saimaa, are a perfect location for a golf course. The rolling heathlands, combined with the dramatic kettle terrain shaped by the ice age, provide an impressive setting for your golf round.
Going canoeing or stand up paddle boarding in the Saimaa archipelago is easy. You can rent a SUP board at the Port of Imatra or Saimaa Adventures. Canoes can be rented from the Imatran Lapinkävijät organisation. The 20-kilometre Oritsaari route is suitable for a day trip, and you can also choose to take a shorter route.
Ukonniemi is the number one cross-country skiing location in Southern Finland, year-round! In the summer, you can enjoy the roller skiing track that meets all international race standards and has even been titled ‘the best in Finland.’ In the winter, you are welcome to use Southern Finland’s longest ski track on first snow. During the natural snow season, a 35-kilometre-long skiing track can be accessed from Ukonniemi. The services of the Ukonniemi stadium and the 30-spot shooting range for biathlonists are the highlights of the excellent sports opportunities.
The Karhumäki track and field area includes a diverse, 22-fairway disc golf course. The height differences and forests offer diverse challenges for players. The surface is forest soil in some parts and sandy soil in others. The diversity of the fairways is illustrated by a 50-metre narrow tunnel fairway where the disc is thrown towards a hill and a relatively open 181-metre par-4 fairway that ends on a basket on a small hill.
To the delight of all ice sports enthusiasts, Ukonniemi features three ice rinks. Two of the rinks are located at Imatra Ice Stadium, and one is located at Holiday Club Saimaa. At Imatra Ice Stadium, you can watch the games of the local ice hockey team, Imatran Ketterä, or hop to the rink yourself for skating or curling. At Holiday Club Saimaa Arena, you may also rent equipment during the skating turns.
The hub of mountain biking in Ukonniemi is the pump track that is one of the largest tracks in Finland. The track is constantly developed by active cyclists in the area. The area around the track has a 100-kilometre network of biking paths and routes. The pump track and the paths are enjoyable for both beginners and veteran cyclists. Both groups can find challenges and rewarding experiences!
Would you like to try parasailing, waterskiing, waterboarding or other aquatic sports? Water-SkiZoo also offers flotation suits and a taxi boat.
- Atreenalin Adventure Park, Saimaa
An adventure park that respects nature and offers unforgettable experiences for persons of all ages. The park has 5 tracks that everyone can complete according to their own skill level and courage, as well as Kids’ Land for the youngest children. There are 1.5 kilometres of tracks built between the trees, covering an area of 3 hectares.
- Angry Bird Activity Parks
Angry Birds Activity Park is an exciting indoor amusement park for the whole family. The park offers a host of super fun activities for all ages from toddlers to teenagers and adults.