A Culinary Sojourn in Saimaa-St.Petersburg
From freshly picked seasonal berries and chanterelles from the pristine forests of Finland's Saimaa Lakeland to fancy Beluga and Salmon Caviar tastings and Russian classics such as Borscht, Blini, and Shashlik in St.Petersburg, embark on a culinary adventure discovering authentic and innovative local flavors. Each of the culinary experiences included in the trail has a deep and unique connection to the region's local culture, colorful history, and diverse nature, and will bring you one step closer to understanding the rich heritage of Karelia and Imperial Russia. The trail takes you over the South Karelian cities of Lappeenranta, winner of the distinguished European Green Leaf Award 2021, Imatra, and St.Petersburg.
- Learn the interesting cultural history of South Karelia by visiting iconic landmarks such as Imatrankoski rapids, Ruokolahti church, Lappeenranta sandcastle, Lappeenranta castle, Saimaa canal, etc.
- Experience Finnish sauna like never before on a floating sauna boat cruising on the Vuoksi river on Saimaa Lakeland.
- Experience forest dining amidst pristine landscape with open fire preparation and tasting of Lakeland specialties such as Loimulohi.
- Indulge in an exquisite fine-dining experience overlooking the beautiful Saimaa scenery at Sahanlahti, part of the distinguished Saimaa Gastronomy family.
- Visit the iconic Saimaa landmarks such as the town of Mikkeli, Puumala, Parikkala statue park, etc.
- Lively Karelian dining experiences such as baking the traditional Karelian pastry, 'Karjalanpiiraka', and multicourse traditional Karelian dinner, South Karelian street food classics such as 'Vety' and 'Atomi' (literally translated as Hydrogen and Atom)
- Guided walking tour and stay in a majestic Art Nouveau castle, from 1903 overlooking the awe-inspiring Imatrankoski, voted in 2014 as the most beautiful building in Finland.
- Experience Saint Petersburg, known as the Cultural Capital of Russia, and its colorful history with visits to UNESCO World Heritage Site monuments.
- Guided tour in the world's second-largest art museum, The State Hermitage Museum, founded in 1764 by the Empress Catherine the Great.
- Guided tours in the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, The Grand Peterhof Palace, and the Alexander Park.
- Caviar Master Class conducted by the renowned Russian caviar and vodka sommelier, with Russian caviar tastings, preparation methods, and gastronomic pairings with vodka drinks.
- Cooking up a multi-course traditional luncheon with classics such as Pelmeni and Blini, paired with tastings of Russian specialty liquors.
- Experience the rich and diverse culinary traditions of St.Petersburg sampling tasting menus at local restaurant gems.
Who is this for?
This is a premium trail ideal for groups of friends and families, who want to experience Finnish Karelian Lakeland and Russia, and its exquisite gastronomy traditions. The itinerary includes a lot of exploration on foot and easy walking.