Discover Southeastern Finland’s Fortress Tour – a 350-kilometer cycling route through the historic borderlands of two nations. This captivating journey takes you through Kymenlaakso and South Karelia, offering diverse experiences for all cyclists.
Commissioned in 1791 by Empress Catherine the Great, General Aleksandr Suvorov fortified the border against Sweden, creating a robust fortress system to protect St. Petersburg. Explore the inner and outer fortress chains, from Hamina, Taaveti, and Lappeenranta to Kyminlinna and Ruotsinsalmi fortresses, and the medieval Olavinlinna.
These fortifications, built rapidly, were in vain due to the Finnish War (1808-1809) shifting the border westward. The land fortifications were decommissioned, leaving only the coastal fortresses.
The route, mainly on bike paths and village roads, leads you through idyllic landscapes, offering a glimpse into nature and culture unique to Southeastern Finland. It’s like a miniature Finland, with river valleys, forests, old-growth woods, and splendid vistas.
Start in Kouvola, visit Kotka and Hamina, and enjoy tranquil rural landscapes, ending at Lake Saimaa. Suitable for long-distance cycling and bikepacking adventures, this route is also accessible by car or motorcycle. Starting points and towns are easily reached by train or bus.