The Salpa Trail offers an excellent opportunity for outdoor exercise and recreation in the beautiful natural setting of Southeastern Finland. Following the Salpa Line, the 43-kilometre Salpa Trail acquaints hikers with interesting sights along the Salpa Line, and the beautiful nature and cultural environment of Southeastern Finland. The one-way route starts from Harju and passes through forests, hills, fields and the Salpalinja Museum in Miehikkälä, all the way to Ylämaa in Lappeenranta. Along the way, you can study information boards to learn more about the Salpa Line.
Download a free Salpa Trail guide (pdf).
Salpa Trail start/end points:
Virolahti, Harju, Katariinankuja 19, 49980 Ravijoki
WGS84 coordinates N 60.32020 E 27.33147
Virolahti Bunker Museum, Vaalimaantie 1318, 49960 Ala-pihlaja
WGS84 coordinates N 60.572972 E 27.593853
Salpa Line Museum in Miehikkälä, Säästöpirtintie 70, 49700 Miehikkälä
WGS84 coordinates N 60.684209 E 27.671243
Lappeenranta, Hostikan luola (Hostikka cave), Hostikantie 30, 54490 Ahomäki
WGS84 coordinates N 60.774840 E 27.791481
Salpa Trail nature
The Salpa Trail runs through a varied natural setting in the municipalities of Virolahti and Miehikkälä.Virolahti is the easternmost municipality on the Gulf of Finland’s coast.
Generally speaking, the area has a barren natural environment with subtle changes in the terrain. Elevation differences are small and the terrain varies between gravel healthland, open rocks, ponds, swamps and river valleys. The river scenery of Vaalimaanjoki and Virojoki can also be admired there.
Virolahti is an extremely popular birdwatching destination. The shallow and rich bays of Virolahti offer numerous waterfowls an ideal nesting environment, and feeding areas for birds stopping for a rest during migration. In May, millions of waterfowls and shorebirds fly over on their way to nest in the Siberian tundra. In Virolahti, you can also spot some rare species, such as black storks, red-breasted geese, greater spotted eagles and black kites.
The municipality of Virolahti has invested in bird tourism by building five bird towers in the area. During Arktika, the annual migration in the spring, hundreds of birdwatchers flock to the best places on the coast to observe the birds. Between August and October, numerous predators fly over Virolahti, heading for their winter locations. Virolahti is also one of the best places in the country to catch butterflies, with people arriving from around Finland for less common species.
In Miehikkälä, rugged gravel heathlands alternate with a ‘rapakivi’ granite landscape, and hollows with swamps, small lakes and ponds. Miehikkälä has a few larger areas covered in fields, and the elevation differences are greater than in Virolahti.
Rocky lakes with steep sides, typical of the rapakivi granite area, add a rugged attractiveness to the landscape. The northern part has higher hills and rocks, and forest-covered, uninhabited stretches of wilderness.
Miehikkälä also has excellent birdwatching opportunities. Miehikkälä has fine forest areas and small waters for birdwatching in Tingankoskenmäki, Alimmainen and Tyllinjärvi: of these, Tyllinjärvi is part of the national protection programme for bird habitats. Source: Pöyhönen Mikko 2004. Kymenlaakson luonnossa. Lintu- ja luontokohdeopas.
According to a bird population survey carried out by Seppo Vuolanto in 2007, there were 97 nesting bird species along the trail. The stones placed along the Salpa Line create a rugged nesting environment that is ideal for wrens, robins and dunnocks. Interesting observations include the woodlark, golden plover, red-necked grebe, golden oriole, greenish warbler, rustic bunting, common linnet, corn crake, stock dove, and five woodpecker species, such as the white-backed woodpecker and Eurasian three-toed woodpecker.
(Seppo Vuolanto/Biosvar )
Salpa Trail geocache trail
A geocache trail was created on the Salpa Trail in 2016, covering about 40 kilometres of the trail and including 115 geocaches. You can read more about the Salpa Trail geocache series here.