Salpa Line: Virolahti Bunker Museum and Salpa Line Museum in Miehikkälä – a treasure trove of military history!
One of the most significant efforts of independent Finland is the Salpa Line, a defence line built to defend the Russian border. The Salpa Line was built in 1940–1941 and 1944, stretching incredible 1,200 kilometres. The construction is the most extensive piece of construction work of independent Finland. The Salpa Line is also one of the strongest and best preserved defence line from the Second World War still in existence in Europe. It offers a chance to touch upon history in an authentic and tangible way.
Closely guarded secret now open to everyone
For decades, the Salpa Line was kept very secret. When under construction, the defence line was, naturally, kept a secret from the enemy, but even the builders did not know the extent of the project: the defence line stretches from Virolahti in the Gulf of Finland all the way to the Arctic Sea, following the Russian border. The Salpa Line remained a secret long after the wars, since it was prepared for use during the Cold War should there be military action. It was only in the 1980s that tourists were allowed to visit the fortifications of the Salpa Line for the first time when the museums in Virolahti and Miehikkälä were established.
Plenty to see and experience
The Bunker Museum in Virolahti and the Salpa Line Museum in Miehikkälä provide an opportunity to explore the restored bunkers, dug-outs, trenches, stone anti-tank line and weaponry of the Salpa Line with a professional guide. The massive construction creates an image of the wartime conditions and arouses respect towards the builders working over 60 years ago.
The indoor exhibitions of the museums provide a glimpse to the construction of the Salpa Line and everyday life of the military engineers as well as a chance to see a photography exhibition illustrating how nature takes over sturdy human constructions in 60 years. A short film about the construction of the Salpa Line is worth watching at the start of your tour.
Recharge your batteries in nature
The area also provides good opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation in the beautiful nature of Southeastern Finland. The 43-kilometre Salpa Trek along the Salpa Line takes you through the areas of interest of the Salpa Line as well as the magnificent nature and cultural environment of Southeastern Finland. The route runs from Harju Manor past forests, hills and fields through Miehikkälä all the way to Ylämaa in Lappeenranta. During the trek, you can explore the restored parts of the Salpa Line.
Salpa Trek end points:
Virolahti, Harju Manor, Katariinankuja 19, 49980 Ravijoki
WGS84-coordinates N 60.32020 E 27.33147
Bunker Museum, Vaalimaantie 1318, 49960 Ala-pihlaja
WGS84-coordinates N 60.572972 E 27.593853
Miehikkälä Salpa Line Museum, Säästöpirtintie 70, 49700 Miehikkälä
WGS84-coordinates N 60.684209 E 27.671243
Lappeenranta, Hostikka cave, Hostikantie 30, 54490 Ahomäki
WGS84-coordinates N 60.774840 E 27.791481
Museums on the way
tel. +358 40 7107340
Salpa Line Museum,
Bunker Museum open 1 June–31 August
Salpa Line Museum open
from May to September Wed–Sun 10am–6pm
June–August daily 10am–6pm
The museums are open to groups by reservation throughout the year.
The museum shops sell delicacies made from local natural produce and local souvenirs.
Bunker Museum €5/2
Salpa Line Museum €8/5