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North Karelia as a travel destination

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North Karelia is the easternmost province in Finland. Joensuu is the biggest city in North Karelia with 75 000 inhabitants. Province’s other cities are Kitee, Lieksa, Nurmes and Outokumpu. In addition to these North Karelia consists nine other municipalities: Heinävesi, Ilomantsi, Juuka, Kontiolahti, Liperi, Polvijärvi, Rääkkylä, Tohmajärvi and Valtimo. There are approximately 165 000 inhabitants in North Karelia. Total area is 21 585 km² and there are 2200 lakes, from which lake Pielinen is the 4th largest lake in Finland. North Karelia shares 302 kilometers of border with Russia. There are about 1.5 million border crossings at Niirala’s border crossing each year.

EU’s easternmost point is located in lake Virmajärvi at Hattuvaara village in Ilomantsi. Lumber, wood, food, plastic, metal, stone, and travel are region’s leading industrial fields. North Karelia is known for its forests and forestry. European Forest Institute, University of Eastern Finland and Karelia University of Applied Sciences are located in Joensuu.

Joensuu sub-region
The Joensuu sub-region consists of two cities; Joensuu and Outokumpu, and six municipalities; Juuka, Kontiolahti, Polvijärvi, Liperi, Ilomantsi and Heinävesi. The region’s biggest musical event is the rock festival ‘Ilosaarirock’ which is held annually in the festival stage ‘Laulurinne’ in Joensuu. Outokumpu’s old mine and mining museum lets you familiarize yourself with what the mine workers’ lives used to be like.

Pielinen Karelia
Pielinen Karelia consists of two cities; Lieksa and Nurmes, and municipality of Valtimo. Koli's magnificent landscapes and clear waters of lake Pielinen invite you to visit the wilderness and relax in Pielinen Karelia.

Central Karelia
Central Karelia is a regional district in Finland made up of the municipality of Kitee and the districts of Rääkkylä and Tohmajärvi. Central Karelia is designated as a sub-region of North Karelia and is located about an hour’s drive from Joensuu and Savonlinna. The beautiful nature and crystal clear lakes of Central Karelia attract visitors - who get to enjoy the local hospitality while they're at it. 

Accessibility

BY CAR

Driving in Finland is easy and stress-free, there are no traffic jams and very little traffic in the rural areas. Stop by little villages, find a public beach on a lake and go for a swim. The national parks are easiest to reach with your own car. In Joensuu it is possible to rent a car for example from Joensuu Railway Station and there is also a daily shuttle taxi connection from Joensuu to Koli (please, book a rental car or a shuttle taxi connection in advance). Rental companies: Europcar, Hertz, Sixt


BY BUS

Enjoy the Lakeland landscapes while taking a bus to Joensuu. The travel time is app. 6-7 hours. Book your bus ticket from Matkahuolto


BY TRAIN

An eco-friendly choice to travel to Joensuu is by train. We recommend taking the train also for the sake of beautiful sceneries - you will be travelling along lakes most of the time. Book your train tickets with VR


BY AIRPLANE

Joensuu is the regional hub of North Karelia, located some 400 km to the North East from Helsinki. You can fly from the great cities of Europe, Asia or USA to the peace and quiet of Karelia. International flights arrive to Helsinki, but in summer and autumn 2020 there are no connecting flights from Helsinki to Joensuu. Therefore taking a train from the airport via Tikkurila to Joensuu is a good option. The train takes you to Joensuu in 4,5 hours.You can also fly to Kuopio and rent a car from there to reach North Karelia in one hour. 


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Flights a day from Helsinki to Joensuu (1 hour)2-5
Trains a day from Helsinki to Joensuu (4,5 hours)7-8
Bus connections a day from Helsinki to Joensuu (6-7 hours)5-8
by car from Helsinki to Joensuu (5 hours)440 km