Cruises sail from Lappeenranta to
• the Saimaa Canal and the archipelago (duration 2 or 3 hours),
• and there are also visa-free cruises, via the Saimaa Canal, which go all the way to Vyborg or St. Petersburg in Russia.
The cruises to Russia are different from other travel to Russia, as no visa is needed, if the journey is a roundtrip cruise. The visa exemption applies to all nationalities, so you can bring your international friends along on the cruise. Cruise tickets must be booked in advance.

Information about the cruises

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Cruises on the Canal and in the archipelago

Experience the exciting lock procedure on the Saimaa Canal, during a two-hour canal cruise. First, the ship will sail to the mouth of the Canal and into the lock, where it will descend the 13-metre Mälkiä Lock. After the lock, the ship will turn around and sail back to Lappeenranta Harbour.
The three-hour Canal and archipelago cruise takes you to the Saimaa Canal and the Saimaa Archipelago. After the locks, the ship heads out to the idyllic Lake Saimaa Archipelago, before returning to busy Lappeenranta Harbour.

Cruises to Russia

In Lappeenranta, you can step abroad a cruise ship that will take you to Vyborg or St. Petersburg on the Russian side of the border. The cruise begins at Lappeenranta Harbour and continues through the 43-km Saimaa Canal to the Gulf of Finland and then on to Vyborg or St. Petersburg. A one-day mini-cruise lets you catch a glimpse of the city of Vyborg and get a sense of the atmosphere of this historically colourful town. On a longer, two- or three-day visit, you can experience more of what Vyborg or Saint Petersburg have to offer. On these trips, there is plenty of time to do some shopping. You have to book the visa-free cruises a few days before the trip. If you make a roundtrip, you will not need a visa for the cruise (a valid passport is enough).

All you need is a valid passport to go on a cruise to Russia; you do not need to apply for a visa to Russia when you sail roundtrip on the M/S Carelia. You will need your passport at check-in and at the border control, where passengers pass through in a normal fashion at the Harbour. The visa exemption applies to citizens of all countries.


A copy of your passport photo page is needed when booking your ticket
Cruise passengers must provide a copy of the photo page of their valid passport to the travel agency, no later than 3 days before the travel date (if the trip begins on Mon, Thu, Fri or Sat). If your travel date is on a Tuesday or Wednesday, then the copy of your passport will be needed on the Friday before your sailing departure date. The copies are needed by 1 pm, but for last minute bookings, please check the opening times of Saimaa Travel’s office

Visas to Russia

If you travel to Russia, you need a visa in addition to your passport. The visa-free cruises are an exemption to this rule. When submitting a visa application, please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months, after the visa expiration date. You must include a recent passport colour photograph that has been taken during the past six months, with the visa application. Scanned photographs are not accepted.
A travel and health insurance certificate from your insurance company is required for a Russian visa and must be attached to the visa application. The certificate must include the dates of validity for your insurance policy. The insurance must cover the time period for which the visa is applied. Please note that a copy of the insurance card or a copy of the insurance policy is not adequate proof of insurance.
A visa is subject to a fee. The fees vary, depending on the validity period of the visa and the fee of the agent. The visa is attached to your passport, so you will have to hand over your passport to the agent, for the duration of the visa application processing. It usually takes from two weeks (a single-entry visa) up to six weeks (multiple-entry visa) to process an application.
Here are some agents who accept visa applications in Lappeenranta:

Saimaa Travel Oy


Saimaan Liikene