Feel the charm of the Russian North in Karelia

Victoria Derzhavina | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The expression “the charm of the Russian North” is commonly used. However, it is not easy to explain what does it mean and what attracts people there. Whether it be a cool and transparent water of the lakes and peaceful evenings on the shore or the gentle colours of the picturesque views or the milky silence of the white nights when the sunset meets the sunrise or perhaps the adventure travels, one thing is sure, in Karelia, you can feel the charm of the Russian North.

Photo © credits to VD

Karelian nature is harsh but beautiful

No doubt, the main attraction of Karelia is its nature. Karelian nature is harsh but beautiful. It is really a land of forests, rocks and water. There are 27 thousand rivers here. Most of them are turbulent rivers with waterfalls. Jukankoski waterfall is the highest one, and Kivach is the most famous. There are 60 thousand lakes, including two biggest European lakesLadoga and Onega with their picturesque skerries.

Photo © credits to goru.travel

If you are interested in history

People lived on this land since the immemorial time. If you are interested in history, you can go to the Besov Nos (Demon's Nose) or some other rocky shores of the White Sea, the Onega and Kanozero lakes and see petroglyphs from the IV-III millennia BC. Most of them are images of birds, animals, people, and boats, but there are also mysterious figures and geometric figures. You can also see them in the local museum.

Photo © credits to YaGeoman

There are more than 300 wooden churches and chapels in Karelia. The most famous examples of wooden architecture are collected in Kizhi, an Open Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography. You can taste the mineral water, rich in iron, in Martsialnye Vody, the first Russian health resort opened by Peter I in 1719.

Photo © credits to Nat-Geo/EduardGordeev

Adventure travels in Karelia are very popular

Together with eco and cultural tourism, the adventure travels in Karelia are very popular. Rapid rivers with many rifts are suitable for rafting and kayaking, and plenty of rocks invite you to climb and hike. You can choose between quad safaris, bicycle or jeep tours in summer and snowmobiling, reindeer or dogsledding in winter. Definitely, have a Karelian banya (sauna) with a birch whisk and dip in the lake, that could also be a kind of adventure.

Photo © credits to vkulinskaya

Finnish, Karelian and Veps cultures

Most of the people living in Karelia are Russians, but there are also Finnish, Karelian and Veps cultures. Here, you can listen to Veps or Karelian chorus or a kantele, traditional Finnish and Karelian musical instrument. Karelian cuisine is simple and usually includes rye, fish, the meat of wild animals, mushrooms, forest berries. The oldest traditional pastry, with a rye crust called ‘kalitka’, is the most popular.

Photo © credits to Irmeli Aro

Everything that you find in Karelia – its picturesque nature, remote monasteries on the small islands, wooden churches and chapels, peaceful lakes and waterfalls, white nights – makes you feel the charm of the Russian North.

Photo © credits to Suslay

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