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EUROVELO 13

The EuroVelo 13 Iron Curtain Trail runs in Finland between Näätämö on the Norwegian-Finnish border in northeastern Lapland and Vaalimaa at Virolahti in southeastern Finland. This 1687 km long trail takes you along the border between Finland and Russia in the vast and isolated parts of Finland where your companions for hours are varying birds, wildlife, and in Lapland an occasional reindeer. Green forests, open marshlands, swamps and bogs, hills and fells, rivers and streams, ponds and lakes in every size punctuate the route and change the scenery as you cycle along.

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Due to the route running in the more isolated areas, daily cycling routes are very long. On the way you visit many interesting towns and villages with an interesting cultural or historical heritage. These stops will give you the needed break off the saddle! 

 

The area between Virolahti and Lappeenranta and the towns such as Kuhmo and Imatra as well as Salla and Savukoski have great museums focusing on the history of defending Finland’s borders. One of the most impressive border-related constructions in the landscape is the Salpalinja defensive line that runs through Virolahti and Miehikkälä. Finland built the 1200 km long Salpalinja extending from the Gulf of Finland to Petsamo (Pechenga in Russia) to protect its border. Today it is one of the strongest and best preserved chains of fortifications from World War II in Europe. The Salpalinja constructions are very much visible throughout this EuroVelo 13 route both in nature and in museum areas.

 

Lappeenranta and Imatra offer you a glimpse of the Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland and fourth largest in Europe. The area around the entire Saimaa offers a multitude of  activities, pristine waters and a diverse nature. At Imatra, the river Vuoksi and the incredible Imatrankoski rapids are the main tourist attractions. Imatra is often considered the first tourist town in Finland, thanks to the 1772 visit by Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Later on the area was so popular with Russian royalty, that in 1842 Tsar Nicholas I ordered Kruununpuisto park to be built, making it the oldest nature park in Finland. 

Waterways are the old means of transportation in these backlands. Lakes such as Saimaa and Pielinen are beautiful areas and have inspired many Finnish artists. Rivers such as Vuoksi and Saimaa canal, Lieksanjoki, Tuulijoki, Jongunjoki, and Oulankajoki are now stunning sights to see along the route with the whitewater rapids, gorges, and canyons. Many of the towns, such as Kuhmo and Lieksa along the way still portray the old traditions related to log driving and timber rafting. They have even become a competitive sport, with national championships held in Finland each year. 

The further up north you cycle the landscape changes from rolling hills to forest covered fells and then the open fells in Lapland. Sallatunturi fell is close to the border between Finland and Russia and the bigger fells you see are actually on the other side. At Saariselkä, on a clear day the peaks of Sokosti at 718 meters and Kuikkapää at 678 meters are visible, a hike’s away in Urho Kekkonen National Park. 

In the north, the history and culture of the Sámi peoples is very much present at Sevettijärvi and Inari. Nordic nature lives in a state of continuous change: the increase and decrease of sunlight, the rise and fall of temperatures, summer and winter. There are a total of eight seasons in Lapland, and this polar year calendar is the basis for the rhythm of life for the Sámi. This rhythm and way of life is fabulously visible in the Siida museum in Inari.


The detailed route descriptions for the 545 km northern part of the EuroVelo 13 route between Sallatunturi and Näätämö are available at bikeland.fi

EUROVELO 13 IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT

The EuroVelo 13 route in Finland is under development. Route is not signposted, thus the only way to navigate on the route is with the GPX-track. You can download a GPX-track for the whole EuroVelo 13 route from the button below the map. EuroVelo 13 route in Finland has been divided into two section, Southern and Northern. The Northern section is developed and has suggested daily segments and specific trail notes available. The Southern Section is still under development and thus does not have specific trail notes yet. 

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