Tourist season is very short in Karelia. But the northern nature of this land is so beautiful and peculiar that you should come there. Karelia is suitable for both a quiet secluded rest on the bank of a forest lake and active tourism, as well as the most interesting excursion programs.
Karelia has excellent environmental conditions. There are forests consisting mainly of pine trees, a lot of lakes, rivers, and creeks in Karelia. The ground is mainly stony and even rocky, but this makes the landscapes of Karelia very picturesque, as all boulders are covered with multi-colored mosses.
A huge number of lakes and rivers makes it possible to develop eco-tourism in Karelia. Those who want to have a quiet rest in the open come in Karelia. There you can fish, walk on the forest paths, gather mushrooms and berries at daytime, and go to the baths in the evening. And if the weather is fine, you can even swim. But unfortunately, you can swim only in July and August in Karelia.
Karelia also has the historic sites of the universal importance. Of course, the most important of them are the Solovetsky Monastery, the islands Kizhi and Valaam. If you go to Solovki through Belomorsk, you should see the Belomorsk petroglyphs. Karelia also has some natural sites, such as the Kivach Waterfall and the Ruskeala Marble Canyon, and, of course, Ladoga Lake that abounds in picturesque skerries and islands in the north.
Kizhi Island is on the Onega Lake in Karelia, and you should go there through Petrozavodsk. On Kizhi the Museum of Wooden Architecture is located where you can see wooden churches with multiple cupolas, which were built without nails.
Valaam Island in Karelia is a Russian Orthodox sanctuary. The Monastery of the Transfiguration of Our Savior is located on Valaam. It consists of the central estate on the top of the hill where the main church and the belfry are located, and a great number of skits. Valaam has an exceptionally beautiful nature, so you will long remember a trip to this island.
Perhaps, the Solovetsky Monastery is of the greatest interest in the Russian North. It is located on the Solovetsky Islands on the White Sea in Karelia, and you can get to it either from Belomorsk or Kem` by water, and from Arkhangelsk by air. Solovki isn’t just a Russian sanctuary; many call it the «Russian Golgotha», as this monastery has a very tragic history. The huge Solovetsky Kremlin, which walls are made of heavy slabs, makes a strong impression. The skits are scattered all over the island, the most interesting of them being the Ascension Skit on the Sekirnaya mount, and the Skit of St. Andrew on the Zayatsky island.
If you travel over Karelia by car, you can make an interesting route. From St. Petersburg you should set out to Sortavala and stay there for several days, have a rest and fish, as well as have a trip to Valaam, the Ruskeala Marble Canyon, or a boat ride over the skerries of Lake Ladoga. From Sortavala you should go to Petrozavodsk, have a trip to Kizhi and then continue to Belomorsk. Near Kondopoga you should see the waterfall Kivach. And from Belomorsk you should go to Solovki for at least 3 days. From Belomorsk you may return to St. Petersburg.