Visa-free Cruises to Vyborg, St.Petersburg and Lake Ladoga

Welcome to our visa-free cruises to Russia in summer 2017!

Would you like to relax with a glass of wine on board a ship, enjoy the cosy atmosphere of Russian town Vyborg or shop until you drop? Or would you like to combine our cruise with a visit to uniquely beautiful St. Petersburg?

A cruise down to Vyborg and back on M/S Carelia along the historic Saimaa Canal from Lappeenranta is an experience itself. On board you can relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery and experience the locks. The height difference between the water levels of Lake Saimaa and the Gulf of Finland is 76 metres! Excellent cuisine from our buffet table top off your cruise. Our crew looks after you and arranges activities and entertainment during the cruise.

In Vyborg you will be able to visit tourist attractions, stop by to have a cup of coffee or go shopping in numerous stores. Would you like to purchase some traditional souvenirs from Vyborg: linen, crystal, matroska dolls? The Market Hall offers a lively atmosphere and the possibility to shop everything from groceries to clothes, linen and souvenirs. In department stores and small boutiques you can make real finds from the latest fashion to vintage. The variety of restaurants and cafes is wide and you can enjoy delicious food at reasonable prices. The town library designed by world-famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto is worth visiting and so is the Hermitage Vyborg Museum.

During our 3-day tour to St.Petersburg you first cruise to Vyborg. In the same afternoon we travel to St.Petersburg by bus and you experience the River Neva and numerous canals on an evening cruise. You have a chance to visit the Hermitage Museum and other unique sights during a full day in the city! On the third day MS Carelia takes you back from Vyborg to Lappeenranta.

On our visa-free tour to Old Valaam you will see the magnificent Lake Ladoga - the largest lake in Europe and the enchanting Old Valaam Monastery, located on the largest island of Lake Ladoga.

Our cruises to Russia by M/S Carelia from Lappeenranta are visa-free for citizens of all countries. Gather your family and friends together and book a cruise to Russia!

The cruise season runs from May to September. The departure harbour for M/S Carelia cruises to Russia is Lappeenranta.

We recommend booking your trip well in advance, because visa-free cruises have become more and more popular every year. You can choose the best option for you from a one-day to a three-day cruise to Vyborg, a three-day tour to magnificent St.Petersburg or a three-day tour to the enchanting Old Valaam!

Reservations and inquiries: Please call +358 5 5410 100 or e-mail saimaatravel(at)


Visa-free cruise, 1 day in Vyborg

Take a visa-free cruise to Vyborg on Finnish M/S Carelia along the historic Saimaa Canal. In Vyborg you'll have a couple of hours to see and feel the town. Welcome to M/S Carelia visa free cruises!



Visa-free cruise, 2 days in Vyborg

Would you like to get to know Vyborg a little better? Book a 2-day cruise with a hotel accommodation. When you travel both ways by M/S Carelia, you don't need a Russian visa.

Visa-free cruise, 3 days in Vyborg

 With 3 days in Vyborg, you'll have a lot of time to shop around and stop in charming cafes and restaurants - or check the nightlife in Vyborg! If you are interested in museums and art, a visit to the Hermitage Vyborg centre is a must. Or maybe you want to visit a luxurious beauty salon?

Visa-free cruise, 3 days in St.Petersburg

Would you like to explore beautiful St. Petersburg without the effort of applying for a visa?
Step on board M/S Carelia and travel via the unique Saimaa Canal to Vyborg and further to magnificent St.Petersburg.

Visa-free cruise to Old Valaam, 3 days

See the beautiful Lake Ladoga, the Old Valaam Monastery and interesting little town of Priozersk - all on our visa-free tours.

On the first tour in June 27-29 we will make an excursiong ot the island of Old Valaam, on the second tour in August 2-4 the excursion is to the island of Konevsky Monastery.

Caravan package with a visa-free cruise to Vyborg

If you are travelling with a caravan or looking for a cheaper accommodation possibilities at Lake Saimaa, book the Caravan package for two!


Visa-free Cruises to Vyborg, St.Petersburg and Lake Ladoga

M/S Carelia

M/S Carelia

MS Carelia sails under the Finnish flag, has Finnish staff and can take approximately 200 passengers. The ship has two inner decks amd a sun deck. Cruising season is from May to September. It is also possible to book M/S Carelia for a charter cruise.

Our cruise hostess on board serves you in all questions and tells you about the history of the Saimaa Canal with announcements during the cruise. In addition, you can enjoy music, lottery and other activities.

On board there are two cosy restaurants:buffet restaurant Monrepos and music restaurant Knut Posse. In the tax free shop you can buy sweets, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages at a reasonable price. The tax-free shop has a small collection of perfumes, cosmetics and souvenirs and it serves as a currency exchange office.

If you need a quiet place for your group, you can book our Pamaus cabinet for 10 persons.

Technican information

Built in 1969, Husum Germany (former M/S Ostsee)
Home port since 1986 - Lappeenranta
Renovations 1986, 2004 and 2011.
Main engines 2 x 375kW
Speed 14 kn
393 BT
Draught 2,30 m
Lenght 41 m 
Beam 8,5 m 
Owner: Lappeenrannan Laivat Oy

Särä from Lemi - one of the seven wonders of Finland!

Särä from Lemi - one of the seven wonders of Finland!

Särä is a delicious lamb dish cooked in a wood-fired baking oven following a thousand-year old tradition. Slow cooking guarantees a delicious taste experience. In a guinuine Lemi way, Särä is best enjoyed slowly, and you can have as many servings as you like. Restaurant Säräpirtti Kippurasarvi is located in Lemi, half an hour’s drive from Lappeenranta, and hosted now by the second generation of the Hietaranta Family. Restaurant Säräpirtti Kippurasarvi is the only restaurant in Finland specialising in a single dish.

The Saimaa Canal

The Saimaa Canal

The Saimaa Canal was built from 1845 to 1856 and opened for traffic in 1856. The canal was built between the towns of Lappeenranta and Viipuri (now Vyborg, Russia), both of them then in the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire.

In the Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940, the Karelian Isthmus and the city of Vyborg were ceded to the Soviet Union, thus effectively splitting the canal in half and ending all traffic.

Following a treaty agreement in 1963, Russia leased the Russian section of the canal area to Finland for fifty years. Negotiations in 2008 agreed upon an extension of 50 years in 2013. A new deeper canal was constructed by the Finns and opened for traffic in 1968. The length of the canal itself is 43 km.

There is a height difference of 76 m between the levels of the Gulf of Finland and Lake Saimaa. There are eight locks in the canal to level this difference.


Lappeenranta information

Lappeenranta information

Lappeenranta is one of the most beautiful summer towns in Finland, known for friendly Karelian people and the beautiful nature of Lake Saimaa. It has first-class rail, air and road connections. Ryanair flies from Europe straight to the heart of Lappeenranta.




St. Petersburg offers something to everyone: culture, art, high fashion...You just name it!



Cozy town of Vyborg is situated only 40 kilometres from Lappeenranta. 


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