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My trip around Lake Ladoga by car

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Submitted by Serg A Nik on Wed, 08/12/2020 - 16:07

Wondering where to travel? If you like to travel by car, one of the interesting routes in the northwest of Russia is a trip around Lake Ladoga.

The length of the route on the map is about 800 km. The road runs through the Leningrad region and the territory of the Republic of Karelia. You definitely want to deviate from the shortest routes to visit interesting places, and therefore your actual route will be a little longer.

The notes and photos on this page were taken in the summer of 2020.

Road to the Republic of Karelia

The distance between St. Petersburg and the city of Lodeiniye Polye is about 220 kilometers. The route runs on the R21 "Kola" highway (Russian Р18 «Кола»).

About 100 kilometers from the St. Petersburg ring road and 10 kilometers from the highway R-21 "Kola" is the village of Staraya Ladoga. This is one of the oldest settlements in Russia. (Founded in 753.) Here you can see the ancient fortress and the place where the Wise Prince Oleg is buried.

Lodeynoye Pole has few attractions. The main natural site of the city can be considered the Svir River, which flows from Lake Onega to Lake Ladoga. The road passes Lodeynoye Polye, but since we are on our way and there is no hurry, it is better to drive through the city.

Near the border between the Leningrad region and the Republic of Karelia, on the shores of Lake Roshinskoye, is Alexander Svirsky Holy Trinity Monastery. I recommend that you visit the monastery.

There is a hotel near the monastery. You can linger here and spend time in a beautiful place by the lake.

Alexander Svirsky Holy Trinity Monastery
Pictured: Alexander Svirsky Monastery. (Leningrad region.)

Olonets is the first city in Karelia, on its way from St. Petersburg around Ladoga Lake. It is an old town, but no historical sights have been saved in Olonets. The city has a museum and an exhibition hall. In winter, the city hosts Santa Claus festivals.

There is a monument to Lenin in the central square. The statue of Lenin is probably in all Russian cities.

On a small island, at the confluence of the Olonka and Megrega rivers, there is a church.

The pedestrian bridge is next to the bus station. There are few such bridges in Russia.

The church in Olonets
Pictured: church on the island in the city of Olonets.

The hotel is located in the city center at the crossroads of St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk (Murmansk) and Pitkäranta.

Hotel Olonets
In the photo: hotel in Olonets. We recommend booking in advance.

Hanging, pedestrian bridges can be found at two points along the route. The bridge wobbles a little as pedestrians walk on it.

Hanging, pedestrian bridge
On the photo: Hanging, pedestrian bridge.

The road "86-K8" runs from Olonets to Pitkäranta via: Ilyinsky (Ильинский), Tuloksa (Тулокса), Vidlitsa (Видлица), Pogrankondushy (Погранкондуши), Salmy. To the north of Tuloksa village, the road runs along the shores of Lake Ladoga (in some places it is getting closer, and in some places it moves away from the shore). Between the villages of Tuloksa and Vidlitsa and north of Vidlitsa there are places where you can drive to the beach of Ladoga (put up a tent, swim and sunbathe).

The shore of Lake Ladoga here is a wonderful, many kilometers long, shallow sandy beach. There are no crowds here and you can relax, swim, sunbathe, walk on the sand without the crowds.

Ladoga Lake beach
Pictured: The shore of Lake Ladoga.

Between the villages of Tuloksa and Vidlitsa, a resort has recently been built on the shores of Lake Ladoga.


  • Olonets - Pitkäranta - 120 km.
  • Olonets - Petrozavodsk - 150 km.
  • Olonets - Priozersk - 310 km.
  • Olonets - Niirala (Värtsilä) - 240 km.

The road between Olonets and Pitkäranta was in poor condition in the summer of 2020. (The road will be repaired.)

Until 1940, the area of the village of Pogrankondushy was the border between Russia (Soviet Union) and Finland (before that, between Sweden and Russia). There is still a landmark (rock) on the shores of Lake Ladoga. (There is a sign on the road - Варашев камень.)

The distance from Pitkäranta to Sortavala is about 70 kilometers. The A-121 road is in good condition (summer 2020).

On the way you will see a power plant in the village of Läskelä. A kind of papermaking machine has been installed (as a monument) near the power plant.

About 30 kilometers from Sortavalla, on the road from Sortavalla to Niirala (Värtsilä) there is the Ruskeala stone park. It was a marble quarry before that has become a popular tourist destination.

Sortavala is a small town, but it has some architectural landmarks, old buildings. But the main attraction of Karelia is its nature.
The historic buildings are mainly located on Karelskaya Street. Nearby, on Lenin Street, is a beautiful old wooden town hall building.
Fire station in Sortavala
Pictured: old, wooden fire station and Leanter's house in Sortavala.

The road from the town of Sortavala to St. Petersburg runs through Lahdenpohya and Priozersk. The road to Lahdenpohya is very winding and hilly, be careful. (The asphalt pavement was in good condition this year.)

Niirala – Värtsilä is the nearest Finland border crossing point. The distance from Niirala to Sortavala is about 60 km.

About 10 km from Lahdenpohya, near the village of Lumivaara, is a Finnish church.

Finnish church in the village of Lumivaara
Pictured: Finnish church in the village of Lumivaara.

To get to the church, you have to turn off the A-121 road. The road has not an asphalt surface (2020).

The distance from Sortavala to Priozersk is about 120 kilometers. The road is in good condition.

Priozersk is in the Leningrad region. The most famous attraction of Priozersk city is a Castle (ven: Крепость Корела).

Priozersk castle
Picture: Priozersk castlr.

The distance from Priozersk to St. Petersburg is about 130 km. The road is in good condition. (Near St. Petersburg, the road has two lanes in each direction.)

Ladoga-route map.
Ladoga-route map.



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