Lappeenranta (Finnish: [ˈlɑpːeːnˌrɑntɑ]; Swedish: Villmanstrand) is a city in Finland and the regional capital of South Karelia. It is located in the southeastern interior of the country and in the Finnish Lakeland. The population of Lappeenranta is approximately 73,000, while the sub-region has a population of approximately 88,000. It is the 13th most populous municipality in Finland, and the 11th most populous urban area in the country.

Lappeenrannan kaupunki
Villmanstrands stad
City of Lappeenranta
The city landscape
The city landscape
Coat of arms of Lappeenranta
Location of Lappeenranta in Finland
Location of Lappeenranta in Finland
Coordinates: 61°04′N 028°11′E / 61.067°N 28.183°E / 61.067; 28.183
Country Finland
Region South Karelia
Sub-regionLappeenranta sub-region
 • City managerKimmo Jarva
 • Total1,723.56 km2 (665.47 sq mi)
 • Land1,433.99 km2 (553.67 sq mi)
 • Water290.14 km2 (112.02 sq mi)
 • Rank47th largest in Finland
 • Total72,988
 • Rank13th largest in Finland
 • Density50.9/km2 (132/sq mi)
Population by native language
 • Finnish89.9% (official)
 • Swedish0.2%
 • Others9.9%
Population by age
 • 0 to 1413.6%
 • 15 to 6462.1%
 • 65 or older24.2%
Time zoneUTC+02:00 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+03:00 (EEST)

Lappeenranta is located on the shore of Lake Saimaa, 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Russian border and 64 kilometres (40 mi) from the city of Vyborg. Lappeenranta is one of the most important urban centres in the entire Saimaa region, together with the cities of Imatra, Mikkeli and Savonlinna.[6] Lappeenranta incorporated the late municipalities of Lappee and Lauritsala in 1967, Nuijamaa in 1989, Joutseno in 2009 and Ylämaa in 2010.

Lappeenranta, the region's tourism centre, is the second most visited city in Finland by Russian tourists after Helsinki and competes with Helsinki for the largest share of tax-free sales in Finland. Lappeenranta is a model for renewable energy and a clean living environment. Lappeenranta was the only Finnish city among the 14 finalists of the international Earth Hour City Challenge 2014 organised by WWF. In 2009, Lappeenranta was ranked fourth in the comparison of the largest Finnish cities, while in the 2008 survey the city was ranked fifth.[7] In a survey conducted among business representatives in 2011, Lappeenranta was ranked 17th among Finnish cities in terms of image.[8]

Lappeenranta Airport, opened in 1918 and located in the city centre, is Finland's oldest operating airport.


Historical affiliations
Map of Lappeenranta in the 1890s

The village of Kauskila, located about eight kilometers to the south of downtown Lappeenranta, was among the most significant Karelian population centers in South Karelia during the Middle Ages.[9] Kauskila has been continuously inhabited for approximately 2,000 years.[10]

Lappeenranta's original core settlement, Lapvesi, later Lappee, was originally formed around a headland jutting into Lake Saimaa, the site of the present fortress. The public market was established here, which became so important as a trading place that general Governor Count Per Brahe the Younger proposed that the Swedish government should grant town privileges to Lapvesi. The town was chartered in 1649 by Queen Christina of Sweden.[11] At the time, Lapvesi was an important port for tar.[12]

Between 1721 and 1743, Lappeenranta was the capital of Kymmenegård and Nyslott County and during this period the Swedes built the fortress out in stages.[13]

In 1741, the Battle of Villmanstrand was fought between the Swedish and Russian armies in the Russo-Swedish War of 1741–1743. The battle ended in a Russian victory. The town was pillaged, wooden structures including the provincial chancellery were burnt and the ecclesiastical archives damaged. The remaining portion of Old Finland still belonging to Sweden, including Lappeenranta, was ceded by Sweden to Russia per the Treaty of Turku. Following the creation of the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809, Old Finland was joined to the Grand Duchy in 1812 as a gesture of goodwill by Alexander I of Russia.[14]

Lappeenranta incorporated the neighbouring municipalities of Lappee and Lauritsala on 1 January 1967, Nuijamaa on 1 January 1989, Joutseno on 1 January 2009, and Ylämaa on 1 January 2010.[15]



The name Lappeenranta consists of the genitive of Lappee (the name of the original core town) and the common noun ranta which means "shore". The history of Lappeenranta includes the rural municipality of Lappee and the hundred Lapvesi. The Swedish name Villmanstrand contains the words vildman meaning "wild man" and strand also meaning "shore". A wild man is depicted on Lappeenranta's coat of arms.



Located on the southern shore of Lake Saimaa, Lappeenranta's neighboring municipalities on the Finnish side are Imatra, Lemi, Luumäki, Miehikkälä, Ruokolahti and Taipalsaari, and on the Russian side, neighbors include Svetogorsk and Kamennogorsk.



Lappeenranta has a humid continental climate of the warm-summer type (Köppen: Dfb). The summers are longer, although rarely hot, and usually warm. Some of the warmest summers in the country can be found here, due to its orientation: southern but inland. Being in an eastern part of Finland, the winters are often harsh but still mild compared to areas further east.[16][17]

Anchorage has some similarities by being of marine influence of hot currents and at the same time of the marginal continentality. But Lappeenranta is still able to receive heat waves that cross Central Europe in a warmer climate than cool.[18]

Climate changes


Between 2000 and 2017 the temperature change was greater than the whole previous century, with +1.2 °C (higher values than Helsinki or Oulu). Since 2000 the number of warm days (> 24 °C) has become 2 per year, while the 1900 data indicates only 2 days per decade. From the first half of the twentieth century the days above 24 °C changed from rare to occasional in the second half to regular in the present century. There was also a 17.5 decrease in temperature below −1 °C for the same comparison period. 2015 was the hottest year since 1900, having one of the less than 50 days with freezing days.[19] Work to reduce the temperature increase has been carried out; the city is again among the best 45 cities in the world in the WWF City Challenge 2016. One of the goals is to reduce carbon dioxide by 30% by 2020 and zero emissions by 2050.[20] According to the 1961-1990 climate norms, the climate of Lappenranta was a climate of continental subarctic zone (Köppen: Dfc) closely bordering on the humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb). Compared to decades ago, the total amount of precipitation has also increased somewhat.

Climate data for Lappeenranta airport, 1991-2020 normals, extremes 1961 - present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.5
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −4.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.7
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −9.4
Record low °C (°F) −36.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 44.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.0 8.0 8.0 7.0 7.0 8.0 10.0 12.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 12.0 118
Mean monthly sunshine hours 33.2 72.6 132.3 179.9 262.6 267.0 259.9 209.1 123.6 71.6 24.5 18.7 1,655
Source: NOAA[21]





The city of Lappeenranta has 72,988 inhabitants, making it the 13th most populous municipality in Finland. The Lappeenranta region has a population of 88,087. In Lappeenranta, 10.1% of the population has a foreign background, which is the same as the national average.[22]

Population size of Lappeenranta (and merged municipalities) 1990–2020[23]
Year Population



Population by mother tongue (2023)[22]

  Finnish (89.9%)
  Russian (4.6%)
  English (0.5%)
  Chinese (0.4%)
  Estonian (0.3%)
  Arabic (0.3%)
  Farsi (0.3%)
  Other (3.6%)

Lappeenranta is a monolingual Finnish-speaking municipality. There are 121 Swedish speakers in Lappeenranta, or 0.2% of the population.[22] As English and Swedish are compulsory school subjects, functional bilingualism or trilingualism acquired through language studies is not uncommon.

At least 50 different languages are spoken in Lappeenranta. The most commonly spoken foreign languages are Russian (4.6%), English (0.5%), Chinese (0.4%) and Estonian (0.3%).[22]


Population by country of birth (2022)[23]
Nationality Population %
  Finland 66,437 91.4
  Soviet Union 2,312 3.2
  Russia 753 1.0
  China 225 0.3
  India 174 0.2
  Iran 174 0.2
  Sweden 161 0.2
  Estonia 157 0.2
  Turkey 154 0.2
  Thailand 140 0.2
  Vietnam 135 0.2
Other 1,828 2.5

As of 2023, there were 7,357 persons with a migrant background living in Lappeenranta, or 10.1% of the population.[note 1] The number of residents who were born abroad was 6,983, or 9.6% of the population. The number of persons with foreign citizenship living in Lappeenranta was 4,621[22] Most foreign-born citizens came from the former Soviet Union, Russia, China and India.[23]

The relative share of immigrants in Lappeenranta's population is the same as to the national average. Moreover, the city's new residents are increasingly of foreign origin. This will increase the proportion of foreign residents in the coming years.



In 2023, the Evangelical Lutheran Church was the largest religious group with 66.8% of the population of Lappeenranta. Other religious groups accounted for 2.6% of the population. 30.5% of the population had no religious affiliation.[25]



The city's main employers[26] are the:


Autumn in Lappeenranta
Pedestrian street in the city center
Huge sand art in Lappeenranta

Lappeenranta is known as a summer city, mostly due to its closeness to Lake Saimaa, Europe's 4th largest lake. The eponymous GoSaimaa ( provides all the touristic activities in the area. In addition, its inland location means that summers tend to be warmer and winters colder than along the coastal areas.

Lappeenranta has a healthy winter tourism industry. Various cabins around Lake Saimaa, as well as numerous snowmobiles, Nordic skating, floating in the river, reindeer rides, paragliding, skiing and sledding tracks draw a fair number of winter visitors. The proximity of the Russian border is increasingly evident in the number of Russian tourists visiting the city. In fact, Lappeenranta is closer to Saint Petersburg (195 km or 121 miles) than it is to Helsinki, the capital of Finland (220 km or 140 miles). The presence of Russian tourists is noticeable by the many Russian registered cars on the streets and the use of Cyrillic letters in signs of some shops.

Places and events

  • The old fortress, with a number of museums, cafés and the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Finland. [citation needed]
  • St. Mary's Church of Lappee, an 18th-century wooden church in the center of the city.
  • The harbour area, with cruises to Vyborg and the nearby Saimaa Canal.
  • The central market place, where you can enjoy the local specialities, such as meat pies known as "Atomi" (atom) or "Vety" (hydrogen).
  • The Night of The Fortess, a two-day cultural festival held in early August.
  • The Lappeenranta Ballet Gala in late August.[29]
  • The annual Lappeenranta National Singing Contest.
  • The biggest sand castle in Finland is built next to Port of Lappeenranta every summer.[30]
  • There are three private cinema theatres in Lappeenranta: Kino-Aula, Nuijamies and Finnkino.
  • Major league home games in ice-hockey (SaiPa), basketball (Namika Lappeenranta) and other sports.
  • The IIHF World Championship Under 18, in 2014
  • Unlimited Racing Event, on 27 and 29 June 2014


Finland against Norway during the 2004 Women's Bandy World Championship

Lappeenranta has several sports teams playing in top levels of Finnish sports leagues.

SaiPa is an ice hockey team playing in the highest level in Finland, SM-liiga. SaiPa was fourth in the national Ice hockey league in the season of 2013–2014. 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship - Tournament was played Kisapuisto Ice Hall, Lappeenranta & Imatra Ice Hall during 17–27 April 2014. United States won the tournament, Czech Republic was second and Canada was the third.

Lappeenrannan NMKY is a basketball team playing in the third highest level in I-division B and have won two championships in 2005 and 2006.

NST plays floorball in the Salibandyliiga and Rajaritarit is an American football team in the Vaahteraliiga.

Lappeenrannan Veiterä, or just Veiterä, plays in Bandyliiga and has been Finnish champions five times, including in 2017. They have been the champions for women and for girls born in 1995 and 1998.[31] The city hosted the first ever Women's Bandy World Championship in 2004 and in 2014 the tournament was again played in Lappeenranta. The Old Boys World Cup is annually hosted in town, in 2017 for the seventh time.[32]

In women's sports Catz Lappeenranta plays basketball and Pesä Ysit plays Finnish baseball, both in the top leagues of the nation. Catz has won Finnish national basketball championship four times in a row.


The Lappeenranta Airport terminal
Jouko sub-urban buses in city center of Lappeenranta, Koulukatu street, 29th of September 2020
Jouko route guide app (Digitransit) in mobile phone

Lappeenranta is connected to neighbouring cities and municipalities by road. The city is located 215 kilometres (134 mi) from Helsinki and 195 kilometres (121 mi) from St. Petersburg. From Lappeenranta, the distance to Joensuu, the capital of North Karelia, is 233 kilometres (145 mi) along Highway 6.

There are multiple daily train departures to destinations within Finland from the Lappeenranta and Joutseno stations and to Russia from Vainikkala station. The Allegro train service operating between Helsinki and St. Petersburg stops in Vainikkala, a village in Lappeenranta. The journey time to Helsinki is about 2 hours and St. Petersburg about 1.5 hours.

During the summer, when Lake Saimaa and the Saimaa Canal are accessible by water, there is a visa-free connection by ship from Lappeenranta to Vyborg, Russia.

The regionally owned Lappeenranta Airport is located west of the city center.[33] The airport predominantly serves charter flights to southern Europe, the Canary Islands and Madeira, as well as regularly scheduled flights on Irish airline Ryanair to Italy.

The public transport is by bus and is called Jouko.[34] The Jouko-buses are pink-colored and they serve 12 sub-urban lines (1, 1X, 2, 2H, 3, 3K, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12 and 14) and 21 regional lines (100, 101, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 120, 121, 130, 131, 200, 201, 300, 301, 500, 601, 602, 603, 610, 620). Jouko has Waltti-travel card, to which you can charge a 30-day season ticket (travel zones A-D) or a value tickets, which works also in other finnish cities which do have the Waltti-ticket system. Other ways to buy a ticket in Jouko-buses are single tickets (payment with cash or credit card), mobile-tickets (PayIQ, etc.) and 24-hour ticket. Jouko has also own route-guide (, where you can plan a route, see timetables and also see all the Jouko-buses in the map. You can also view delays, exceptions, and other releases. Jouko sub-urban transport is operated by Savonlinja. Regional lines are operated by Savonlinja, Soisalon Liikenne, V-S Bussipalvelut, Vento and Mikkonen. The bus fleet consists of low-floor city buses, and the bus models are Scania Lahti Scala, Volvo 8900LE and Scania Citywide LE Suburban (two of them are CNG-buses).

Jouko sub-urban routes

  • 1 University – City centre – Kiiskinmäki
  • 1X University – City centre
  • 2 Kivisalmi – City centre – Hovinpelto (on Sundays via central hospital)
  • 2H Hovinpelto – Railway station – City centre
  • 3 Leiri – Railway station – City centre – Pikisaari – Kariniemi – Kivisalmi
  • 3K Kivisalmi – City centre – Kesämäki
  • 4 Mäntylä – City centre – Karhuvuori
  • 5 University – City centre – Railway station
  • 7 Mustola – City centre
  • 8 Kariniemi – Pikisaari – City centre – Ruoholampi – Rutola
  • 12 University – City centre/Kivisalmi – City centre/City centre – Karhuvuori – Lauritsala – Hovinpelto – Mustola – Kiiskinmäki/Kiiskinmäki – Kanavansuu – Lauritsala – City centre
  • 14 Mäntylä – City centre – Karhuvuori – Mustola



Lappeenranta is known as an international university city in Finland with LUT University and LAB University of Applied Sciences which together have approximately 13,000 students from 68 countries. Lappeenranta is also a commercial centre of South-East Finland and the meeting point of the EU and Russia, 215 kilometres (134 mi) from both Helsinki and St. Petersburg.

Lappeenranta has numerous schools at almost all levels of education, including the LUT University, LAB University of Applied Sciences,[35] located in a shared Skinnarila campus of around 8000 students, the Army Academy (branch of the Finnish Defence Forces), South Karelia Vocational College and South Karelia Adult Education Centre.

Notable people


In media


Lappeenranta is the setting for Bordertown, the Finnish police drama broadcast by Netflix.

Twin towns – sister cities


Lappeenranta is twinned with:[36]

See also



  1. ^ Statistics Finland classifies a person as having a "foreign background" if both parents or the only known parent were born abroad.[24]


  1. ^ "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Population growth biggest in nearly 70 years". Population structure. Statistics Finland. 2024-04-26. ISSN 1797-5395. Retrieved 2024-04-29.
  3. ^ "Population growth biggest in nearly 70 years". Population structure. Statistics Finland. 2024-04-26. ISSN 1797-5395. Retrieved 2024-04-29.
  4. ^ "Population according to age (1-year) and sex by area and the regional division of each statistical reference year, 2003–2020". StatFin. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Luettelo kuntien ja seurakuntien tuloveroprosenteista vuonna 2023". Tax Administration of Finland. 14 November 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  6. ^ "Finland Travel - Getting to Mikkeli and Savonlinna, Lake Saimaa | Visit Saimaa".
  7. ^ "Lappeenrannan imago korkealla". YLE (in Finnish). December 8, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "Lappeenrannan imago hyvää keskisarjaa". Etelä-Saimaa (in Finnish). December 2, 2011. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  9. ^ Paasikivi, Jyrki; Talka, Anu (2018). Rajamaa - Etelä Karjalan Historia I (in Finnish). Keuruu: Otavan Kirjapaino Oy. p. 204. ISBN 978-951-37-7468-4.
  10. ^ Paasikivi, Jyrki; Talka, Anu (2018). Rajamaa - Etelä Karjalan Historia I (in Finnish). Keuruu: Otavan Kirjapaino Oy. p. 192. ISBN 978-951-37-7468-4.
  11. ^ "History". City of Lappeenranta. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. ^ Paasikivi, Jyrki; Talka, Anu (2018). Rajamaa - Etelä Karjalan Historia I (in Finnish). Keuruu: Otavan Kirjapaino Oy. p. 395. ISBN 978-951-37-7468-4.
  13. ^ "Fortress, History". City of Lappeenranta. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Vanha Suomi syntyi ennen Suomen suuriruhtinaskuntaa". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). December 12, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  15. ^ "Etelä-Karjalasta yksi kunta". YLE. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  16. ^ "Lappeenranta, Finland Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  17. ^ "Lappeenranta Climate Lappeenranta Temperatures Lappeenranta Weather Averages". Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  18. ^ "Average Weather in Lappeenranta, Finland, Year Round - Weather Spark". Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  19. ^ "Europe 1° Warmer: Lappeenranta". Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  20. ^ "LAPPENRANTA Green Reality".
  21. ^ "Lappeenranta (02958) - WMO Weather Station". NOAA. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Population growth biggest in nearly 70 years". Population structure. Statistics Finland. 2024-04-26. ISSN 1797-5395. Retrieved 2024-04-29.
  23. ^ a b c "Number of foreign-language speakers grew by nearly 38,000 persons". Statistics Finland. 31 May 2023. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  24. ^ "Persons with foreign background". Statistics Finland. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  25. ^ Key figures on population by region, 1990-2023 Statistics Finland
  26. ^ Statistics Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine. (In Finnish) The city of Lappeenranta, Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  27. ^ "en - Lappeenrannan kaupunki".
  28. ^ "Etusivu".
  29. ^ Lappeenranta Ballet Gala Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine. The city of Lappeenranta, Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  30. ^ Sandcastle Lappeenranta Archived 2010-10-11 at the Wayback Machine. The official homepage of the Lappeenranta sandcastle, Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  31. ^ "Kampparit new Finnish Champions in bandy". Archived from the original on April 19, 2014.
  32. ^ [bare URL image file]
  33. ^ "Lappeenranta Airport acquired by new company / News archive". Finavia. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  34. ^ "Paikallisliikenne - Lappeenrannan kaupunki".
  35. ^ "Saimaa University of Applied Sciences". January 15, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15.
  36. ^ "Twin cities". Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  37. ^ "Twin Cities". Rakvere. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  38. ^ "Schwäbisch Hall and its twin towns". Stadt Schwäbisch Hall. Archived from the original on 2014-09-26. Retrieved 2013-07-26.