The historical royal road leads you from Helsinki to the east to the Russian border and on to Lappeenranta. The bike tour is designed for eight days.
The route between Sweden and Russia used to be used to transport mail. Therefore, this tour offers you all kinds of information about the history of Finland and how two world powers influenced it. With a few exceptions, the track is asphalted.
Day 1: From Helsinki to Porvoo
The first day trip of 62 km takes you along the east coast of Helsinki to Porvoo. You have a beautiful view of the capital of Finland. After passing the rows of boats, the villas and the beaches, the city panorama is replaced by deciduous forests. As soon as you leave Helsinki, the route continues in the countryside. Behind the estate "Haikon Kartano" the path goes along the river "Porvoojoki" towards Porvoo.
Day 2: From Porvoo to Loviisa
On the second day the tour continues in an easterly direction to Loviisa. The distance to be covered is about 52 km. After leaving Porvoo, you head towards Pernaja. The village is at the same time the possibility to take a break and have a cosy break. From there it is also not far to your stage finish. The church of Loviisa is visible from afar, so you can't miss the place.
Day 3: From Loviisa to Kotka
From Loviisa the third day will take you over 66 km east. You can see some fortresses built during the 18th century. Here you can make a small detour to visit the castles. Continue along the King's Road until you arrive at an ironworks village. It also exists since the 18th century and offers you the possibility to stay overnight if you want to do the rest of the day trip the next day. Otherwise, you drive to the huts along a narrow path that meanders through forests and past rapids. Before you reach Kotka, you will cross the Stockfors hut area and the village of Pyhtää, passing the rapids of Langinkoski and the imperial fishing hut. The hut is from the time of Emperor Alexander, who had it built on the banks of the river.
Day 4: from Kotka to Hamina
This stage is the shortest of the day's tours as it is only 30 km long. It would be a good idea to visit the sights of Kotka before you continue. To get to Hamina, all you have to do is follow the cycle path. The history of the town dates back to the 17th century. The city itself is built in a circle and the town hall is located in the centre.
Day 5: From Hamina to Virolahti/Miehikkälä
The route on day five takes you 49 km along the museum road between Hamina and Virojoki. The route is part of the Great Coastal Road, which was built at the end of the 14th century and connected the cities of Turku and Vyborg. Along the way there are numerous sights that will tell you all about the past centuries. One of them is the Salpalinja, a 1200 km long defensive line from the Second World War, which was supposed to protect the east of Finland. The area around Virolahti and Miehikkälä offers you many overnight accommodations.
Day 6: From Virolahti/Miehikkälä to Lappeenranta
The distance on the sixth day is also the longest of all day tours. With a length of 84 km you will reach the stage finish Lappeenranta only in the evening. But first you leave the Salpalinja behind you and drive towards the Saimaa Canal. On your way to Lappeenranta you will pass Ylämaa. Here, you should definitely visit the Gemstone Museum, which exhibits over 5000 gemstones, fossils and meteorites. After that there are about 50 km to your day's destination. As there are hardly any shops or restaurants along the route, you should make sure you have enough provisions.
Tag 7: From Lappeenranta via the Saimaa Canal back to Lappeenranta
On the penultimate day you start at the port of Lappeenranta and drive to the Saimaa Canal. At the bridge behind Lauritsala you cross it and follow the path along the canal to the border crossing Nuijamaa. You will discover the Soskua lock and the small ferry that allows you to cross the canal by bike. The village of Nuijamaa is a good place to rest before you drive back to Lappeenranta. When you have arrived at your destination, you have completed 70 km of the route.
Day 8: Visit of Lappeenranta
On the last day you have the possibility to visit Lappeenranta. In summer the harbour and the market place are ideal for a cosy rest.
From Lappeenranta you can return to Helsinki by train or bus. However, you should book your return trip before the start of the tour, otherwise you may not be allowed to take your bike with you.
Where to eat
The possibilities for accommodation and refreshments are sometimes very limited, so that you should get information before the tour. However, the towns and villages that you visit on your journey all offer a place to stop for a bite to eat. Only on the sixth day you have to cover the 50 km without a stopover, so that you should provide enough food here.
- The bike trail is one of the family friendly trails in the region. The bike trail is also perfect if the kid’s wanna bring their dog on the trip.
- If you get hungry along the way, there are places to rest and get food. Nevertheless it’s recommended to also have enough water and food in your backpack when hiking or biking.
Highlights of the tour
Every day tour offers sights you should see if your time permits.
The city Porvoo, which you reach at the end of your first stage, is the second oldest city in Finland and offers interesting wooden houses for sightseeing. The history of the town goes back to the 18th century.
On the second day you come to the village Pernaja, which has a medieval church. The village is also the birthplace of Mikael Agricola, who laid the foundations for Finnish literary language. Stations from his life are marked there with signs.
The city of Loviisa, like Porvoo, is from the 18th century. On the third day you will drive past fortresses from this century, which you should have a closer look at.
The fourth stage of the day takes you to the small town surrounded by ramparts Kotka. The city has an unusual circular development, which is very rare.
On the fifth day you reach the Salpalinja, the defense line built during the Second World War to protect the eastern border. In the Bunker Museum in Virolahti and in the Salpalinja Museum in Miehikkälä you can get more information about it. The way there contains all sorts of sights, which give you information about the history of Finland of the last centuries.
The sixth day leads you to the Saimaa shore. There is a very interesting Precious Stone Museum that exhibits more than 5,000 gems, fossils and meteorites from all over the world.
On the penultimate day the Saimaa channel with its museum is waiting for you. There you will have the opportunity to learn more about the operation of the channel.
The last day is for recreation. When visiting the city Lappeenranta you should definitely visit its fortress and sand castle. Afterwards you can take a break at the harbour or at the market place to review the past week.
The bike tour can also be ridden in reverse order. It is also possible to choose a different starting point for the tour or omit the last day.
Travelling by plane
The arrival by plane is the easiest way to get to Helsinki, as the airport can be approached directly. It is located about 20 km from the capital in Vantaa. However, there are several ways to get to Helsinki from there.
Arrival with public transport
There is a shuttle bus to and from Helsinki airport and Helsinki railway station as well as bus line 615 to Helsinki. The journey time is about 35 minutes and the boarding point is in front of the airport terminal.
Travelling by car
Finland can also be reached by car via Sweden and Denmark. You can take the so-called bird route or the country road over the Belt Bridge to Copenhagen and from there over the Öresund Bridge to Malmö. However, the bridges are subject to tolls. From Stockholm we continue on the Silja-Line to Turku or Helsinki or you take the Viking Line.
Another option is to rent a car. There are companies for this at the airport as well as in Helsinki. The cheaper alternative would be a shared taxi from the airport to the capital.
Drive with special caution, as moose or reindeer often cross the road, especially in the northern part of Finland, and can cause an accident.
Arrival by ship
If you want to take your own vehicle with you, but don't want to drive the route yourself, then a journey by ship is a good idea. Ferries operate between Rostock and Helsinki and between Travemünde and Helsinki.