Petrozavodsk was founded by Peter I on Lake Onega and got its name thanks to the arms factory. Now people come here for a decent ballet, handmade dolls, excellent pies and an embankment with unusual art objects (what a mutant mosquito is worth!). You definitely need to stay in the city while traveling in Karelia, and now we will tell you why.
- How to get there
- Where to stay
- What to do
- Where to eat and drink
- What to see in the surrounding area
How to get there
From Moscow it is more convenient to go to the capital of Karelia by plane — direct flights in one direction will cost from 5542 rubles, 1.5 hours on the way. Another equally comfortable, but longer option is to rush to Petrozavodsk from Moscow on the branded Karelia or Arctic train. The travel time will be from 11 to 16 hours, tickets start from 2,596 rubles. These trains have high-comfort carriages, in which the romance of the train with the clatter of wheels and the picture changing outside the window is especially felt.
There are no direct planes from St. Petersburg, but there are “Swallows” that will take you to Petrozavodsk in 5-5.5 hours, a ticket costs from 1,531 rubles. Other popular options are to travel to Karelia by car or bus (from 1100 rubles), because the distance of 427 km can be overcome in 6-7 hours. And it’s convenient to drive by car, because it’s unlikely that your trip will end only in Petrozavodsk, you also need to see the rest of Karelia.
The whole family is gathered: where to rush this winter in Russia
Where to stay
- If you want a homely atmosphere, we recommend apartments near the Onego embankment with a top the people’s rating. Cozy, bright, clean, tidy, a friendly hostess and a location near the embankment — what else do you need for happiness? The cost of a night starts from 3750 rubles.
- Another cool apartment “9 nights” in the very center of the city. Stylish loft design, location near the waterfront, popular restaurants and souvenir shops. And all this starts from 2,357 rubles per night.
- If you want space, then welcome to a two-room apartment with a lake view. Spacious apartment with a view of Lake Onega. The atmosphere is like at home, the cost of a night starts from 5420 rubles.
- Studio Art Loft Apartments. The feature of the apartment is a stylish bathroom in which you can lie down after a long walk. Night from 3367 RUB.
- We will not leave you without hotels either: Piter Inn Petrozavodsk is a four—star hotel in the heart of the city with a gym and conference hall, comfortable rooms and a sauna. Night from 4800 RUB.
- Boutique hotel “13 chairs” will delight with merchant design, carpets, baguettes, swimming pool, sauna and central location. Night from 4500 rub.
- The Fregat Hotel. The location is super (on the lake shore), the reviews are enthusiastic, the interior is stylish, the breakfasts are delicious. Night from 5148 rub.
What to do
Walk along the embankment
Without modesty, the main location where you need to visit Petrozavodsk is the embankment of Lake Onega. The romantic promenade stretches over an area of about one and a half kilometers and, in addition to a gorgeous view of the lake, you can see a whole park of bizarre sculptures here. These art objects were brought from different parts of the world: Norway, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden. A real open-air museum, where you need to make wishes and admire fantastic sunsets (and sometimes the northern lights, if you’re very lucky).
To cultivate on Kirov Square
Several theaters and museums have gathered together on Kirov Square, so art lovers will definitely not be bored!
It is worth going to the National Theater to buy plays in the languages of the indigenous peoples of Karelia (Russian, Karelian, Vepsian and Finnish). The whole family will appreciate the performances of the Puppet Theater: come for children’s and adult productions. Well, in the Museum of Fine Arts, you can always peek at something interesting for art lovers. For example, visit the exhibition “Kalevala Universe”, dedicated to the Finno-Karelian epic.
To visit that “Little country”
Now we know the answer to Natasha Koroleva’s question — a wonderful “Little country”, the one where “animals with kind eyes” and “life is full of love”, is located in Petrozavodsk. The creative center, which opened its doors in 2008, will fully immerse you in a fairy tale! There is a toy history museum, exhibition halls for miniature dolls, a puppet theater, art and souvenir workshops.
The visit is possible in the format of an excursion (from 150 rubles), or you can wander around the creative space on your own, get to the performance (300 rubles per ticket) or a master class (250-300 rubles). The place will appeal to both children and adults. 10 out of 10!
Look into the eyes of Baba Yaga
In Tatyana Kalinina’s Doll House you will find a huge handmade doll exhibit in different styles and techniques. Koshchei, Baba Yaga, brownies, watermen, kikimores, mermaids and other fairy-tale characters, executed so skillfully that they turned out to be almost alive. The exhibits are for sale — it will be a non-trivial souvenir.
Learn the history of Karelia
FromThe region has a rich and interesting history and it is unwise to miss the opportunity to get to know it, especially since the National Museum of the Republic of Karelia is located in Petrozavodsk. The museum, founded in 1871, has 24 permanent exhibitions that tell in every detail about the history and culture of the region. The entrance ticket will cost 350-400 rubles. for an adult and from 50 rubles. for the child.
To see a mosquito that doesn’t bite
Petrozavodsk, like any other decent metropolis, turns abandoned industrial areas into fashionable art spaces. For example, the so-called “Mosquito trail” on the territory of Petrovskaya Sloboda. The main object here is a huge 6.5-ton mosquito sawn out of a tractor, and other statues, graffiti, coffee shops and hipster playgrounds have already grown around it.
Admire the exact replicas of historical ships
Well, what a city of Petra without a fleet! The Polar Odyssey Museum is waiting for all lovers of sea travel and those who are interested in the Russian fleet. Natural replicas of historical sailing ships have been built here for many years. Moreover, these are not just exhibits: they are used for scientific research expeditions, marine festivals and yachting. You can meet ships in various parts of Russia and the world.
Where to eat and drink
- Restaurant “Vkareliiest” is an immersive museum—restaurant that offers guests to explore the history and culture of Karelia with authentic dishes made from local ingredients. Mushrooms, fish (ear is just top!), venison, duck and, of course, wickets (pies made of rye unleavened dough with various fillings). The dishes are served with stories about traditional Karelian cuisine.
- Another decent option for a traditional meal is the Karelian Gornitsa restaurant. The interior is stylized as an ancient Karelian hut with benches along the walls and Karelian household items. Here you will find birch bark backpacks, horseshoes, wooden tubs, spinning wheels, a stove and even a brownie. Mandatory for the sample: a set of branded tinctures and liqueurs, creamy fish soup, salad with smoked whitefish, salmon on a stone and lingonberry gate (or sour cream with blueberries).
7 cool gastropubs in Russia
Our food expert Lena Titok tested in practice and advised readers of the blog Ostrovok.ru cool gastropubs and gastrobars in different cities of Russia. Take note!
- Yagel restaurant will be recommended to you by all the locals. The traditional author’s cuisine is especially good here: the menu includes bear meat cutlets, roast venison, berry cakes, dumplings with blueberry sour cream, pancakes with Onega trout, tinctures, wickets and other delights.
- If you want some more interactive, then go to the Leningrad Express. The cafe is stylized like a railway, so drinks and dishes will be served to you not by waiters, but by toy trains and steam locomotives. Instead of tables, there are the semblance of wagons, and instead of the usual design, there are three—dimensional layouts of attractions.
- Welcome to Anton Palych for an aesthetic tea party. A cozy cafe in the style of a 19th-century manor house, where you want to sip hot herbal tea with berries and read classical literature, listen to the piano, admire the workers in romantic outfits and have sincere conversations.
- If you are a fan of a foamy drink, then you definitely need to get to the beer house “Neubrandenburg”, where you will try live beers, sausages, wings, ribs and knuckle — colorful, high-calorie and very tasty! And the prices are affordable.
- Well, the cherry on the cake for those who want a delicious dinner, unobtrusively turning into a party format, a fashionable breakfast in stylish interiors or a social outing. In all cases, you are on your way to “Culture”. Food, wine and parties: a trendy space with a cool menu (national and European cuisine), an excellent wine list and photogenic interiors. And you can also get to a concert, literary readings, a good DJ set or a tasting – the name justifies itself.
What to see in the surroundings
The most beautiful places of the Russian North
Petrozavodsk can be an excellent starting point for a big trip to the Russian North: we just have a guide to Kenozero, Kizhi, Solovki and more.
- Kizhi. A huge open-air museum with unique examples of wooden architecture. In summer, high-speed Comets and Meteors come here from Petrozavodsk, and in winter you can go to the island on Khivus, this is a hovercraft for safe movement on ice.
- Ruskeala Mountain Park. Firstly, the park itself is very beautiful, especially in the evening with illumination. Secondly, it is worth going here even just for the sake of a trip on the magical Ruskeala Express, which will take you from Ruskeala to Sortavala. An atmospheric steam-powered retro train runs every day. A guide to Ruskeala on the blog Ostrovok.ru — Here.
- Get on a snowboard or ski, get to know the reindeer better and go sledding with huskies. There is no need to think about what to do in Karelia in winter, we have already written a detailed guide on this topic.
- Which route should I take? We also have a lot of material ready on this topic, where everything is laid out on the shelves.
Get to know Petrozavodsk and Karelia with a guided tour! Here are a few options:
That’s how Petrozavodsk is: cultured, interesting, romantic and delicious. Come and see for yourself!
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