The City of Lappeenranta (population 70,000) is the economic and cultural center of southeast Finland near the border of Russia and at the southern edge of the Saimaa, the largest lake (system) of Finland. Its culture and dialects are strongly part of Eastern Finland, although it administratively belongs to the Province of Southern Finland. Also known as Villmanstrand (its Swedish name and previous English name), Lappeenranta has a colourful, 360-year history influenced by its location in the border dividing western and eastern cultures.
Two highways, 6 and 13 pass through Lappeenranta. Bus companies operate frequently to Helsinki and other cities, even Saint Petersburg in Russia. Highway 13 extends to the Russian border, some 25 km from the city centre, where the Nuijamaa/Brusnichnoye (Нуйямаа-Брусничное) border station is the second busiest border crossing in Finland. Russian tourists usually use this pathway to come to the city either by bus or a car.
Trains to Saint Petersburg and Moscow stop at a smaller station in Vainikkala, near the Russian border, about 30 km from the city centre. There is a shuttle taxi connection (€10/5 per person, book at latest 1½ hr in advance from +358 20-060-400, €1.08/call+€1.01/min) between Lappeenranta and the station.