photo © City of Joensuu

Tourism Joensuu & Joensuu Guide

Joensuu is the vibrant capital of the North Karelia region, and with almost one third of its population being made up of students it is a town where there is always something happening. The biggest event in the calendar is the Ilosaarirock Festival which attracts big international and national acts from the rock and pop world.

Meaning ‘the mouth of the river’, the city of Joensuu, which was founded by the Czar Nikolai I of Russia in 1848, has grown to become the regional capital of North Karelia, and its second largest city. Much of its importance is due to improvements in water traffic when the Saimaa Canal was completed in 1870, which has allowed a lively regional trade, and linked to the city to St. Petersburg in Russia, and via the Volga to both the Black and Caspian seas.

Tourist attractions Joensuu

Every summer flocks of young Finns make their way here for the Ilosaarirock Festival in July, an open air event that attracts some of the biggest national and international rock acts. Folk enthusiasts should check out the music festival Kihaus, organised in Rääkkylä, just 30km from the city.

Visitors to Joensuu will find that there is always something to do and see, and of the treats available a day spent in Perhos-Botania, the University Botanical Gardens, is highly recommended. Comprised of five greenhouse complexes, the visitor can travel through a variety of climates on Earth, from arid desert to tropical rain forest, and see a thousand exotic species from all over the globe. Particularly captivating are the giant butterflies which fly freely about the place. Joensuu also houses the Bunker Museum, and the Carelicum or North Karelian Museum, and scattered around are many old wooden churches like the pseudogothic Kirkkokatu cathedral.

Nature Attractions in Joensuu

You will find several accessible nature attractions in the vicinity of Joensuu; the beautiful Kuhasalo and the Pyhäselkä lake landscape. The 2.5-kilometer-long nature trail Noljaka runs through the Höytiäinen Canal estuary nature reserve, only six kilometers from Joensuu Market Square. Joensuu is also near the beautiful landscapes of other parts of North Karelia, and one hour drive to the famous Koli National Park.