Ruskeala Mountain Park: reviews, how to get there, photos

Ruskeala Mountain Park.

Ruskeala Mountain Park

In winter daily 10:00 – 19:00. In spring daily 9:00 – 21:00. In summer daily 9:00 – 21:00. In fall daily 10:00 – 19:00. Cash desk closes one hour earlier.

Adults 450 rubles, students and pensioners 250 rubles, schoolchildren 200 rubles, WWII veterans, 1st group disabled and children under 7 – free of charge.

Ruskeala Mountain Park is the main pride of Karelia. It is an amazing combination of marble mountains, turquoise lakes and lush greenery. Looking around, it is hard to imagine that a few centuries ago this place was just a usual adit, where marble was mined in the harshest conditions.

Prices in Ruskeala Mountain Park in 2022

  • The cost of an individual visit for an adult – 450 rubles per person.
  • For students and pensioners – 250 rubles per person
  • For schoolchildren – 200 rubles per person
  • For participants of the Great Patriotic War, blockade survivors, concentration camp prisoners and children under 7 years old admission is free.
  • The entrance costs for groups – from 250 rubles for schoolchildren, from 350 rubles for students and from 650 rubles for adults.

Ruskeala Marble Canyon in summer

Additional services

From May 1 to October 31 you can hire a boat on the Marble lake (for 1 hour). The cost of the trip is 1000 rubles for a four-seater boat.

Fans of diving may pay 5000 rubles for the opportunity to dive from the pier. And fans of extreme recreation can visit the rope park, bungee or trollers, the cost of such entertainment from 1500 to 2000 rubles.

Excursions and routes

For independent tourists are offered two types of routes – short and long. You can go on them by yourself or in a group of 5-20 people with a guide. The first will pass through “Marble Canyon” around the quarry, the second – “The Road of Mining Masters with a rest” and a visit to the “Italian quarry”. There is also an opportunity to go by the route “Underground Ruskeala”, which will take about 1 hour.

Residents of St. Petersburg and other major cities can go on a guided tour of Ruskeala, buying a ticket from local tour operators.

All tours in Ruskeala Mountain Park differ from each other by the length of the route (from 1.3 kilometers) and duration of time (from 1 hour).

Tours of St. Petersburg:

Tours from Petrozavodsk:

Tours from Sortavala:

Tours on the Ruskeala Express:

Entrance to adits

Please note! Throughout the year the temperature in the adits is kept at a mark of + 7 degrees Celsius. Even in summer it is strongly recommended to have warm clothes. For safety reasons children under 3 years old are not allowed on the route.

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Hotels and recreation centers

In the vicinity of Ruskeala there are many places where you can stay overnight or just relax. One of the closest recreation bases is Ruskeala. The complex is located on the shore of the lake, near the town of Sortavala, just two kilometers from the famous marble canyon. Near the park there are also hotels and guest houses.

Ruskeala Mountain Park

Points of attraction

The main treasure of the park is the combination of the marble outcrops with the greenery of the surrounding vegetation and the turquoise of the lake water. The marble uplands have different colors – white, black, bluish, and the colors constantly alternate, making the resulting picture seem a little fantastical.

The marble quarry in Korelja Ruskeala, filled with water, is a lake, over which 25-meter marble cliffs rise, going deep under the emerald water. Right above the marble rise rows of slender spruces.

The canyon consists of rock workings that create amazing arches, halls with marble columns, and caves, though man-made, but look like natural ones. Only a small part of them is accessible to human visitation. Most grottoes are closed for reasons of safety and inaccessibility. Some can only be seen by swimming underwater with a scuba diver.

Ruskeala Marble Canyon in winter

You can enter the underground tunnels in the northern part of the canyon. Here are the most frequently photographed cliffs – Ivan da Marya and Catherine II. But the most unusual experience remains from the walk along the underground lake on pontoons.

The marble quarry in Ruskeala is also called “Italian quarries”, this name comes from the first developers of this place. Here you can see the smooth cuts of marble, huge stone blocks, water-filled marble pool, brick kilns for firing.

You can not pass by the waterfalls of the river Tohmajoki (aka Ruskeala waterfalls). They are known for the fact that the film “The dawns here are quiet” was filmed here. Now the waterfalls have become a place of pilgrimage of newlyweds who want to take the vows of marital fidelity in the most picturesque place in Karelia. By the way, “Marble Canyon” can be seen in other pictures – “Dark World”, “Shaman”, “Golden Trap”.

Now the former industrial site is almost nothing like an industrial site. It is a natural museum, on the territory of which grows a lot of unique plants, including red-listed plants. Also here you can find rare reptiles, bats and amphibians.

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Ruskeala Mountain Park

Entertainment

For lovers of quiet contemplation offered boat rides, during which you can see the absolutely stunning places, not visible from the shore. You can also take a ride on the water in a small boat. For the extreme, you can bungee jump over the quarry. In winter you can also go sledging, pulled by energetic Huskies.

Since the water in the lake is transparent all year round, you can try your hand at diving, especially since under the water there still remains the equipment used to mine marble. But most importantly, submerged quarries, grottos and caves become accessible with scuba diving.

Ruskeala Mountain Park

Have fun and interesting time is easiest in the summer, when in the mountain park are held various events. For example, the Ruskeala Symphony festival, which gathers musicians who want to play in a unique acoustic environment. There are also children’s festivals, laser and fire shows.

Each visitor wants to leave a memory of the park in the form of a piece of marble. For this purpose, on the territory is organized a small excavation, the so-called “Park of stones”, where you can collect something from marble with your hands and take a few pieces as a memento. You can also buy souvenirs made of marble or carve a figure in the stone-carving workshop.

Ruskeala Mountain Park

History

The marble deposit was discovered in the middle of the 17th century. It began to be mined by order of Catherine II, when St. Petersburg needed material for the construction of palaces and churches. For this purpose, was required a huge amount of marble, and the nearest field was in place of the present “Ruskeala”.

Today the residents of the Northern capital consider the main attractions of the city are the Kazan Cathedral, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Mikhailovsky Castle and the Marble Palace built of Ruskeal marble.

In the 1980s, the development was closed, and the deserted area gradually began to reclaim nature. By 2005, when it was decided to open a marble mountain park Ruskeala in place of the former adits, it was already an ideal place for walks and rest – quiet and incredibly beautiful.

The concept of the park was suggested by a local local historian A. Gribushin, which resulted in a comfortable walking trail around the entire quarry, and in places with the most picturesque panoramas, viewing platforms were organized. Recreational activities offered included sightseeing trails, diving, boating, bungee jumping, and sledding.

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Ruskeala Mountain Park

Hours of operation in 2022.

  • Winter daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m., box office until 6 p.m.
  • Spring daily 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., box office until 8:00 p.m.
  • Summer daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., box office until 8 p.m.
  • Fall daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m., box office to 6 p.m.
  • New Year holidays: December 31 10:00 – 19:00, January 1-7 10:00 – 21:00.

Check on the official site for the opening hours of each facility.

Ruskeala Mountain Park: google panorama from above

How to get to Ruskeala Mountain Park and Canyon in Karelia

Ruskeala is located 32 kilometers from the town of Sortavala, near the village of the same name. Here tourists go mainly from St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk.

From the Northern Capital you can get by highway A 121. In time it takes about 5 hours. Also from Finland Station you can get by train to Sortavala, and then by retro-train or cab. In the city are available cab services “City”, “Style”, “Mega”, “Sortavala”.

Those who prefer to travel as part of excursion groups, it is recommended to use the services of travel agencies. Bus tours to Ruskeala from St. Petersburg and are carried out regularly.

From Petrozavodsk on highway R 21 you have to drive 260 kilometers, which will take about 4-5 hours. You can also get to Sortavala by train, and then by bus, retro-train, cab. There is a direct bus to Ruskeala.

On the route St. Petersburg – Ruskeala often organized excursions for 1-3 days, including from the official tour representative of the park.

Map of the route St. Petersburg – Ruskeala (via Sortavala)

Ruskeala Mountain Park: our review and tips

We tell you about the most promoted attraction in Karelia – Ruskeala Mountain Park. Our review, opinions of other tourists, prices and useful tips. What to see there, how much it costs and how to reach by car from St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk.

What to see in Ruskeala Park

The top attraction in Karelia is the Ruskeala Mountain Park. There you will see a flooded marble quarry with an unreal color of water – what tourists come here for and what flashes in all the promotional brochures. A large tourist complex gradually grew up around it in order to attract and serve an army of tourists.

In fact, the park is interesting in a different way:

  • An Italian quarry with fantastically smooth marble cuts;
  • The underground lake in the gap, where they take tours;
  • The Ruskeala Express retro train, where the interiors are in the style of the 19th-20th centuries. This humming, smoking and whistling steam locomotive is the only steam-powered train running daily in Russia;
  • an abandoned factory, which you can now only look at from above.
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There are rides and excursions in the park – you can’t go without them! You can rent a boat, bungee jump or ride a zip line, but it’s all pretty expensive. For children – rope park and “Kalevala”.

Abandoned factory in Ruskeala. Tourist at the marble slices in the Italian quarry.

Our review of Ruskeala Park

We visited all the main attractions in Karelia during our auto-expedition, but the tourist-favored Ruskeala Mountain Park with the Marble Canyon did not impress us at all. A lot of people, sometimes there is even a traffic jam. Everything is extremely commercialized. We put the park on the list of the most boring places in Karelia.

All in all, you’ll have a nice time walking around the canyon there. The views are pretty and photogenic. It’s especially beautiful in the fall when the trees turn yellow and red. With an oooh-haul of slow sightseeing and constant stops for photos, the walk won’t take more than 3 hours. If you are nearby, it is worth stopping by, but to drive here from afar – no way.

Almost all tourists are happy after visiting the park, but it has some disadvantages.

This was a great experience and I was really looking forward to visiting the park on TripAdvisor. The main attraction of the park is the Bardexit, the largest municipality in Ghent. For the boat, you first have to stand in line for a coupon and then queue again at the ticket office. In general, a madhouse. But it is worth coming for a walk. You’ll get hungry and wait in a cafe))”).

Review by Ekaterina S. on TripAdvisor: “Having read laudatory reviews and seen a lot of photoshopped pictures we decided to go for a few days. And we were sorry. It was a completely unremarkable park. It is possible to have a walk, but maximum one day. Sounds of construction, pulling money out of tourists – excursions are expensive and useless. The mountains are only in the name of the park, no mountain aesthetics is felt”.

Ruskeala Marble Canyon reviews

Retro Train Ruskeala Express.

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Prices in Ruskeala.

Entrance is 300 rubles. Separately to “Kalevala” – 100 rubles.

Entertainments and excursions: bungee jumping – 1500 rubles/person, boat rent – 600 rubles per hour per boat, 1200 per person, excursion “Underground Ruskeala” – 1200 rubles/person.

You have to pay for every sneeze in Ruskeala, and pay well! During the boat trip you can visit the grottoes of Marble Canyon.

Where to eat and where to live

Cafe. There are two on the property, and they are located at the former main entrance. At Ruskolka, the average bill is about 700-800 rubles for two. Kolmas Burgers is a fast food place. There is also a bakery, where you can eat a wicket.

Hotels. There are hotels and campings in Ruskeala and near the park – look for them on Rumguru. Book in advance!

Useful hints

  • Come on weekdays – there are less tourists. In summer the tourists advise to come at all by the opening. We were in August in the middle of the day, and there was no line at the box office.
  • In the fall at sunset is the most beautiful.
  • Follow the green route and you will see a lot of interesting things.
  • Pull in through the new parking lot.
  • Dress warmly for the Underground Ruskeala tour.
  • They say you can get into the park for free – through the old entrance. I do not know, we have not tried.
  • In August, the Ruskeala Symphony music festival is held in the park. Look there for opening hours, prices and the schedule of events.

How to get to Ruskeala by car from St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk

From St. Petersburg. By car you pass first Sortavala, then – Ruskeala. After the river Tohmajoki after about 750 meters there is a sign to the park. Turn left and you will come to a new spacious parking place. Address: 1, Marble Street, Ruskeala.

From Petrozavodsk. Go by car along the road P21, then after the Pryazha settlement turn right to the road “Sortavala” (A-121). Follow it to the village of Ruskeala. After the river Tohmajoki after about 750 meters there is a sign to the park. Turn left and you will come to a new spacious parking lot. Address: 1, Marble street, Ruskeala.

At sunset the marble canyon of Ruskeala is beautiful, you can’t deny it. But what does not look beautiful in the sunset? The adit in the Ruskeala Mountain Park.

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