Joensuu is a Finnish city located in the east of the country, in the North Karelia region. The city is located at the mouth of the river Pielisjoki in Lake Pyhäselkä.
Joensuu is one of the fastest growing places in Eastern Finland in recent years, thanks mainly to industrial development and the important university programmes offered at the University of Eastern Finland, which is located in the city.
Things to see and do in Joensuu
The city of Joensuu offers a wide variety of things to do and places to visit. You can stroll through the forests and natural parks in the area or visit some of the most important museums in the region.
The city also hosts some important events, such as the Ilosaarirock Festival a rock music festival in July and the Rokumentti Rock Film Festival in November.
Carelicum: North Karelian Museum
The North Karelian Museum, also known as Carelicum, is a cultural history museum focusing on the city of Joensuu and the whole Karelia region.
The museum has a permanent exhibition on the history of Karelia and several changing exhibitions throughout the year. In the main exhibition, there are various items such as Karelian folklore costumes, old maps of the region and photographs of places that are now behind the Russian border.
Joensuu City Hall and city centre
Joensuu City Hall is located in the main square of the city. It is an Art Nouveau building designed by the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, who was also responsible for the Helsinki Central Station. The city theatre is also housed in the same building.
The city centre still has some 19th-century wooden houses along the Pielisjoki River, although most of the old town as it once was has been lost.
Koli National Park
Koli National Park is situated between three different municipalities, including Joensuu, and was established in 1991, covering some 30 square kilometres of wooded hills.
The national park not only aims to protect the area’s nature but also to preserve the traditional agricultural heritage of the region.
Joensuu Bunker Museum
The Joensuu Bunker Museum displays several models of concrete bunkers fully equipped with original weapons and equipment used by Finland during World War II to protect itself from the threat of Russia.
Sinkkola Zoo offers a wide variety of activities for visitors of all ages. It is an interactive zoo, so you can get up close and pet the animals in the zoo. Access to the zoo is free of charge.
Joensuu Art Museum
The Joensuu Art Museum is located in the heart of the city centre, close to the market square.
The museum’s permanent exhibitions include Finnish art from 1850 to the present day, European and Oriental church art, Greek and Roman antiquities, and Chinese art. The temporary exhibitions deal with various topical issues.
Petkeljärvi National Park
Petkeljärvi National Park is located in the municipality of Ilomantsi, very close to Joensuu. The national park, which was established in 1956, covers a total of 6 square kilometres.
In addition to its forests, the park is noted for its eskers and a set of fortifications used during the Continuation War between Finland and the USSR.
How to get to Joensuu
The quickest way to get to Joensuu is by plane. There are several daily flights from Helsinki and also from other cities in Finland and other European countries.
It is also possible to reach the city by train from Helsinki, although the journey takes about 5 hours. The bus journey takes up to 7 hours.
If you come by car, National Highway 6 from Helsinki goes all the way to Joensuu. However, there are some shorter secondary routes, such as the route via Mikkeli and Varkaus.
How to get around the city
The most convenient and cheapest way to get around the city is by city bus. The terminal is very close to the market square and the city centre, and a few minutes walk from the train station.
There are a total of 10 bus lines, so you’ll be able to get around the city without any problems. Some even go beyond the city limits.
Bicycles, electric scooters and taxis are also available for getting around Joensuu.
Where to stay in Joensuu
Joensuu has a wide range of accommodations to suit all budgets. If you’re on a budget, you can stay in hostels, campsites and other affordable accommodation.
However, if your budget is a little higher, you can find a variety of hotels in different price ranges.
Where to eat in Joensuu
Regarding food, Joensuu offers a wide range of choices to suit all tastes. In any case, we recommend you to go to the market square and enjoy the local food stalls.
There is also a popular restaurant inside the town hall and theatre building that serves delicious Karelian-style food.
We hope our tourist guide to Joensuu will help you prepare for your trip to the city. We invite you to share this article on social media using the buttons below. And if you have any questions, you can use the comments section to ask them.