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CYCLING IN SAIMAA REGION: PARTAKOSKI

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Partakoskentie road is a part of a centuries old route between the south-eastern cities of Lappeenranta and Mikkeli. In the 18th century when the road crossed the border of Sweden and Russia it was used also for military purposes. Nowadays the road and the village of Partakoski attract people relax in the lake landscapes. They belong for example to the Western Saimaa cycling routes.

To help planning itineraries Partakoski Village Association has collected this brief local info package. It may be useful for anyone but especially for cyclists who need to know about the services and the road in detail. Used on mobile devices the linked information, e.g. opening hours should be up-to-date.

The map below is meant to be used in addition to this text. On the road it is recommended to use this mobile map of the Great Saimaa Tour that Partakoskentie is part of. Cycling may continue southwards to Taipalsaari, Lappeenranta and Imatra, or northwards to Mikkeli and Puumala.

The road Partakoskentie (no 409; see the map] follows the winding historical route between two beautiful lakes, Saimaa and Kuolimo. It crosses the rapids Partakoski and Kärnäkoski, passes the village of Partakoski and the Kärnäkoski fortress and another village of Suomenniemi. The best reminder of the age of the roadline is perhaps 'The S-curves' halfway the route.

From south the 34 km long road begins at Savitaipale, either from Lappeenranta-Mikkeli highway (no 13) or from road Taipalsaarentie (no 408) [see Map, A]. If cycling from north it departs from Mikkeli Lappeenranta highway (no 13) at Kauriansalmi [see Map, B]. From the crossroads till Suomenniemi the name of the road is Kirkonkyläntie.

Due to low car traffic the road is quiet. It is paved 10 kilometers from both ends. In between there is an unpaved 13 km section. The quality of its surface may vary depending on weather conditions. We do our best to make understood the importance of its maintenance for cyclists and other travellers in the summer season.

Lake sceneries follow along the way. In planning the schedule it is worth noting, however, that along the gravel road passage the only place for a rest break by water is at Onkilampi [9].

Cycling in Saimaa landscapes through Partakoskentie may continue southwards to Taipalsaari, Lappeenranta and Imatra, or northwards to Mikkeli and Puumala. About the routes see e.g. Outdoors Finland portal and Great Saimaa Tour.

Shops, refreshment, restaurants

By the road, at the village of Partakoski there is a popular summer restaurant Partaranta with a small shop [5]. The distance to Partakoski is 10 km from Savitaipale and 24 km from Kauriansalmi. Partaranta offers a good selection of food and refreshments. On the terrace you can admire the lake view. The marina is part of the Saimaa waterways. At Suomenniemi the shop Sale sells everyday basic supplies [11].

At the ends of the road, Savitaipale [1] has several shops, restaurants and services. The tourist information is situated at Savitaipaleen Helmi [2]. At Kauriansalmi there is a cafe-restaurant Salmenranta [13].

Accommodation

At Savitaipale there are different types of accommodation to choose. At Suomenniemi, about 5 km from Kauriansalmi log cabin accommodation can be asked at Loma-Väkkärä or Mellun Käenpesä.

By the road two lean-to shelters can be used for overnight stay. One is at Kärnäkoski [4] nine kilometers from Savitaipale, another at Onkilampi [9] 16 km from Savitaipale or 18 km from Kauriansalmi. They both have a campfire site, toilet and a dock for swimming. At Kärnäkoski also sleeping in the sawmill with own camping gear is permitted.

Historical attractions and rest areas

The best places for a rest break along the way are Kärnäkoski [3-4], Partakoski [5] and Onkilampi [9].

Kärnäkoski fortress [3] is a part of the defence chain built by Russia in 1790's to protect the Russian-Swedish border and St. Petersburg. Upstream 500 meters from the bridge there is a small redoubt, called the Mountain fort. Below, there was a barge harbour for transporting timber over the isthmus 100 years ago [4]. Now it is a quiet lovely spot for a break – have a snack, swim, shelter from rain, even have a nap or stay overnight camping. Also in the basic fortress there is a jetty for swimming.

The double-arch stone bridge was built in 1886. The mill and sawmill buildings date from 1830's. The mill was used till 1950's, the sawmill till 1960's. The buildings are now maintained by the Partakoski Village Association.

The present Partakoski stone bridge [5] was built in 1902. Much earlier, in 1750 the first sawmill of the village was founded upstream the river. It was in use about half a century. At the end of 1780's the whole village was an arena of war, and the road served the military. At the end of the 19th century a russian Prince Bariatinsky who had settled in Paris, decided to build a villa on the hill near the river. He was an enthusiastic sailor in Saimaa and his unique vessels draw wide attention.

In the 20th century till 1960's Partakoski was characterized by timber floating. Troublesome stones were cleared from the rapids to ease the work. Now the routes are restored and both Partakoski and Kärnäkoski are under the Act on the Protection of Rapids. Partakoski is the only spawning place for lake trout in the region of southern Saimaa. The waters of Kuolimo are home of the critically endangered arctic char, so fishing is not allowed in or near the rapids.

Some two kilometers from Partakoski to Suomenniemi there are fortified defences from the era of the 1st world war on the left near the cell phone tower [7].

Six kilometers from Partakoski to Suomenniemi a signpost to the right leads to Onkilampi [9] with a lean-to shelter, a campfire site, toilets and a jetty for swimming. It offers also the opportunity to try the hiking trail Orrainpolku.

At Suomenniemi there is one more rest place in nature along the road, an observation tower with a lean-to shelter and a campfire [12]. The path up to the tower begins about 1 km from the highway.

Have a nice trip!

Partakoski Village Association