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Finnish Salpa Gravel Cycling Route

The Salpa Gravel Cycling Route is a nearly 200 km cycle route along the historic Salpa defence line. It is a massive defensive line built during the last wars to defend Finland, starting from Virolahti and continuing all the way to Salla, Finnish Lapland. The Salpa defence line is at its strongest in south-eastern Finland, which was the enemy's expected line of attack. Along the route there are a couple of hundred forts and a 65 km long continuous line of armour. Many structures are hidden in the depths of the forest, but a couple of dozen sites have been highlighted as places for cyclists to visit.

From Harju to Luumäki in Southern Carelia, the route runs mainly along old wartime "cannon tracks". From Luumäki to Lappeenranta, the route follows the Independence Road. There are only a few, but still more representative sites on this part of the route, e.g. the Salpa station in Askola. Kotkaniemi, the home of the President of Finland P.E. Svinhuvud, now a museum, is also a major attraction along the route.

The return journey from Lappeenranta to Harju is mainly along sandy village roads in south-east Finland. The last 20 km of the route is along the paved Museum Road. The Museum Road is part of the King's Road and the old postal route from Bergen to St Petersburg. Along the return route, there are a few small sites of Corsairs and a restored wartime air control tower on Mount Siipiora.

See more detailed route description