the capital city, the biggest city of Karelia, with a fine collection of neoclassical architecture and a summer hydrofoil service to Kizhi
the marble canyon of nearby Ruskeala Park is beautiful, the city of Sortavala has interesting architecture, having been the Finnish showcase of functionalism and Carelianism.
island — famous for beautiful wooden church and other buildings, the whole architectural ensemble of Kizhi island is a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site
- Kem — a small town on the coast not far from Solovki with a spectacular 18th century wooden cathedral
- Kostomuksha — a large town built as Finnish-Russian cooperation 1977–1985 for iron ore mining, functions also as a dacha-style resort mostly for Finns every summer and hosts a yearly summer chamber music festival
- Olonets — a small historic town near the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery; the only town of size in Karelia where ethnic Karelians constitute a majority
- Povenets - small town, here begins Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy Kanal (White Sea-Baltic Channel)
- Kivach waterfall
- Lake Ladoga — the largest lake of Europe
- Valaam Archipelago — famous for its monastery
- Lake Onega — second-largest lake in Europe
- Besov Nos Cape — famous for ancient drawings, hammered in the rocks
- Martial waters spa
- Vodlozersky National Park
Karelia is known as "the country of lakes." One quarter of Karelia's surface is covered by water including about sixty thousand lakes. The second-largest lake of Europe, Lake Onega, is located in Karelia. The largest lake of Europe, Lake Ladoga, is partly located in Karelia (together with Leningrad Oblast). Wherever there is land, there are dense forests covering the ground.
Karelia has strong cultural connection with Finland and the Karelians, after whom the republic is named, are a Finno-Ugric group very closely related to the Finns. Much of the Finnish national epic Kalevala was collected here. The border between Sweden (which Finland was part of) and Russia has crossed the lands of the Karelians since medieval times, being moved several times. The parts Finland lost to Russia in the Second World War are still a bit of a sore spot for the Finns.