Joensuu masterfully blends village atmosphere and growing city energy. Founded in the mid 19th century, it’s a relatively young town and owes much of its cultural prowess and late-burning night scene to the local university. Joensuu is also an ideal accommodation base for hiking excursions into the North Karelia wilderness.
Several buildings in Joensuu date to the town’s founding. The wooden Church of St Nicholas houses a Russian Orthodox congregation and venerates icons that were produced in St Petersburg in the 19th century. The Town Hall is a younger and more eye-catching. Both a restaurant and a performance venue are inside. Hotels in Joensuu provide access to the harbor and Tori market, where tourists spend most of their time exploring.
Joensuu has several museums on hand. Joensuu Art Museum displays Finnish and international work; opposite this, the Carelicum takes up regional traditions while the Bunker Museum explores WWII history.
Joensuu bus and train terminals are on the east bank of the River Pielisjoki, just before it enters Saima Lake. This harbor area is the liveliest part of town and maintains the best selection of accommodation in Joensuu. Budget hotels are within short distance of the bus station, with more options on the opposite bank of the river.
Joensuu Airport is the regional transport hub, with flights arriving from Helsinki on a daily basis. Ferries ply the river and lakes, while trains and buses regularly pull in from cities across Finland.