With its cobblestoned streets and medieval castle, the picturesque town of Vyborg makes for the perfect day trip from St. Petersburg (it’s 130km away from the City on the Neva). Throughout its 700-year history, the town changed hands several times, moving back and forth between Sweden, Russia, Finland, the USSR and Finland again before finally being incorporated into Russia.
History of VyborgThis lovely 13th century city is worth a visit, only 1 hour by train from St. Petersburg. It has a romantic old centre with aging buildings, cobblestone streets and a decent port. The medieval Vyborg Castle was build by the Swedes; Tsar Peter the Great conquered the city in 1710.Vyborg is extremely popular with Finnish tourists who come for the cheap souvenirs, cigarettes and vodka (it is less than an hour drive from the Finnish border). Many Finns also come to explore where families used to live and visit their old home villages. Vyborg may have been built by the Swedes, but just 65 years ago Vyborg, was known as Viipuri, a major Finnish city. From 1918-1940 Vyborg and its surroundings was a part of Finland, and the region was developing rapidly. The Finns ceded Viipuri to the Soviets in the Moscow Peace Treaty at the end of Winter War, fought between the two countries before WWII. During Soviet times Vyborg and this area of the Leningrad Oblast was very difficult for foreigners to visit. With the historic ties to Finland, don’t be surprised if Russian barmen and market people speak Finnish when trying to sell something to you.
Getting to VyborgGetting to Vyborg is easy. Take one of the several trains from St. Petersburg’s Finlyandsky Station. The normal train takes 2:15 hours, the high speed Lastochka a mere 1:15 and if you get one of the trains going to Helsinki you’ll be in Vyborg in just 55 minute. If you’ve got a car, the drive shouldn’t take you more than 2 hours (depending on traffic). Feel like a day trip might not be enough? Vyborg has plenty of good quality accommodation options.
Sightseeing in Vyborg