Points of Interest & Best POI Database Providers
Points of interest and POI data have become big buzzwords in recent years. Gone are the days of flicking through a telephone directory to find local amenities. In today’s world, people want to know what interesting places are nearby, where they’re located and how to get to them – all via their smartphone.
But what exactly is a point of interest ? Why are they used? And how do you find the best POI data for your website or app? We cover all the basics in this handy article, including where to find the best POI database providers.
Want to talk to us about the PlotProjects POI API? Then get in touch today!
What is a point of interest?
A point of interest (abbreviated POI) is a specific place or location point on a map that someone might find interesting or useful. It can be a restaurant, a hotel or a tourist attraction, or it can be ordinary places like ATMs, gas stations, schools or parks. A point of interest can be temporary such as an event, or it can be permanent such as a building or even a city.
Points of interest are usually defined by their geographical coordinates along with some additional attributes such as name, category, address, opening hours and contact details. This information is important because it feeds many location-based applications such as digital maps and navigation systems. By connecting to this data, you can add a deep level of location information to your website or app.
Points on interest examples
Grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores are all examples of points on interest. They can also be specific physical locations of interest such as parks, beaches or tourist attractions. Here’s a look at some of the most common examples of points of interest.
- Arenas & stadiums
- Schools, churches and distinctive buildings
- Cafes, restaurants & pubs
- Shops & malls
- Car parks & speed cameras
- Tourist attractions
POI data – common applications
People and businesses rely on POI data every day for a variety of reasons. Users of mobile devices rely on point of interest data to navigate their environment and find amenities and services in a particular location. While businesses can leverage POI data to deliver services, gain valuable market insights and make better data-driven decisions.
Here are some common applications of point of interest data:
POI mapping allows users to look for nearby services and amenities such as the nearest gas station, hotel, restaurant, cafe, supermarket, ATM and more.
Developers & mobile users
With access to POI databases, developers can create location-based applications that provide users with instant, accurate and up-to-date location information. Users can navigate traffic routes, find local landmarks, discover nearby restaurants and much more, all in real-time using a mobile app.
Marketers and advertisers leverage point of interest data for geofencing and geotargeting, to reach relevant audiences with location-based ads and content. This data make it possible to gain valuable behavioural insights, build audience profiles and segments, and deliver personalized ads to users when they are near a point of interest.
Point of Interest APIs can be used to provide address data for autofill functionality in online forms and checkouts. This makes the user experience much better when they are typing their address at checkout, plus it ensures that businesses get accurate and verified address data at the point of entry. Find out more in our guide ‘What is address autocomplete?” or check out address autocomplete API.
Points of interest in retail
In retail, POI data can be used in combination with mobile location data to help retailers drive sales and provide better services to their customers. It can be used to optimize marketing, for competitive analysis, for site analysis for new stores and to plan expansion in a new location.
Food & parcel delivery
The food and parcel delivery industry needs accurate point of interest data to make deliveries and optimize workforce efficiency. Accurate residential and commercial POI data helps delivery applications calculate delivery times, map specific regions, identify efficient routes and gain a competitive advantage.
Location is paramount in real estate. POI datasets are used to analyze locations for investment and construction. It also provides customers who want to buy or rent a property with valuable insights about the local area and amenities.
Telecoms, insurance & financial services
Point of interest data can be used in insurance and financial sectors for mapping, planning, assessment and improvements across a city or region. It can also help telecom companies to assess coverage needs and plan expansion in specific locations.
Government & public sector
POI data supplies insights about regional facilities and public infrastructure such as public transport, healthcare etc, allowing local authorities and governments to assess the community’s needs for optimization of services in the area and urban development planning.
Logistics & transportation
E-commerce stores, postal services, fleet and freight businesses and many more can use POI data to optimize routes, improve operations and save time and costs. POI data can also be used to build reliable and efficient apps such as cab hailing services or transport ticketing apps.
In summary, point of interest data opens up endless opportunities to enrich decision-making and spatial analytics in a variety of different industries. In the following section we’ll explain how to find POI data using databases and POI data APIs.
How to find point of interest data
So how do you find point of interest data? Data providers acquire it from a variety of sources, from government directories, to web sources like Google Maps, user-generated location data or by manual verification. All of these sources provide some POI data however it varies in terms of attributes, accuracy and freshness.
Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular point of interest data collection methods.
The most basic way of getting POI data is from web sources like Google Maps and OpenStreetMap. Web scraping tools can be used to export POI information straight into a database or file, however there are some limitations with this. Some web sources allow this type of extraction, while others have methods in place to prevent mass scraping. It can be very time consuming, and the data isn’t always kept up-to-date.
Many governments make commercial location information into POI datasets which are available for public use. However, this also comes with its limitations. As with web sources, the emphasis is on businesses to keep their details up to date. Therefore the data can become inaccurate over time.
User generated data
With the rising use of social media platforms comes an increase in user-generated content and location data. Just by checking in at particular location, a user pins a location which can be added to a POI database. Many businesses and organizations use this data or buy it from providers who collect it. Again, this data relies on the user and also their device and location settings, so it is not guaranteed to be accurate.
Many data providers manually verify their data on the ground with a custom smartphone app. This results in a more accurate data set compared to web scraping or other automated methods. POIs are constantly added, verified and kept up-to-date.
POI data providers
The best POI data providers provide high-quality global data across myriad countries, offering millions of places and. points of interest. Their data offerings consist of granular attributes to meet specific customer use cases, such as restaurants, retailers, hospitality, healthcare providers and more. They process huge amounts of data events daily, deriving up-to-date real world insights.
Google Places API – pros & cons
Google Places API is hailed as having the best accuracy and the most comprehensive POI datasets, as well as a great team that keeps them fresh and up-to-date. However its licensing terms are quite restrictive and it can be hard to use their data in the way you need.
Businesses often choose to augment their Google Places API data or to use alternatives such as Facebook Places, Foursquare Places, Factual Places, Safegraph Places, Tom Tom or other data provider. For instance, when it comes to building footprint data (geofences) for a POI, Google has that data internally but it isn’t offered via an API.
OpenStreetMap – pros and cons
Another top-rated POI provider is OpenStreetMap, a source for all geographical datasets that are publicly available. Using this platform, projects that use POI data can feed up-to-date and additionally back to OpenStreetMap, which improves the databases. One drawback with OpenStreetMap for app or website developers is that the API to the databases is not very reliable. The servers on which the data is hosted are provided by volunteers and therefore the uptime is not guaranteed.
Choosing a POI database provider
Choosing a POI data provider or POI API can be a tough task. The physical world is constantly changing, making it difficult to maintain accurate POI databases. Even with top machine learning and data science teams, providers can still find bugs and inaccuracies in their databases.
Quality and accuracy are key for POI data, however you will want to think about other factors such as the data provider’s delivery capabilities, the effort you’ll need to prepare the data for use, and how you’ll choose from the array of POI data providers out there.
Tips for evaluating a POI database vendor
Evaluating a POI database vendor is no easy feat. A good starting point is to define your goals, think about the category of data you need, decide on the frequency of updates, and think about the level of accuracy you require. Check out our checklist below to help you evaluate a POI database provider:
- What countries does it cover? Is it international?
- Accuracy. How accurate is the data? Are the businesses still open or have the shut down? are the addresses real? Is the data free from errors?
- Is the data complete? What is the fill rate for attributes? Does it include category, opening hours, contact details?
- Granularity. Are the POI locations just addresses? Centroids? Are they geofences for a POI?
- Price: Does it offer a free POI database? Are the paid-for subscriptions good value? What kind of support is offered?
Geofencing & points of interest
POIs and geofencing make a great pair. They make location-based campaign creation more efficient and supercharge data insights allowing you to understand your customers behaviour and interests from all angles.
You can create geofences around all types of points of interest such as department stores, supermarkets and shopping malls. When an app user crosses your geofences, you can target them with relevant location-based ads. You can also gain valuable insights for building audience profiles and segments for better targeting.
Without a POI database, you would need to know the name and location of each individual boutique or store. However, a POI database allows you to find all locations that fall into a particular category in one go.
PlotProjects POI data API
PlotProjects has seen the growth in demand for up-to-date POI data APIs. We believe that OpenStreetMap is a very reliable source and will be improving very quickly. However, due to the open source structure it cannot guarantee the reliability of API to get the POI’s requests. PlotProjects has developed a solution for this issue and offers a reliable database providing the OpenStreetMap POI’s.
For geofencing applications, where it’s vital to know the precise location of a place such as turning location data into store visit insights, PlotProjects geofencing platform makes us superior to other Places database vendors.
A free POI database
As we are going to launch this service soon we are going to offer our POI data API with a reliable uptime for free under a fair use policy. Which means that anyone can try and use it. However, if the load of requests gets to heavy we will charge a reasonable fee to guarantee the service.
See our address autocomplete API
If you’d like to learn more about using POIs for your own location data and geofencing campaigns, contact PlotProjects today.
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Map points of interest—ArcGIS Business Analyst help
You can search for points of interest, such as businesses and facilities, using data from Data Axle, SafeGraph, and other POI data sources. For example, you can search for hospitals or search using the name of a specific hospital. You can also search within a category or industry or search using NAICS or SIC codes.
The Points of Interest Search workflow has four stages: search, refine results, set the map style, and save or export the results. Before starting a search, set the map extent using the Zoom levels tool. To search for points of interest, do the following:
- On the Maps tab, click Create Maps and select Points of Interest Search.
The Points of Interest Search pane appears.
You can also launch this workflow using the Search tool.
- Provide a search term.
For example, you can
type coffee shop or the name of a coffee shop chain.
Optionally, refine your search using the following
- Optionally, click More options to choose another search type or search extent.
- Optionally, if the country or region is set to a location with multiple POI data sources, use the Data source menu at the bottom of the workflow pane to select the data source.
You can set the default POI data source in the app preferences.
- Click Go.
The search results appear on the map and the workflow pane displays options to refine the results.
- Refine your results by using the following filtering options:
The map automatically updates to show the filtered search results.
- To export the results to Excel, click Export to Excel. Click Next to modify the visual style for the search results on the map.
When exporting using Data Axle as the data source, street numbers are removed from the address field.
- Use the Select style drop-down menu to choose a map style. The default style is Location (Single symbol). For more information, see Map styles.
The map automatically updates to show the selected style. Map style information appears in the map legend.
- Click Next.
- To complete the workflow, the following options are available:
- Save Layer—Enter a name for the layer and click Save. The saved layer can be accessed in the project pane in the Other Layers section.
- Export to Excel—Export the search results to an Excel worksheet. When exporting, the street numbers are removed from the address field.
- View/Edit Results—Return to the workflow results (step 6).
- New Search—Return to the first stage of the workflow to start a new search (step 2).
- I’m Done—Close the Points of Interest Search workflow.
You can style the points on the map using different map styles. Depending on the data source, the following styles are available:
Location (Single Symbol)
Display data on a map with a single symbol
to show the distribution and reveal patterns. For example, when
mapping a list of coffee shop locations, you may see coffee shops
clustered together in a business district. Use the Cluster
points check box to turn clustering on or off. To change the
symbol, modify its color and size, or upload your own, use the
Symbol drop-down menu.
Counts and Amounts (Color)
Map numeric information by
color to highlight data variances. For example, a
light-to-dark color theme can show low-to-high data values. Click
More options to choose a style for the symbols, change the
attribute being mapped, and adjust the graph. Check the Classify
data check box to adjust the classification method and
Counts and Amounts (Size)
Use an orderable sequence of proportional sizes to represent numerical data or ranked categories. Larger symbols indicate larger numbers. Click More options to choose a style for the symbols, change the attribute being mapped, and adjust the graph and clusters. Use the Size sliders to adjust the relative size of the symbols. Check the Classify data check box to adjust the classification method and breaks.
Type (Unique Symbols)
Use unique symbols to show different types of
things rather than numerical counts. For example, use different
colors to represent restaurant cuisine types. It is recommended that your layer show fewer than 10 types, as more types become difficult to
distinguish. By default, the 10 most common types are shown, and
additional types are grouped together in an Others group.
Click More options to choose a style for the symbols and set
the color ramp, change the attribute, or edit the symbols
individually. Use the Cluster points check box to turn
clustering on or off.
Map the location of a large number of point
features that are close together and aren’t easily distinguishable.
Heat maps use the points in a layer to calculate and display the
relative density of points on the map as colors ranging from cool
(low density of points) to hot (many points). Best practice is to
avoid heat maps if there are only a few points; instead, map the
individual points. Click More options to adjust the color
gradient. Use the Area of influence slider to adjust the
clusters. Using the Select tool, you can select heat map polygons or select underlying point data to create rings, drive times, or walk times.
Color & Size
Map two attributes in your data and finalize the
color and size of point symbols on the map. You can use the same
attribute twice: first to set the size of the symbols and again to
set the colors, based on the part of the data you want to
emphasize. This is suitable when you want to show count
information, such as total population, shaded by a variable, such
as population density.
Types & Size
Use unique symbols to show different types of
things, with the size of the symbol representing a count. For
example, use different colors to represent restaurant chains, and
use different sizes to represent the number of employees. It is recommended that your
layer show fewer than 10 types; more types become difficult
to distinguish. By default, the 10 most common types are shown, and
additional types are grouped together in an Others category.
Click More options to choose a style for the symbols, change
the attributes being mapped, or edit the symbols
You can set preferences for Business Analyst Web App in the app preferences. For the Points of Interest Search workflow, you can choose a symbol for the search results and opt to include industry descriptions in the results table. Administrators can set preferences for the entire organization.
To set the workflow preferences, do the following:
- On the top ribbon, click Preferences .
The Preferences window appears.
- To set the default points of interest data source, expand the General section and click Settings. In the Points of Interest Data Source section, use the Select data source drop-down menu to choose a points of interest data source.
- Expand the Maps section, expand the Create Maps section, and click Points of Interest Search.
- You can set the following preferences:
- To restore the default settings, click Restore Defaults.
- To save your changes, click Save or, optionally, click Save and Close to close the Preferences window. To view your changes, refresh the app.
Learn more about Points of Interest Search.
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Interactive map of Russia – search sights
- Country guide
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- Krasnaya Polyana
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- Nizhny Novgorod
- St. Petersburg
- Sergiev Posad
- Unique features
- Architecture and monuments
- Active recreation
- Extreme points of the country
- Maps of Russia
- Printed cards
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- Map of cities
- Map of regions
- Hotel reservations
- Car rental
Hotels in Russia
Maps of cities and regions of Russia
Additional maps of Russia
General maps of Russia
Map of cities in photos
Map of regions and provinces
Unique places of interest in Russia
Palace of Soviets
From the series “Famous unfinished buildings”
The decision to build a new Palace of Soviets in Moscow was made in the post-revolutionary period, work on the project began in 1931. It was decided to build the building on the site of the destroyed Cathedral of Christ the Savior, already at the initial stage of construction, the workers faced serious difficulties. It was necessary to build a large-scale building on very difficult ground, so for the first 10 years, work was carried out to create a powerful foundation.
Work on the construction of the Palace of Soviets had to be stopped in 1941, during the Great Patriotic War, all metal elements prepared for construction were used for the construction of defensive structures. The implementation of a large-scale project in the post-war years had to be abandoned, there were no funds for the construction of such a large and complex building in the country. Today on the street…
Mining village Kadykchan
From the series “The most famous buildings of communism around the world”
In the post-communist period, not only many monuments, but also entire villages were forgotten, an excellent example is the mining village of Kadykchan. It is located in the Magadan region and today is considered one of the most frightening ghost towns in Russia. A very depressing atmosphere reigns in the abandoned village. When examining its empty houses, it may seem that the locals left them in an incredible hurry. In some empty apartments, you can still see forgotten calendars on the walls, pieces of furniture and children’s toys.
In the center of the village you can see the ruined old square where the monument to V.I.Lenin is installed. In the 20s of the last century, large deposits of precious metals were discovered in the vicinity of the village, and a lot of cheap labor was required to develop the mines. …
All unique sights of Russia
Travelodge to Introduce Original Budget Luxury Hotels
They will delight travelers not only with their original design, but also with new service options. The main goal of such hotels is to provide customers with the opportunity to get maximum comfort and the necessary types of service at the lowest price. For accommodation, the new hotels will be able to offer guests cozy rooms decorated in a new color scheme for the brand.
Interactive maps of walking and cycling routes in Russia
1. You can zoom in/zoom out with the mouse wheel, and move around the map of Russia with the mouse.
2. This route map represents two modes: ‘Bicycle’ and ‘Touring’. Use the ‘+’ button on the map to switch between them.
Railway and landscape maps of Russia
This Russia map has two modes: ‘Railway Network’ and ‘Landscape Map’. Use the ‘+’ button on the map to navigate.
Tourist guide to Russian cities
The most recognizable architectural landmark is the Peterhof palace and park complex. This chic imperial residence was built at the beginning of the 18th century by order of Peter I. During the Second World War, this chic architectural ensemble was almost completely destroyed, it was restored in the shortest possible time. Today, its visitors can admire chic palaces, fountains and sculptural compositions, and in the summer, the territory of Peterhof … Read
Acquaintance with the sights of the popular resort will also give a lot of new impressions. The Sochi Arboretum is very popular with vacationers, where you can see rare and very beautiful plants. Rare species of oaks, Australian eucalyptus, rare species of agave and exotic flowers grow here. During a walk through the arboretum, you can admire the birds that live here. There are also several excellent observation platforms on its territory, from which … Read more
The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square remain the main symbols of the Russian capital. The Kremlin building was built in the 12th century and served as the main defensive structure. Over the course of several hundred years, it was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, and Red Square witnessed a number of important historical events. Since the construction of the Kremlin, the most important public meetings, fairs and festive events have been held here. Today, the main square of the capital is a favorite … Read
Today, Krasnodar attracts tourists with its rich historical heritage, beautiful parks and symbolic monuments, and it is also the center of important sporting events. Fans of excursions will be interested to see Catherine’s Cathedral, built at the beginning of the 20th century. From the moment of construction, it has been the main religious object in the city, the author of the temple project was I.K. Malgerb. In the post-revolutionary period, it was he who convinced the city authorities not to destroy the … Read more
Kazan is one of the richest cities in Russia in sights. The Kazan Kremlin remains the main historical symbol of the city. This architectural complex includes buildings from the 12th to the 20th centuries. What makes it unique is the fact that Eastern and Western traditions are wonderfully intertwined in the external appearance of the complex. Here, next to an Orthodox church, you can see an incredibly beautiful mosque, and next to luxurious European-style mansions, a Turkic mosque rises … Read
One of the main tourist attractions in Adler is the Olympic Park, which was built for the Winter Games in 2014. After the end of the games, the sports facilities were not dismantled. Now they are used for various sporting events, and some sports facilities are available for everyone to visit. The Olympic Park is located on a small hill, near the coast, with a gorgeous view of the sea from its territory. The resort and its surroundings are famous for … Read more
While walking along the coast, you can see the beautiful Anapa lighthouse, which continues to be one of the main symbols of the resort. At the beginning of the 20th century, a small signal tower was located in its place, which was completely destroyed during the Great Patriotic War. In 1955, it was decided to build a new lighthouse in its place; its height was 43 meters. The lighthouse turned out to be very spectacular from an architectural point of view, therefore, from the moment of construction, tourists have not been left without attention. … Read
The charming resort is famous for its magnificent nature. Fans of the exotic should definitely visit the local Safari Park. It is not at all like zoos in the classical sense of the word; animals that have suffered from human hands are delivered to this natural reserve. It is a kind of rehabilitation place for them; ideal living conditions have been created here for animals. Zoo visitors will have the opportunity to see tigers, puma, leopards, various species of wild birds, … Read
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Attractions of Karelia on the map with a description for tourists
Karelia: the main tourist areas
Where to go on vacation in Karelia? The republic is stretched from south to north for 650 km, and a tourist is unlikely to be able to fully explore it in one trip. The administrative-political map includes 15 districts. The largest of them are Suoyarsky, Pudozhsky, Loukhsky, Muezersky, Kalevalsky, Belomorsky. The republic also includes 3 cities of direct subordination: the capital Petrozavodsk, Sortavala and Kostomuksha. If you look at a map with a description of popular tourist attractions, you can see that Karelia is conditionally divided into several regions.
Embankment of Petrozavodsk
- Petrozavodsk. The capital of the Republic of Karelia, its main social, financial and cultural center. On a map with a description of interesting places in Petrozavodsk, a tourist will find museums and monuments, a beautiful embankment, theaters, parks, art galleries.
- Ladoga area. A tourist will find a description of many sights on the map of Karelia here. In the vicinity of Lake Ladoga are Valaam, Olonets, Ruskeala with a marble canyon, the city of Sortavala.
- Onega. The description of this resort region can include the sights of Cape Besov Nos, Kizhi, Vodlozersky Park, Murom Monastery.
- Belomorye. Karelia stands on the shores of the White Sea, which also washes the Arkhangelsk region and the Kola Peninsula. The most famous attraction of this region is the archipelago of the Solovetsky Islands with the famous Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery. There are also many other interesting places here.
- North of the Republic of Karelia bordering Finland. A map describing the interesting sights of this region includes the cities of Kalevala and Kostomuksha, Paanajärvi Park, Kostomuksha Nature Reserve.
Description and map of the nature reserves of Karelia
The main attraction that Karelia is famous for is its magnificent nature. Description of the beautiful places, which are generous map of Karelia, can be continued endlessly. On the territory of the republic there are many nature reserves, national parks, specially protected natural areas.
Ruskeala is one of the most favorite tourist sights of Karelia. If you look at the map, you can see that this mountain park lies about 30 km north of Sortavala on the banks of the Tokhmajoki River. The main attraction for which hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Ruskeala is the flooded Marble Canyon, more than 450 m long.
Resting in Ruskeala, a tourist can walk along the picturesque paths along the coast, as well as ride along the emerald waters of the canyon on a rented boat. The poetic description of this resort area of Karelia can be continued for hours, but it would be wiser to arm yourself with a map and personally go to see Ruskeala and the marble canyon. There are many viewing platforms in the park, which offer picturesque views. By the way, this is also a popular diving attraction: here you can go scuba diving in the company of an instructor. Equipment can be rented at a local dive center.
Lake Onega on the map of the Republic of Karelia is located in its southeastern part. The length from south to north is more than 250 km, which makes it the second largest freshwater reservoir in Europe after Lake Ladoga. In the description of the sights that can be found on the map of Onega, it is worth including Petrozavodsk, the island-reserve of Kizhi and Kizhi skerries, the Vodlozersky reserve with Ilyinsky Pogost. These are also the famous Onega petroglyphs on the Besovy Nos (Pudozhsky district), the South Deer Island, the Radkolye Sanctuary, the Pegrem cultural and historical center. Among other places – “Hanging” lakes, Kolgostrov, Murom monastery.
A map and description of the sights of Lake Onega would be incomplete without mentioning the best places for fishing. During the fishing season, lake salmon, golden carp, khumzha, European grayling, and smelt are caught here. It is better to go on sport fishing in July-August, as well as September.
In the southwestern part of the map of the Republic of Karelia there is Lake Ladoga – the first largest freshwater reservoir on the European continent, and also the second largest in Russia after Lake Baikal. The description of Ladoga can be summed up in two words – “scale” and “greatness”. The length from south to north is almost 220 km, in the widest part the lake stretches for 138 km. The most famous sights on the map of Lake Ladoga are the Valaam archipelago and the island of Konevets with the monastery of the same name. Also here is Sortavala, not far from which lies the already mentioned Ruskeala park.
Lake Ladoga is considered the center of sports fishing in Karelia. A tourist fisherman will find here many good places where you can go on vacation with a fishing rod (both in summer and in winter). More than fifty species of fish live in the local waters, including salmon, trout, whitefish, smelt, pike, perch, pike perch. Experienced fishermen advise going to Lake Ladoga in June and July. It usually freezes in December-February (depending on the place), thaws in the second half of spring. The hiking map of Ladoga includes dozens of interesting routes for tourists.
Vodlozersky National Park
Vodlozersky National Park
A map of the Pudozhsky district of the Republic of Karelia introduces us to another popular natural attraction – the Vodlozersky National Park. For the past 20 years, the park has had the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, this status was assigned to him the first in the system of national parks in Russia. The protected area is divided into three large forest areas – Vodlozerskoye, Ilekskoye and Pudozhskoye. There are ten historical settlements here, the first written mention of which dates back to the 16th century. On the map with a description of the archaeological sites of Vodlozero – the Nizhnyaya Kolonzha burial ground, Ilamostrov, the Bostilovo, Vama, Vodla, Bolshaya Shendema sites.
Vodlozersky National Park is no less interesting for tourists in terms of architecture. In the northern part of Vodlozero, on a secluded island, there is the famous Ilyinsky churchyard, according to legend, built on the site of an ancient pagan sanctuary. The main attraction of the Ilyinsky churchyard is a wooden church built in 1798. Also, the map of the national park has several ancient chapels included in the list of Russian architectural monuments. Here you can see the Chapel of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord, the Tikhvin Icon, the Maccobean Martyrs, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Assumption of the Virgin, Demetrius of Thessalonica, the Great Martyr Barbara.
Tourist map of Vodlozero attractions includes a 180-kilometer rafting on the Ileksa River, dozens of eco-routes, as well as places for sport fishing. A tourist who prefers a quieter and more relaxed holiday can go on an excursion on a motor boat. During the walk you will see the natural, historical and archaeological sights of this part of the Republic of Karelia.
Paanajärvi National Park is another natural gem of the Republic of Karelia, which can be found on the tourist map. The attraction is located near the border with Finland, in the northwestern part of the republic. The map of the park includes several routes along which a tourist can go on a one-day or multi-day hike. Tourists go on an excursion to the park not only in summer, but also in other seasons.
The main natural sights of Paanajärvi are the Astervajärvi nature trail, Lake Pitkäjärvi, the seids on Mount Kivakka, the Kivakkakoski waterfall, the mill on the Olanga River, Arola, the Brown Rocks. On the territory of the park, tourists are waiting for several equipped parking lots: “Rusalka”, open parking lots “Mutka”, “Teremok”, “Paanajärvi”. Also in the park there are a couple of dozens of wooden houses with stove heating, in which tourists who come on vacation for several days or weeks can live. The website of the Paanajärvi National Park has a detailed map of the main tourist routes, sights, equipped parking lots, and slopes to the rivers.
Solovki Botanical Garden
The map of the Solovetsky Archipelago opens up another place for us – the Botanical Garden, located on the Big Island. This is an amazing man-made reserve, in which greenhouses were once built for growing fruits and vegetables for the monks of the Solovetsky Monastery. A fruit-bearing apple orchard, as well as cherry and lilac orchards, adapted to the conditions of the harsh northern nature of the White Sea region, have survived to this day. Despite the cold climate, there are beautiful flower beds with annual blooming nasturtiums, pansies, daisies, marigolds. You can get to the Botanical Garden on Bolshoi Solovetsky Island by sightseeing bus or on foot from the village of Solovetsky.
A tourist map of the natural attractions of the Republic of Karelia would be incomplete without the Kivach Reserve, where the famous waterfall of the same name is located. Its description is found in all guidebooks for tourists. The reserve is located in the Kondopoga region and is famous for its rich spruce forests, as well as pine forests. The Kivach waterfall on the Suna River is an attraction that attracts thousands of tourists to the protected area, who come here for an active and relaxing eco-vacation far from urban civilization. The height of the water fall exceeds 10 meters, and the waterfall itself is divided into two separate streams, tumbling down steep stone ledges with noise. This is an incredibly picturesque place, captivating with its beauty, strength and energy. It is difficult for a tourist who once visited the Kivach waterfall to describe his emotions, and he will certainly want to come back here again.
Kalevalsky National Park
Another beautiful protected area that can be found in the northern part of the map of Karelia, not far from the border with Finland. This is the youngest national park of the Republic of Karelia, which received the status of a protected natural area in 2007. The Kalevala Nature Reserve is a boundless virgin taiga, among the inhabitants of which you can meet reindeer, bears, martens, wolverines, whooper swans, eagles, as well as other amazing animals and birds. There are more than 400 lakes of various sizes on the territory of the Kalevala Park, impressive with the beauty and purity of their turquoise waters. Freshwater salmon lives in the lakes of Kalevala, as well as a large number of pearl mollusks.
Tourists visiting the Kalevala National Park in Karelia must follow the rules established here. A detailed description of the rules of conduct can be found on the information stands, as well as on the official website of the park. In the reserve it is forbidden to hunt, fish with a net, make fires and camp for tourists in places not intended for this. Also, here you can not collect plants, cut down trees and disturb wild animals.
White Bridges Waterfall
The natural complex of White Bridges waterfalls (Yukankoski) is located on the territory of the Pitkyarantsky district of the Republic of Karelia. A tourist who finds himself here will certainly appreciate the beauty of the most spectacular waterfalls in this part of the republic. Organized excursions are held here, and the description and photos of Yukankoski can be found in almost any guidebook for tourists in Karelia. You can go here at any time of the year, but many travelers advise planning a trip by car in dry weather (mainly a dirt road leads to the sights).
Archaeological finds of Karelia
In the description of interesting places in the Republic of Karelia, there are unique sights, the origin of which dates back to millennia BC. The most famous archaeological artifact of this region is the famous Onega petroglyphs, rock paintings of ancient people. Their age, according to various estimates, dates back to the 4th-3rd millennia BC. Karelian petroglyphs can be seen on the rocks of capes Besov Nos, Gagazhiy, Kladovets, Karetsky Nos, as well as in some other surroundings of Lake Onega. In total, about 1100 unique historical artifacts with symbolic images of ancient people, gods, mystical animals, birds, and boats have been preserved here. Also, among the petroglyphs of Lake Onega, one can see difficult-to-identify geometric figures. The most famous and visited attraction of this region is the Besov Nos Peninsula. Here is the famous triad, which includes the symbolic “demon”, “catfish”, and also “otter”. Ancient petroglyphs of the Republic of Karelia are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mysterious labyrinths on the Bolshoi Zayatsky Island in Solovki is another attraction that lovers of ancient history and archeology come to see. These amazing symbols clearly have a sacred meaning and are considered the northernmost man-made labyrinths on the planet. The approximate age of the Solovetsky labyrinths is about 3 thousand years BC. The largest labyrinth on the Bolshoy Zayatsky Island has a diameter of about 26 meters, the smallest – 6 meters. Mysterious artifacts are laid out with ordinary cobblestones, and their moves are single and double spirals with a random arrangement. Some labyrinth trails take tourists only a few minutes. On others, you can wander up to 30-40 minutes. This attraction is also unique in that some tourists who enter the ancient Solovetsky labyrinths partially lose their orientation in time and space. If you believe the reviews, some people here are even visited by visions of an inexplicable nature. This attraction is one of the most mysterious in Karelia (along with the sensational Mount Vottovaara).
Mysterious labyrinths are by no means the only attraction of Solovki. Archaeological excavations have been carried out in this part of Karelia for many years, during which scientists have managed to discover many interesting historical finds. In particular, the remains of the sites of primitive people with traces of stone tools of the 6th millennium BC were found on the archipelago.
Architecture of Karelia
No less impressive is the ancient architectural heritage, which is also known for the Republic of Karelia. A tourist who comes here has the opportunity to admire the amazing temples, sketes and other buildings, whose age is measured in hundreds of years. The real pride of Karelia is wooden architecture. Such monuments can be found in almost any region of the republic. The Kizhi Architectural Museum-Reserve is the most visited cultural and historical attraction, described in all guidebooks and books about Karelia. Here are such famous places as the wooden Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord built in 1714, the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin, the chapel of Michael the Archangel, the house of Oshevnev. The reserve is divided into several historical sectors, acquainting visitors with the history and cultural customs of the inhabitants of Petrozavodsk, Zaonezhye, Kondopoga and Pudozh regions, Veps, peoples of the Karelian north.
The Valaam archipelago is no less famous. This is another amazing place in the Republic of Karelia, known primarily for the fact that the Valaam Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior is located here. Numerous hiking trails are laid between the monastic sketes, which are very pleasant to walk in fine weather. The main attraction of Valaam is the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, built on the site of a lighthouse in the middle of the 19th century. Other places recommended for visiting during a holiday on the islands of the Valaam archipelago are the Lake of Fear, the temple of Veles, the Gethsemane Skete. In the evening, you can get a dose of aesthetic pleasure by going on a sightseeing trip on a motor boat along the waters of Lake Ladoga.
The history of the city of Sortavala has its roots in the early Middle Ages. The first mention of it occurs in 1468. However, historians know for certain that this area was inhabited by ancient people during the Stone and Iron Ages. In the 17th century, the territory of present-day Sortavala was ceded to Sweden, and at the beginning of the 20th century it managed to be under the rule of Finland. Today, this northern Karelian city is known for its rich architecture, represented mainly by the Northern Art Nouveau style. Walking along Sortavala, an inquisitive tourist will make many interesting discoveries. Among the places worth visiting are the Leander House, the former women’s gymnasium, the merchant Siitonen’s house, the Vegelius house, the former building of the Sortavala Pedagogical Seminary. Almost every architectural landmark, designed by the famous Finnish architect Uno Ulberg, is very popular with tourists.
The capital of the Republic of Karelia is also interesting from an architectural point of view. The description of the most famous places in Petrozavodsk mentions the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky, the monument to Peter the Great by the sculptor Ivan Schroeder, the monument to Emperor Alexander II. Petrozavodsk has the honorary title of the city of military glory, and is also included in the list of historical cities of Russia.
The most famous mud treatment resort in Karelia is Marcial Waters, located on the territory of the village of the same name in the Kondopoga region. It is a tourist attraction, primarily known for its ferruginous mineral springs. Local waters were used for the treatment and rehabilitation of various diseases back in the time of Peter I, who repeatedly visited this resort in person. Today, the Marcial Waters offer guests a wide variety of health and spa treatments. Their action is based mainly on local ferruginous mineral waters, as well as sulphide-silt mud baths, indicated in the treatment of many diseases.
In addition to mineral waters and mud, the main resort attraction of Karelia is known for its crystal clear air, lush coniferous forests, and a variety of songbirds. They are especially pleasant to listen to in the early morning. The Marcial Waters resort is located 50 km from Petrozavodsk.
Interesting museums of Karelia
In many Karelian cities and towns you can find historical, ethnographic, archaeological, art museums and galleries. Almost each of them is a sight that deserves a detailed story and a visit. Most museum relics are collected in Petrozavodsk. Among the popular sightseeing places of the Karelian capital are the National Museum, “House on the Square” (Museum of Fine Arts), “Polar Odyssey”, the Museum of Industrial History. Resting in Sortavala, we advise you to plan a visit to the Museum of the Northern Ladoga Region, located in a pretty old mansion of the beginning of the last century.
Sheltozero Veps ethnomuseum is another sightseeing attraction. Under the roof of the museum complex, unique relics of the spiritual and material culture of the Veps are collected. This is the most detailed story about the life of the indigenous Finno-Ugric people living in the territory of Karelia since ancient times.
The Museum of Kalevala Rune Singers has been operating in the village of Kalevala for almost forty years. Among other interesting museums are the Belomorsky local history, cultural and museum center “Kostomukshi”, the Kurkiyeksky local history center, the Medvezhyegorsk regional museum.
The Republic of Karelia is a wonderful place for eco-recreation, which is waiting for you at any time of the year. A tourist who comes to Karelia will find many attractions on its map – natural, historical, cultural, religious. Description of the best places in this region is difficult to fit into one article. The best way for a tourist to get to know the Republic of Karelia is a tour or a sightseeing tour with good guides.
“Big Country” wishes you an interesting journey. We are sure that you will fall in love with this amazing corner of boundless Russia at first sight. In turn, our map of Karelia with the most popular attractions for tourists will help you choose the best holiday destinations.