The Railway station of Parikkala is the starting place of the route, where you can start off with a cup of coffee. There is a good selection of services in Parikkala, even a bicycle workshop can be found. From the centre, it is approximately four kilometres to Siikalahti, which is worth visiting by starting at the nature den. Siikalahti’s one-kilometre-long nature path that starts from the parking area takes you to the bird tower in the middle of wetland via the nature den. The mysterious blowing calls of the Great Bittern and the ear-blowing concert of the night ravens are memorable experiences. You can experience them, if you time your trip to early summer or night-time. The birds’ migration route crossing Eastern Finland brings Siikalahti to life during the spring an autumn. During the year, you are able to see almost 200 bird species at Siikalahti, and during one day, up to more than one hundred species. It may be quiet at the bird lake during mid-summer, but as a natural site it still worth seeing.
The journey from Siikalahti continues between the Finnish-Russian border, where you can see Lake Tyrjänraja on the Russian side of the border. The island’s church is reached by cycling around Lake Suuri Rautjärvi, close to the Russian border. Near the church, you will find the observation tower built on Vaaranmäki, where it is worth climbing to admire the wide views of the environment.
The route then takes you around Lake Pien-Rautjärvi, which is larger than Lake Suuri Rautjärvi. The reason for the size difference, is the lowering of the lake which was carried out in the 1800s and 1900s, to obtain more agricultural land from the shore of the lake. There are two bird towers at the shore of Lake Pien-Rautjärvi, Tarasiinlahti's tower, and at the northern part of the lake there is Pohjoisranta's tower. At Tarassiinlahti, you will be able to see, e.g. geese, Finnish national birds; swans, and other bird species, depending on the time of the year. The nearby fields are popular among curlews. Accommodation is available at Mikkolanniemi’s operational centre is located in the vicinity of the bird tower.
Tarnalankylä is a valuable scenic area, where beautiful views to Lake Pien-Rautjärvi open out. At the village, you can turn towards Uukuniemi, where there is a camping area at Karjala Pyhäjärvi’s Papinniemi (including cabins) and an interesting memorial of the previous Orthodox village. Papinniemi is 24 kilometres away, and the last 2 km is a dirt road.
After the bird towers, we must cycle a short distance on Highway 6, remember to stay right at the edge of the road! In the built-up area of Saari, there is a shop and an exciting hotel that has a fire station themed interior design, Fireman Center. In the neighbouring village, in Kirjavala, you will find Finland’s oldest operating village shop, i.e. Röksan kauppa. It is located right along Kirjavala Canal which was excavated in connection with the implementation of the previously mentioned lake lowerings. It is worth visiting the village of Kesusmaa from Röksän kauppa, to see the enormous erratics Mykkii Stone, in which vicinity there is granary accommodation available.
The journey continues in forest sceneries, via Oronmylly holiday and course centre, towards Särkisalmi, which divides Lake Simpelejärvi in to two. You can reach the centre of Parikkala from Särkisalmi along the bicycle path. There are dining and accommodation opportunities in Oronmylly, Särkisalmi and Parikkala. Parikkala's speciality is Hotel-Restaurant Kägöne, which is located along Highway 6, which is a stunning log building that represents Karelian architecture.