Larger lakes are connected with channels and rivers. The amount of rivers in Karelia is also great - approximately 27 thousand, their total length is 83 thousand km. Nevertheless, most rivers are only 10 km long, the largest ones - Kemi, Suna and Shuja - last for 260-360 km.

The river systems of Middle and North Karelia belong to the basin of White Sea. The main rivers here are Vyg and Kemi, some are less long - Vonga, Shuja, Pongoma, Kuzema, Sig, Kereti (Karelian shore) and Suma, Virma, Kolezhma, Njuhcha (Pomorian shore). The rivers, which flow into Onego and Ladoga lakes - Suna, Shuja, Olonka, Vidlitsa, Tulemaioki - belong to the basin of Baltic Sea.

The longest are rivers Vodla (400 kms) and Kemi (360 kms). Rather a high height of watershed is the reason for a high general dip of the main rivers of the republic (the dip of Suna id more than 300 m, Kemi - more than 200 m). The rivers of northern Karelia have lots of rapids.

The rivers of Karelia have different levels of water and are full of various obstacles, which makes them popular among water tourists. It is easy to find a route of any complexity level here. That’s why rivers Shuja, Vodla, Chirka-Kemi and some others are far-famed among canoeists of Russia.

But not all water obstacles are passable even in a high tide.Some of them must be walked around so it’s neccessary to get acquainted with a route beforehand or to consult the natives.

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