The area where Vyborg is located used to be in the ancient time a trading center on the Vuoksi River. The area was inhabited by the Karelians – people of Finnic origin who by the early Medieval period became subjects of Novgorod Republic. The Novgorodians ruled the area until so-called \"Third Swedish Crusade\", when Sweden conquered the area and built the first stone castle of Vyborg. The castle was fought over for decades between Sweden and the Republic of Novgorod. By the Treaty of Nöteborg in 1323, Viborg was finally recognized as a part of Sweden. It withstood a prolonged siege by Daniil Shchenya during the Russo–Swedish War of 1496–1499.

Viborg remained in Swedish hands until its capture by Peter the Great in the Great Northern War (1710). The Treaty of Nystad (1721), which concluded the war, assigned the town and a part of territory from the Baltc Sea to Ladoga Lake to Russia. After yet another Russo-Swedish war Finland (then Swedish province) was ceded to Russia in 1809. Tzar Alexander I gave Vyborg and its whole province to the newly-created Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the fall of the Russian Empire, Finland declared itself independent. During the Finnish Civil War Vyborg was in the hands of the Reds until it was captured by the White Finns on 29 April 1918.

As a result of Finno-Soviet so-called Winter War, more than 70,000 people were evacuated from Vyborg to western Finland. The Winter War was concluded by the Peace of Moscow, which stipulated the transfer of Vyborg and the whole Karelian Isthmus to Soviet control. After the war Vyborg became an important paper producing centre. Ater the fall of Soviet Union the tourism developed significantly, and the Russian film festival Window to Europe takes place in the town each year. Among the most prominent landmarks of Vyborg is the Old Castle. Sprawling along the heights adjacent to the Gulf of Finland is Mon Repos, one of the most spacious English parks in Eastern Europe.