There are many beautiful cities on the southern coastline of Finland, and one of them is Kotka. It is a bit over 100km to the east from Helsinki. Kotka is situated right on the Gulf of Finland, and it is an important port city and an industrial center. Besides that, Kotka offers cool museums, beautiful parks, and interesting events to its visitors. Let us dig in and find places to visit in Kotka.
The first thing to know is that Kotka is truly a city of parks; there are a great number of them starting from the city center and spreading to the outskirts of the town. Each and every one of Kotkas parks is calm, green, and has a thing of its own. To see the best of it, go to the Sapokka Water Garden. Honestly, this is the best park I have seen so far. You will enjoy tiny white bridges, colorful flowers, and a majestic waterfall.
If you are into the wilderness, find the Katariina Seaside Park: its rocky shores, green forest, and charming lighthouse statues will not disappoint you.
A more classy and gracious park would be the Sibelius Park. Named after a famous Finnish composer, it is sleek and beautiful, like his symphonies.
The Sibelius Park is a part of 'the Sculpture Promenade': an alley full of trees, and exotic sculptures. Do not forget to look around while walking, since there are some beautiful street art murals on the houses around this area.
The Sculpture Promenade leads you to another park: the Toivo Pekkanen park. This one is a bit different; it looks classy and polished, with pigeon shaped bushes and stunning fields.
Walking a bit further from the park, you will find a yellow watching tower, one more attraction to visit in Kotka. I, personally, had bad luck with this one: I have been in Kotka two times, and yet I have not managed to get up the tower. Hopefully, you will have better luck since, even from the bottom of the tower, the views are gorgeous; I can not even imagine how scenic it is up there. The tower also holds art exhibitions.
Not far from the city center stands the coolest building in Kotka: Maritime Centre Vellamo. It has a modern terrace for hanging out. There you can have a place to sit and a beautiful sea horizon to admire. The building itself is very peculiar, with colorful layered glass and perfect shape design. Inside the Maritime Centre Vellamo is a museum. It tells the history of the city and has a cute playroom for kids, so they for sure will not get bored during your cultural moment.
My favorite restaurant in town is also situated here, in Vellamo. The terrace overlooking the sea and city landscape that you can see from here speaks for itself. A tasty lunch is served in the cafe, so if you are passing by in the midday, take a step into the Restaurant Laakonki for a healthy food break on a budget.
In a case you are more of a nature traveler, check out the Langinkoski, the Emperor's fishing lodge. This is an old house that stands on the stunning rapids of the Kymi river.
Nowadays, the house is a museum, but years before, it served as a fishing lodge for the Russian Emperor. The surroundings of Langinkoski are lovely, and you can walk forest trails or sit above the bustling rapids and just enjoy the view.
There is a lively summer event in Kotka - the Maritime Festival. The city port outside the Maritime Centre Vellamo is then filled with people, street food kiosks, and music. During those days, you can see many theater and music performances and also attend a lot of free events for the whole family. The Kotka Maritime Festival takes place on the last week of July.
If you are looking for a new city for a day trip while in Finland, visit Kotka. Kotka is all about the sea; the Maritime Centre Vellamo will tell you the story of it, and the Sapokka Water Garden will entertain you with its unique waterfall. The countless parks are undoubtedly Kotka's gems! Take a walk on the Sculpture Promenade leading to the Toivo Pekkanen Park or stroll the alleys of Sibelius Park. If you are visiting during the end of July, do not miss the Kotka Maritime Festival, an entertaining event for the whole family that takes place just once a year. If you long for nature, take a trip to Langinkoski, the Emperor's Fishing Lodge situated on river rapids. Kotka has something to offer for any kind of traveler!
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