Kotka has been on my Finnish Bucket list for quite some time. I’ve been there only once, back in February of 2013. But it was a short visit and I hardly saw anything. Yet I’ve heard many positive things about this city, and I desperately wanted to come here again, preferably in the summertime and find out whether it is as beautiful as people describe.
How to get to Kotka from Helsinki?
Cheapest way to travel to Kotka from Helsinki is by bus (onnibus.com). Round-trip ticket usually costs around 15 euros per person. But if you prefer more flexible trip and a possibility to make some stops on your way, then you’ll need a car. It’s not the cheapest option if you are a tourist but it’s definitely the easiest way to travel in Finland.
I do not mention trains because there are no direct roots to Kotka from Helsinki.
What to do in Kotka in a day?
We made our first stop in Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge. It’s a picturesque river sight and a famous fishing place. The fishing lodge or a summer cottage if you will, was built here in 1889 for the Russian Emperor Alexander III and his family. That’s where the name comes from. As for Langinkoski rapids, it was called after its local owner back in 17th century.
Walking along a path it was easy to understand why Emperor liked this place so much. It was his little countryside paradise, where he could be free from the strict court etiquette.
And I do agree, it is enjoyable and relaxing to be away from the busy and overcrowded city. It felt great to be here, to observe Finnish nature and to listen to the soothing sound of the running water.
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Kotka is often called a Town of Parks. The best-known park is Sapokka Water Garden. It is also most awarded green area in Finland. And here is why:
I’ve seen many parks in different countries, but this one is by far the most beautiful park I’ve been to. It simply blew me away!
Next park we visited was Katariina Seaside Park. Not as impressive as Sapokka but lovely, nevertheless. There are several picnic spots equipped with barbeque grills and granite tables. But keep in mind that you’ll need to bring your own firewood or charcoal for it. There is also playground for kids, which make this park perfect for families with children.
And if I’m not mistaken it is the only place in Finland where you can see all Finnish lighthouses at the same time. Well, not the actual lighthouses, of course, but their miniatures.
And last park we went to was Sibelius park, also known as “Green living room of Kotka”, which was named after the world-famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It is located in the city centre, at the beginning of the Linden Esplanade, and it’s a part of the Sculpture Promenade.
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Where we ate and drank in Kotka?
We had our first snack in the Fish café Kalamaja (address: Juha Vainion katu 95). We bought typical Finnish sandwiches, rye bread with a smoked salmon and a glass of milk (milk drink to be exact). Two sandwiches and two glasses of milk cost only 8 euros, which is pretty cheap for Finland. It was also indescribably good!
Oh, and look at the view from their terrace!
That deep blue colour is truly mesmerizing! The surface looks like a liquid mirror. I think I could stay there for hours, observing the gentle movements of the hypnotizing water.
So, if you are in the area, then I’d suggest you check this place out.
We came to Marina Café Laituri (address: Meriniementie 1) to quench our thirst and to enjoy the calming seascape.
Price for the 0.5L glass of beer was 6 euros.
As for dinner, we wanted to have something easy, filling and cheap. Restaurant Lifa (address: Kirkkokatu 8) ticked all the boxes. They had everything: kebab, pizzas, pastas, burritos, steaks, etc. Prices were quite reasonable (7-9 euros, depending what you order), portions were big, and food was delicious.
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Kotka looks like a little Paradise in the summer. I’ve spent just one day there, but by the end of it I was completely in love with this charming city. And I really hope to visit it again in the near future, maybe even spend a weekend there.
Hope you enjoyed it!