photo © Discovering Finland
Tourism Kotka & Kotka Guide
Defined by the Baltic Sea and surrounding archipelago, Kotka is a picturesque town with a rich maritime tradition. It is home to the Maritime Museum of Finland and the Maretarium, and the Kymijoki River flowing through it is renowned for having the best salmon fishing in southern Finland, and for Langinkoski, the old Imperial Fishing Lodge located upstream. The most popular activities here are cruises around the archipelago, rafting and kayaking through the rapids of the Kymijoki, sailing and fishing.
Kotka is situated in the Kymenlaakso region of southern Finland, 130km east of Helsinki, and the city boasts two centres, Kotkansaari on the Isle of Kotka, and Karhula on the mainland to the north. It is a major Finnish port, the second largest export port and the biggest transit port in Finland.
Although the town was only granted its charter in 1878, Kotka has a rich history and played an important role in the many struggles between Sweden and Russia down the years, especially in maritime battles. The towns identity is in part defined by the Kymijoki River, the Baltic Sea, and the archipelago around it, and most of its area is in fact water.
With water playing such an important role in Kotka’s history, and its present, it is no surprise that the city has such a rich variety of water-based activities and attractions for the visitor. Cruises around the archipelago, rafting and kayaking through the rapids of the Kymijoki, sailing and fishing opportunities all vie for your time. The modern Maritime Centre Vellamo is home to numerous exhibitions devoted to the sea and seafaring traditions of the region, with collections on display from the Maritime Museum of Finland and Museum of Kymelaakso. The museum quay is the mooring place of notable ships, including the Icebreaker Tarmo, the oldest of its kind in the world, and the coast guard vessel Telkkä. Adults and children alike will enjoy Maretarium, with 22 different tanks and more than 50 species of fish, including every species native to Finland’s rivers and lakes. Travelers should also drop into the Finnish Wooden Boat Centre, where they can learn all about the rich heritage of wooden boat construction and use in Finland down through the years, and see boats being worked on by skilled craftsmen.
Kymijoki River is renowned for its fishing, having the best salmon fishing in southern Finland, but there are plenty of other fish to catch too, such as pike, perch, whitefish, and zander, or walleye. For those who prefer a lot more action, the river contains exciting rapids which can be rafted, canoed, or kayaked down. Take a trip upstream to see Langinkoski, the old Imperial Fishing Lodge which now serves as a museum. It is unique in that it is only building outside Russia that was once owned by Emperor Alexander III of Russia.
Another museum worth visiting id The Aviation Museum situated at the Kymi airfield, where you see 15 planes, including the rare Harakka elementary training gliders, a Fouga Magister, a MIG-21F jet fighter, and the world’s only flying Glouster Gauntlet fighter from the second world war.