Are you looking for new destinations and unique experiences? Have you ever been to the East Coast of Finland? Only about an hour’s drive from Helsinki Airport, you will encounter Finland in a nutshell. Gorgeous archipelago, wild river estuaries and idyllic harbor towns overflowing with fascinating tales from the past.
1. Explore East Coast Heritage at Maritime Centre Vellamo
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience for the whole family, the Maritime Centre Vellamo is the place to go. This unique attraction in Kotka brings together the Maritime Museum of Finland, Kymenlaakso Museum, the Coast Guard Museum, and the event hall Ruuma to offer exhibitions and events that inspire contemplation and spark the imagination of visitors of all ages.
At the Maritime Centre Vellamo, history can be experienced through hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling, and playing. You can easily spend a whole day here and in the summer, the center’s offerings are complemented by the icebreaker Tarmo from 1907, the museum pier, and the outdoor area Kuuri.
You can find this gorgeous wave-shaped museum at the legendary Old Harbor on Kotkansaari Island which constitutes the center of the town Kotka. All services including accommodations and restaurants are withing walking distance from Vellamo.
2. Enjoy Finnish Sauna
If you’re planning a trip to Finland, you simply can’t miss out on the unique experience of visiting a Finnish sauna. With approximately two million saunas located throughout the country, the Finns have mastered the art of maximizing their sauna experience.
However, if you’re looking for something beyond the traditional sauna, the East Coast offers a variety of options to choose from, including saunas in a yurt, barrel, float, glass igloo, or even a cave.
After sweating it out in the sauna, take a refreshing dip in the cold waters of the eastern Finnish Gulf of Finland or the mighty Kymi River, which not only provides a perfect complement to the sauna experience but also offers a chance to swim and explore the beautiful natural surroundings.
Did you know that the Finnish sauna is not only a cultural tradition but also offers numerous health benefits? A sauna session can help you relax, relieve stress, and boost your overall well-being. Allow the warm steam and serene surroundings to heal your body and mind, improve your blood circulation, rejuvenate your skin, and provide a massage-like effect that will leave you feeling revitalized.
3. Go Rafting on the Roaring Kymi River
Looking for a unique adventure in nature? Look no further than the Kymi River region, where the river flows through and splits into five smaller streams before reaching the sea. Each of these streams has its own unique delta, providing a stunning backdrop for nature experiences. Whether you’re seeking peace and quiet or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, the bays and corners of the Kymi River offer it all, from fishing to water sports.
And for those thrill-seekers out there, white-water rafting on the Kymi River is an experience not to be missed. The river’s turbulent history dates back hundreds of years and served as a way to the sea for Vikings and fishermen, as well as forming a national border in the late 18th century. Today, the river provides the perfect setting for an exhilarating ride down the rapids, taking in the stunning scenery as you navigate the twists and turns of the river.
Don’t miss the chance to experience this unforgettable adventure during your visit to the East Coast!
4. Hike in Lapland-Like Scenery in Valkmusa National Park
Nestled within the expansive wetlands of Valkmusa National Park lies a serene oasis where visitors can truly immerse themselves in nature. The Lapland-like scenery offers a unique backdrop for hiking and exploring the beautiful wilderness of Finland.
Keep an eye out for rare birds and fluttering marsh butterflies, especially in spring and summer when the air is filled with bird song. During late summer and early autumn, you can indulge in the delicious taste of lingonberries, which grow between the marshes and invite you to snack. In the crisp autumn air, you can also search for the tart and juicy cranberries that thrive in the area.
Whether you prefer sleeping under the stars in a tent in Valkmusa National Park or a comfortable hotel stay in Kotka just a short drive away, we’ve got you covered for your nature getaway.
5. Discover the Historical Town of Hamina
Discover the rich history and cultural heritage of Hamina‘s old town! In the 19th century, Hamina was a bustling center of commerce and culture, where people from all over Europe converged to trade and exchange ideas. French, German, Swedish, Finnish, and Russian were all spoken in the town, making it a true melting pot of cultures. Merchants and officer candidates dominated the city’s public life, shaping the development of culture, politics, and economics not just in Hamina, but throughout the nation. The city also produced several notable figures, including statesman Leo Mechelin and artists Hugo Simberg and Magnus Enckell.
Come and explore the charming streets and buildings of Hamina’s old town and immerse yourself in its fascinating history!
A warm welcome to the East Coast of Finland!