Fall in love with the parks of Kotka. The Kotkansaari park trail is five kilometres long. You can pop into the parks you like, or travel the entire route on foot or by bike. The tour includes Sapokka Water Garden, Katariina Seaside Park, Sculpture Promenade, Haukkavuori Lookout Tower, Palotorninvuori Park, Mansikkalahti, Sibelius Park, and Redutti-Kotka herb garden.
Sapokka is an oasis in the middle of Kotka. The main element of this park, which is popular among locals and visitors alike, is water: in addition to the nearby sea, water can be found in small streams and ponds, and in the 20 metre-high waterfall in the southern section of the park. In spring, the park erupts into life with tens of thousands of bulbous plants, which continue in a rainbow of colours until the late autumn. In early summer, azaleas and rhododendrons are in dazzling bloom. Also experience the park in the dark – its special and award-winning lighting is stunning after sunset.
Katariina Seaside Park is an extensive outdoor recreation area created in the former oil port amid the ruins of the Ruotsinsalmi fortress. You could spend an entire day in this park. The park has a wide meadow area, with sheep in the summer, a Moomin playground, and plenty of opportunities for skateboarding. You can go fishing, play disc golf, play the drums and have a picnic in one of the many barbecue areas. One of them is a stone table, which is said to be the largest picnic table in Finland, for 50 people by the sea.
A meditation labyrinth modelled after the medieval Chartres Cathedral, with a 525-metre route to its heart, has also been built in the park. You can also learn about lighthouses in the Eastern Gulf of Finland, by means of scale models. You can walk between Katariina Seaside Park and Sapokka Water Garden along a path on the coast, while admiring the seascape.
Complete with playgrounds, the park named after the famous Finnish composer is the green living room of the people, and an important meeting place in the centre of Kotka. The park’s sophisticated design language, old trees and beautiful flower beds create a visual treat, and as you walk along the gravelled paths, you can image being in a bygone era. Sibelius Park is located at the start of Lehmuspromenadi, and is part of the Kotka Sculpture Promenade
Looking for ideas you can use in your own garden? In that case, Fuksinpuisto is the place to see plants species and their varieties that are adapted for home gardens. The area has plenty of groundcover, berry bushes and fruit trees, various clematis, and numerous perennials. The park is best known for its azaleas, which are at their most beautiful in early summer. Next to Fuksinpuisto, there is a park with exercise equipment and a playground.
Isopuisto is Kotka’s largest built park, situated around St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Grand Duke Konstantin laid the foundation stone of the church in late 18th century, as well as the first fir trees planted during his visit, which marked the beginning of park history in Kotka.
Isopuisto is an English-style landscape park, the design of which has been guided by the shapes of the terrain, trees that already stood there, and paths made by users. There is an impressive flower bed in front of the church, with more than 50 types of perennials and tens of thousands of bulbous plants blossoming in the spring, followed by azaleas in early summer.
Housed in a small fortification structure in Ruotsinsalmi, the Redutti-Kotka Herb Garden has an old-time spirit about it – people used to grow medicinal plants and herbs in its fortresses and monasteries. In the herb garden, you can view around a hundred herbal and medicinal plants whose shapes, colours and fragrances will delight all five senses. The garden has been designed with visually impaired and disabled persons in mind, and the name tags are also available in Braille.
Situated in Karhula, Kotka, Jokipuisto Park’s impressive granite walls, water lily ponds and beautiful flower beds combine to create a wonderful park, with paved paths making them accessible to all. Complete with a playground, this is an excellent location for a picnic.
The latest addition to Kotka’s national urban park is Koskipuisto, completed in 2020 – which is like a piece of wilderness in an urban setting. Here you can admire the sparkling rapids of the Kymi River and the beautiful natural scenery on the riverside. Located in the Koivula district, the park starts at the Koivukoski dam and power plant to the north and continues southwards along the river to Kokonkoski, where the river forks. The long fishing piers running along the shore and the rest areas with barbecue shelters make Koskipuisto park a dream destination for fishermen. Some of the piers are accessible to all. You can also enjoy refreshments in the café Villa Munkholma. Rest your mind alongside the foaming Siikakoski rapids and Munkkisaari island in their midst, with its eukterion, or house of prayer, built by orthodox monks.
This former landfill site has been converted into a recreation area, by adding about a million cubic metres of soil. It provides an ideal setting for exercise at any time of the year – it has the best toboggan hill in the area, and a 12-hole disc golf course in varying, and in some places, challenging terrain. There are also picnic areas where you can barbecue.
The extensive swamp and wetland area contributes to the park’s distinctive vegetation. Labrador tea, for example, grows naturally in the area, and rhododendrons also thrive.
Palotorninvuori Park was named after the fire tower, which was built in 1895 but burned down in August 1911. The observation platform commands a great view into Kotka legendary port and Tornatorintie road running along the coast. The road’s name comes from a song about an albatross, with lyrics by local boy Juha Vainio. The park has plenty of statues and sculptures, such as Oskari Jauhiainen’s Stevedores, and Ritsa (‘Slingshot’), an anti-air defence monument.