Alexander’s Cycling Route begins in the centre of Kotka, Kotkansaari, and takes you beside the foaming River Kymijoki, meandering through the National Urban Park of Kotka. Along the route, you can admire the varying riverside nature and whitewater rapids, be impressed by the strong presence of history, and also meet urban culture.
The route is an easy cycling route, and it offers many prominent sights and stops. If you wish to have a break, pop in in one of the charming cafeterias or restaurants alongside the route. If you want to see different sceneries on your way back, cycle back along the other side of the River Kymijoki.
About the route
Length of route: Approx. 14 km one way.
Place of departure: Kotkansaari, Herb Garden Redoubt (Yrttipuutarha Redutti).
End point: Koivula, fish ladder at Koivukoski dam bridge.
Terrain: Mainly pedestrian and bicycle ways, paved streets, and sand and gravel roads.
Instruction signs: The route is partially marked at intersections by wooden posts containing an ornamental letter A. If you want, you can choose alternative routes.
You can also get to know Alexander’s Cycling Route by means of Google map.
Description of route
1. Herb Garden Redoubt Kotka (Haukkavuorenkatu 9)
Amidst a renovated fortress structure originally dating from the era of the battles of Ruotsinsalmi in the late 18th century, you can find a magnificent herb garden with more 100 various aromatic and other herbs. The colourful planted groups are pleasing to the eye, and you can also see butterflies attracted by the herbs. You can gather up your energy for the bike ride from the scent of the plants. Tasting is also permitted!
When you leave the Herb Garden, the early part of the route traverses a more urban environment past the energy utility and regional hospital, until you come to the peace of the seashore and forest. After the hospital, you will continue on a gravel road past the single-family houses in Metsola and arrive at the Kotka Steam Brewery standing tall beside the sea..
2. Kotka Steam Brewery (Kotkan Höyrypanimo) (Metsontie 41)
The Kotka Steam Brewery building completed in 1895 has served as a brewery and also as a candle factory, sausage factory and carpentry shop. Nowadays the Steam Brewery is a venue of celebrations and meetings. The brewery operations have also been revived by Kotka Steam Brewery, and Restaurant Keisarinsatama serves delicacies. The restaurant derives its name meaning “Emperor’s harbour” from Imperial history.
It is here, at a place where the River Kymijoki meets the sea, that Emperor Alexander III of Russia landed at the end of the 19th century from ships with his entourage when he came to spend the summers at his summer resort in Langinkoski. From the harbour, the courtiers continued on smaller boats up the river, because Langinkoski was not accessible by large ships
3. Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge (Keisarinmajantie 118, tel. 0295336991)
The cycling route has derived its name from here, the main attraction of the route. Alexander III, Emperor of Russia, visited Langinkoski in 1880 and became so infatuated by the place that in 1889 he had a magnificent villa representing the style of romantic nationalism built beside the rapids. The Emperor spent his summer holidays at the Lodge with his family and courtiers, chopping wood and preparing food - free from the stiff manners and obligations of the Imperial court.
The Fishing Lodge was converted into a museum in the 1930s, and it is currently managed by the National Museum of Finland. The Fishing Lodge is surrounded by a marvellous nature conservation area, where you can walk and stretch your legs. There are also two cafeterias and other interesting buildings in the area, such as a small Orthodox chapel. The museum is open in the summer and for groups also at other times - make sure to check the precise opening hours from the museum!
When you have explored the Langinkoski area, ride along Keisarinmajantie road and turn left at the guidepost with the letter A, before the blocks of flats. When you continue along the sandy road, you can soon admire the sympathetic cottages and gardens of the Korela allotment on the right. After a short stretch in the forest and the motorway overpass, you come to the Kyminlinna area with its military history.
4. Kyminlinna (Sutelantie 84)
At Kyminlinna, you see a piece of significant built cultural environment in Finland. The Russians designed the Kyminlinna Fortress to serve as part of the defence of St Petersburg in the 1790s. The fortress is the only intact caponier fortress in Finland. You can enter the fortress on guided tours - plan your trip so that you can join a tour!
At Kyminlinna, you will also ride for a while along the King’s Road, an old postal route that started in Bergen in Norway and continued via Mariehamn, Turku and Kotka to St Petersburg.
In the Kyminlinna area, the cycling route follows the fortress bulwarks over some distance. When you turn left from the underpass after the fortress, the Kyminlinna rail stop remains on the right. Continue straight ahead for a while, and then turn left to Munkholmantie road. When you pedal along the banks of the river, you come to Siikakoski.
5. Siikakoski fishing area (Munkholmantie 101)
The River Kymijoki is the best salmon fishing river in Southern Finland, attracting fishermen from all parts of Finland to try their luck. At the beautiful Siikakoski rapids, you can watch avid fishers in their fishing waders and admire the historic surroundings, where the monks of the Valamo monastery started salmon fishing as early as the end of the 1790s. Treat yourself at the end of the cycling tour with coffee or food at the charming Villa Munkholma beside the rapids.
6. Koivukoski fish ladder (Jokipolku)
The small Koivukoski hydroelectric power plant is located right next to the Siikakoski fishing area beside the Koivula golf range. A fish ladder has been built past the power plant. Salmon, trout and migrating whitefish can climb upstream the River Kymijoki to spawn. A little further up, at the Koivukoski dam bridge, you can see another fish ladder.
You have now taken Alexander’s Cycling Route! You can go back along the same route or, if you wish to admire different sceneries, continue over the Koivukoski dam bridge and then turn left. This route will take you back along the idyllic countryside sceneries of Pihkoonraitti and Kaukolanraitti roads. At the end of Kaukolanraitti road, you can decide whether to continue to the centre of Kotka along the earlier route beside the Kyminlinna Fortress. Alternatively, you can head towards Karhula and its sights. Karhula houses attractions such as the Riverside Park, one of the splendid parks of the National Urban Park of Kotka.