The Katariina Seaside Park is a pleasant day trip destination for everyone especially for families with kids, providing opportunities for learning about environmental knowledge, physical education, music, visual arts, religion and mathematics. Before leaving for the trip, make sure to take along warm clothing: it is always windy beside the sea, and it may feel chilly even on a warm spring day.
The Katariina Seaside Park can be reached by car or by walking from Sapokka along the shore through Catharine walking path. If you start exploring the park counter-clockwise along the shore, you will get warmed up using the activity equipment near the shoreline. When you move further on, you come to Ankkuriluoto (Anchor Islet), which is an official site for scattering the ashes of the deceased. Then along the way there is a xylophone with which you can play your favourite music to the sea breeze. The journey will next lead to a meditation labyrinth, where you can calm down and also practice geometry. If you walk to the middle of the labyrinth and back, you will walk a full kilometre!
Near the labyrinth are scale models of lighthouses on the Eastern Gulf of Finland. Smaller children may like the Moomin character Mörkö (The Groke), who is in the vicinity. Towards the end of the tour, you can admire various ornamental plants in the pond and along the flowing streams. Skaters and scooters should bring their own equipment – there is an excellent skate park in the Katariina Seaside Park!
Do not forget some snacks with you as at Katariina Seaside Park there are equipped barbecue places (make sure you bring own charcoal) and picnic tables. The largest table can accommodate up to 50 persons!
Herb Garden Redoubt is located in an old restored fortress structure in Kotka. The garden is a home for nearly 100 different herbs and aromatic plants that have traditionally been used for seasoning food and for medication. Here you can close your eyes, open your senses and smell the strong and vibrant scent of the herbs!
The herb garden is at its best in the harvest season in the late summer, but you are sure to get tips for setting up your own kitchen garden throughout the summer. The herbs growing in the garden are provided with name labels. The labels take the visually impaired into account: the texts are also printed in braille. The fragrant herbs with their special inflorescences also attract butterflies to the garden. The herb garden with its butterfly species and special flowers is therefore also suited as an attraction for those interested in photography and butterflies.
The Herb Garden is located within the walking distance from main tourist attractions of Kotka city center and can be also included in a cycling sightseeing tour. There is parking available on the wide shoulder of the adjacent Haukkavuorenkatu street on the side of the garden in case you come by car.
The Sapokka Water Garden offers things to see throughout the year, but especially in the spring and early summer the park is really blazing with its 10,000 flower bulbs! The Sapokka pond, water motifs, robust stonework, lush planted areas, romantic arched bridges and the enchanting waterfall are an indication of the hard work that has been done in Kotka for its parks.
As soon as the snow melts, the glowing tulips and daffodils as well as the delightful Siberian squills rise towards the sun. At the beginning of June, it is time for the glorious azaleas and rhododendrons to bloom in bright colours. The summer continues with roses, fleur-de-lis, day lilies...there are over 300 species and varieties and more than 20,000 planted plants in the water garden. The aesthetics of the garden are complemented by bronze animal sculptures by the sculptor Hannele Kylänpää and by the steelworks by the artist professor Eero Hiironen. If you come to Kotka during some event, you may find a choir performing on the small island in the middle of the pond.
The pond is encircled by a walkway about half a kilometre long. There are benches along the walkway for resting and for admiring the park.
Tip: When the azaleas blossom from the end of May to almost Midsummer, it is worth your while to also visit the Fuksinpuisto Park about 200 metres’ walk from Sapokka.
Are you interested in history? If you are, the Karhula Riverside Park is just the right attraction, where you can both admire a magnificent park and contemplate on times gone by. The Karhula Riverside Park is located on the bank of the easternmost branch of the river Kymijoki, Korkeakoskenhaara, adjacent to the Karhula indoor swimming pool and sports field. The park built in many levels houses ponds, brooks and impressive granite walls, along which water flows into the river in small waterfalls. Ponds that blossom in waterlilies of different colours as well as imposing planted perennials and shrubs constitute a spectacular oasis for silence.
The Riverside Park is located at the origins of the industrialization of Karhula and Kotka. At the end of the 19th century, there were already numerous steam sawmills along the river Kymijoki. Quite aptly, a work of art named Alkulähteillä (At the Source) by Antti Maasalo rises from the pond at the uppermost level. This branch of the river Kymijoki was actually once the most important route for floating logs in Finland. In 1948, a record number of 15.5 million logs glided past the present park! The history of log floating is also reflected by the sculpture Tukinuittajat (Log Floaters) by Emil Wikström, now relocated in the park.
It is easy to reach the Karhula Riverside Park by local bus going to Karhula and by bike – the distance from Kotka city center is 10 km. There is plenty of parking space right next to the park. For resting, there are nice sitting places as well as granite tables with a free use of outdoor barbecue sites.