The archipelago of the Eastern Gulf of Finland outside Kotka, Hamina, Pyhtää, and Virolahti offers beautiful natural scenery, romantic fishing villages, and historic fortress islands. The Sapokka and Kuusinen marinas in Kotka are only a short boat trip away from the nearby islands, which can be reached either on commuter ferries or privately operated vessels. The popular RIB boat safaris are also a great way to spend a day in the beautiful Kotka archipelago. You can order a boat ride from Restaurant Vaakku in Varissaari or Kotkan Saaret Oy. Meriset, on the other hand, organises cruises to Tammio and Ulko-Tammio.
Kaunissaari is probably the most famous of the Pyhtää islands. The island has been a popular tourist destination since the 1950s. Here, the old harbour bay is lined with red beach storehouses and boathouses. Idyllic fishermen’s huts with their gardens and narrow alleyways invite you to sample the atmosphere of a 1930s fishing community, of which this rustic archipelago village is reminiscent. The island is covered with fine maritime pine forests shaped by the winds. The long sandy beaches on the northern and eastern shores invite you to relax and enjoy water games. Kaunissaari can be reached from Kotka by the commuter ferry, Otava.
Haapasaari is an old maritime surveillance and piloting island. It is located in the outer archipelago, about 40 minutes by boat from Kuusinen, in Kotka. The idyllic Haapasaari has a shop, a summer kiosk, a guest harbour, and a church and school from the 19th century. The shop in Haapasaari is unique; it is the smallest independent co-operative shop in Finland and has been serving customers since 1907. The fishing village was built around a sheltered natural harbour. Wartime bunkers and cannons can be seen on the nearby Kilpisaari and Vanhankylänmaa islands. You can explore Haapasaari on cruises organised by Meriset. The journey from Kotka to Haapasaari takes 90 minutes. The island can also be reached by the commuter ferry, Otava.
Tammio fishing village
Tammio is home to one of the best-preserved archipelago villages of the Eastern Gulf of Finland. You can sense the old archipelago spirit among the beach storehouses and along the narrow alleys. Tammio was first inhabited in the mid-16th century. In 1882, there were 47 houses in Tammio, and a primary school was built on the island in 1891. Tammio was an active fishing village until the 1950s. The island of Tammio also houses a museum presenting the life of the archipelago, and the island has twice been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore Tammio on cruises organised by Meriset. The archipelago cruise, along the beautiful archipelago route from Kotka to Tammio, takes two hours.
Ulko-Tammio island, a gem of the Eastern Gulf of Finland, is one of Finland’s national parks. The island is uninhabited, but serves as a habitat for rare birds and plants. Ulko-Tammio’s lush and beautiful nature features impressive, rugged cliffs. In Ulko-Tammio, you can hike on well-marked nature trails and the island’s bird tower offers a magnificent view of the national park. On weekends in June and July, a Metsähallitus guide is present on the island to guide visitors around the park.
During the interim peace, the island of Ulko-Tammio was fortified to serve as an outpost on the new eastern border. A cave used as an air-raid shelter during World War II, and two cannons returned to their original positions, remind visitors of the island’s military history. Ulko-Tammio can be reached by cruises organised by Meriset. An archipelago cruise along the beautiful archipelago route from Kotka to the Ulko-Tammio island takes two hours.