Kotka, Finnish for "eagle", is the southeasternmost major city in Finland and part of the Kymenlaakso region. The municipality has a population of around 55,000 and much of its area is made up of water. The city centre of Kotka is located at Kotkansaari — the "Eagle's Island". A few kilometres north of it, around the motorway is Karhula which is a kind of second centre and home to several shopping malls.
Unfortunately there are no fast InterCity or Pendolino trains to Kotka, but slower yet acceptably quick local trains connect Kotka to Kouvola where you can change trains to get into Helsinki and numerous other destinations.
Centre of the city, Kotkansaari (Island of Kotka) is small enough to get around by feet. However if you need to go to other parts of the city you should use bus, take a taxi or rent a car. Check bus schedules from www.kotka.fi/aikataulut. You can call a taxi from number 10041.
- Maretarium Aquarium, Sapokankatu 2. An aquarium displaying almost all Finnish fish species.
- Sapokka Park (Sapokan vesipuisto). Ponds, trees, flowers, a waterfall, a rock exhibition.
- Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge and Nature Reserve' (Langinkosken keisarillinen kalastusmaja), Keisarinmajantie 118 (Langinkoski is situated about 7 kilometers from the city centre.). This old fishing lodge was made of timber in 1889 for Russian Emperor & Grand Duke Alexander the Third. It is situated in beautiful surroundings with rapids, trees and small rivers. The area of the nature reserve consists 28 hectares (60 acres). There is also a small Orthodox Chapel on the area. The entrance to the nature reserve is free and the entrance to the Fishing Lodge about 4 euros (children 2 euros).
- Maritime Centre Vellamo (Merikeskus Vellamo), Tornatorintie 99. The Maritime Museum of Finland and The Museum of Kymenlaakso are located in an architectural masterpiece in the old port of Kotka. In addition to the exhibition, work, teaching and seminar facilities of the Maritime Museum of Finland and Museum of Kymenlaakso, the building will house a 200-seat auditorium, museum shop, restaurant and an extensive library with emphasis on maritime topics.
- Orthodox Church of St Nicholas. The present Church of St Nicholas was built between 1799 and 1801 in accordance with drawings by Jakov Perrin, architect of the St Petersburg Admiralty. The columns at the three entrances together with the belfry and dome of this church representing Neoclassicism form an impressive façade. The icons and several objects inside the church are very beautiful. One of the most extraordinary icons depicts St Nicholas in Kotkansaari, with a view of the area of the Ruotsinsalmi naval battle behind him. Outside the church, there is a statue of Maria Purpur, who is reputed to have prevented the destruction of the church during the Crimean War. The church is the oldest building in today’s Kotka.
- Haukkavuori observation tower (Haukkavuoren näkötorni). A former water tower converted to an observation tower where you can see all of Kotka and its surroundings, and if the weather is clear, all the way to Suursaari island.
- Cruises to Kaunissaari and other islands. Kaunissaari (literally Beautiful Island) Island is a traditional, small but still lively fisherman village. Boats from Sapokka Harbour (in front of Maretarium Aquarium) about 2-3 times a day in the summer. Tickets are sold on boats. On the island you find a very small museum, a restaurant (good fish dishes) and accommodation. Remember to taste extremely delicious salmon pastries which are sold at a kiosk near the museum. There are also cruises to the islands of Tammio (only one permanent inhabitant!), Ulkotammio and Haapasaari (10 inhabitants, 25 kilometers from Kotka).
- Pasaati shopping centre, Keskuskatu 10. Pasaati is a large shopping centre right in the centre of Kotka. It has shops for every taste and is particularly full of Russian shopping tourists.
- Jumalniemi, Jumalniementie 7-10. Jumalniemi shopping area can be found next to the E18 freeway. You can find many different shopping malls in the area.
Cheap places to eat include:
- Erkan Kebab, Keskuskatu 35. Standard-issue Finnish-style kebab.
- Hot dog stand, at the corner of Keskuskatu and Kaivokatu. As traditional Finnish night food as it gets. Try Lihapiirakka kahdella nakilla (small meat pie with two frankfurters).
- Efes Pizzeria, Keskuskatu 29. Kotka's staple pizzeria/kebab house. Budget, no frills. Go for Kebab ranskalaisilla for gyros meat and fries.
- Ravintola Kairo, Satamakatu 7, ☎ , fax: +358 5 212787. Tu-Sa 1PM-late, We 1PM-2AM. Fr-Sa 1PM-4AM. A "traditional seafarer's restaurant" in central Kotka.
- Amarillo, Keskuskatu 21, ☎ 0201234666. Mo-Th 4PM-midnight, Fr 4PM-2AM, Sa noon-2AM, Su noon-midnight. A Texmex-style chain restaurant close to the bus station.
- Canttiini, Kaivokatu 15, ☎ 05214130. Mo-Tu 10.30AM - 10PM, We-Fr 10.30AM - 11PM, Sa noon - 11PM, Su noon - 8PM.
- Rosso, Kauppakatu 5 (Located on the first floor of PASAATI shopping center.). Italian style chain restaurant offers mainly pizza and salad bar, some other plates as well.
- Ilon talo, Kirkkokatu 8, ☎ . A classy nightclub with plenty of music, drinks and good company.
- NEXT Hotel Karhulan Hovi (Karhulan Hovi), Ahlströmintie 26, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. French style manor in Karhula, 9 km from Kotka downtown.
- Hotelli Merikotka, Satamakatu 9, ☎ . Single room 55€.
You can go more or less anywhere in Kotka any time of the day. Although Kotka has its share of violence and drug use, violent crime happens mostly between addicts and criminals themselves. Robbings are very uncommon.
You might want to avoid jumping a line anywhere during the night, particularly at Finnish hot dog stands ("nakkikioski"). Drunken fights are not unheard of.