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Located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland at the mouth of the Kymi River, Kotka (Finnish for “eagle”) is a bustling port city. This city that’s a collection of small islands off the coast has a history that’s deeply rooted in maritime traditions, which is no surprise seeing that most of the city is water. In fact, the city center is situated on Kotkansaari (“Island of Kotka”) just a short distance from the mainland.
There’s so much to do on a cruise to Kotka, most of which involves water. Go fishing, boating, or kayaking; cruise through the islands of the city; or visit its many maritime museums. You can’t visit Kotka without savoring some of the freshest seafood dishes around, and don’t miss the chance to end your delicious meal with “possos”—deep-fried doughnuts, traditional pastries of Kotka. Enjoy the charm of Kotka on a cruise to Europe with Celebrity Cruises.
The tree-lined Sculpture Promenade runs right through the center of Kotka. Stroll the walkway, admiring its contemporary sculptures, charming restaurants, playgrounds, park benches, and shops. This award-winning exhibit’s sculptures are within walking distance of each other.
This world-class dockside museum shaped like a wave tells the fascinating story of Finland’s maritime past. You’ll see the Tarmo, an old ice-breaker from 1908 that was only retired in 1970, plus fascinating exhibits on fishing, logging, shipwrecks, and navigation.
Sapokka Water Garden is one of the most lauded parks in Finland. Watch as the water flows from the sea to brooks, ponds, and tall waterfalls. Take a break by the peaceful garden areas, which are planted with stunning blooms and gorgeous trees.
Finland’s oldest ironworks building dates back to 1698. Today, you’ll see demos of ironworking, a working mill wheel, and an old smith’s workshop all set in a charming village. The museum, an art gallery, assorted craft shops, and a restaurant are tucked amid the property’s forest, nature trails, rivers, and bridges.
Take a guided fishing trip to the best spots in the area with the fisherman who know these waters best. Have your choice of locations to catch and release pike, asp, and salmon. Fishing gear, snacks, and coffee come included on many tours.
With so many forests in Finland, most of the older homes are built of wood. Entire towns of charming wooden houses painted in bright colors are a backdrop for some incredible photos you’ll take. Porvoo and Loviisa are two such idyllic towns near Kotka you may want to visit.
While you’re in Finland’s coastal area, be sure to try some local delicacies. Fresh, clean, and simple is the hallmark of Finnish cuisine. Salmon is regularly fished here and often shows up on a plate grilled or made into soup or pastries. Spring potatoes are a staple, as are cloudberries, lingonberries, and mushrooms. Try a bowl of reindeer stew or some bread cheese, and wash it down with a glass of milk or a local beer. For an after-dinner aperitif, try lakka, a Finnish liqueur made from cloudberries.
People have lived in Finland for about 9,000 years, drawn to it by the abundance of wild game and fish. Today, the population is around 5.5 million and the Finns are among the happiest people on the planet. Finland has two national languages—Finnish and Swedish. As a whole, Finns live a life that is relaxed, simple, and straightforward. They have a solid appreciation and respect for nature and forests.
On your Kotka cruise, you’ll dock at the port of Hamina-Kotka on the Gulf of Finland’s north shore. It’s the largest port in Finland and about a 15-minute drive to downtown Kotka.
It’s possible to get around on foot in Kotka, but if you want to travel a bit further, there are options. Finland has a bus system that is widely used by locals and tourists alike. You can also take a taxi or rent a car or electric scooter.
There are wonderful shops throughout Kotka where you can purchase items to remind you of your Kotka cruise. Pick up a magnificent glass piece from Iittala or colorful textiles from Marimekko. A puukko, a traditional Finnish hunting knife with a beautiful wood handle, makes for a memorable memento. For the kids, look for souvenirs featuring Moomins characters—these snowy white, roundish trolls are wildly popular in Finland.
The official currency in Finland is the euro. Tipping does not exist in Finland as a service charge is usually included in your bill. Anything extra you give is an unexpected bonus.