Day 6.  Viewing the Tall Ships in Kotka 

Having previously enjoyed seeing the Tall Ships in Helsinki in 2013 we were keen to catch up with them again, this time in Kotka.  Located on the south coast of Finland, Kotka’s city centre is situated on Kotkansaari island.  Getting from Helsinki was very easy, we booked with Onnibus who have regular daily services between the cities,  are inexpensive and have comfortable coaches with pre-bookable seats.  The journey took approximately 90 minutes and it was then only a short walk to the port area to view the Tall Ships.

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Tall Ships in Kotka, Finland

The Tall Ships Races are part of the international youth sailing event attracting approximately 3,000 sailors in 73 boats from 20 countries.  The boats had all arrived in port the previous day and were an impressive sight lined up along the quay with their brightly coloured flags fluttering in the gentle breeze.

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View along the Kotka quayside at the Tall Ships Festival

It was possible to board many of the larger ships and to get a feel of what life on board is like.  The Royal Navy of Oman’s ship, Shabab Oman II was particularly impressive.  This boat had only been in service for three years and is a blend of traditional and modern with luxurious interiors coupled with authentic tall ship wooden decking, sails and rigging.  On boarding a Polish boat we were offered mugs of home made soup which was both welcome and delicious.

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The sloping roof of the Kotka Maritime Museum

Standing at one end of the port is the Maritime Museum of Finland which has a 300 metre long sloping roof accessed from ground level with good views of the boats.  As part of the Tall Ships festival the museum was offering free admittance to the Tarmo icebreaker which has permanent moorings alongside the quay.  Being interested, we clambered on board the ship which was built in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.  Our self guided tour proved extremely interesting and was an unexpected bonus to our visit to the Tall Ships.

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The Tarmo steam powered icebreaker, Kotka Maritime Museum

After several hours spent admiring the boats we decided to take a look around Kotka as we hadn’t visited previously.  The market square had a collection of fruit and vegetable stalls, outdoor cafes plus a temporary stage for the festival.  Not far from there we wandered through Isopuisto Park which had been constructed around the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas built in 1801.  The park has been designed to resemble an English style landscape garden reminding us of home.

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Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, Kotka

Near the small boat harbour we joined crowds lining the streets to watch the crew parade which takes place in each port.  Crews from the 73 international boats taking part made their way slowly along to enthusiastic cheers.  Some crews wore fancy dress whilst others wore full naval uniform often pausing to sing and dance in styles reflecting their homeland.  Prizes were awarded in several categories for crews participating in the parade.

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Russian sailors taking part in the Crew Parade, Tall Ships Race, Kotka
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Brazilian crew entertaining the crowds at the Crew Parade

Feeling happy that we had been able to watch the crew parade, there was just enough time to explore the Sapokka water garden and the small boat harbour on the southern shores of Kotkansaari.  It was more attractive along here than in the port area and on a future visit I’d like to explore this area in more detail.

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Sapokka Water Garden, Kotka

Attractive small cafes overlook the harbour with outdoor terraces taking in the scenery.  Glancing at our watches there was sadly insufficient time to stop for a drink as our bus back to Helsinki was due to depart twenty minutes later.  Unsurprisingly, we were soon fast asleep on the return journey to Helsinki after enjoying a splendid day out in Kotka.  Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to return one day to explore the waterfront in more detail.

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41 thoughts on “Day 6.  Viewing the Tall Ships in Kotka 

  1. Pingback: Day 3.  A visit to Sopot and Gdynia – Love Travelling

    1. About three years ago the Tall Ships came to London, Greenwich and Canary Wharf but there wasn’t enough space for them all to be moored by the quay so the bigger ones were anchored slightly off shore which wasn’t so good as visitors couldn’t get access. Going back n the museum boat was a bonus and my menfolk spent ages examining the engine room etc!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kotka has an abundance of parks, I hope to write a post on them sometime soon. It’s quite amazing for such a small place. I’m sorry you didn’t have time to explore Sapokka more. Glorious photos of the ships. When I visited Kotka with my co-workers, we had trouble finding sparkling wine anywhere – I hope they’d fixed that for the Tall Ships days 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh I always love the Tall Ships festivals and parades especially when blue skies☀️😉Have visited first one in Amsterdam more than twenty years ago and since then two more here in Antwerp, hope they return soon 😉💙 enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good Morning Marion.

    Wow. Wow for photos and the informative text. Thank You. We visited there on Saturday. Alter a short visit; we decided that some day we will return to Kotka later, because it seemed to be worth for a longer visit.

    My post about this race will be published about on Wednesday the 13th, September, because on next Wednesday, I will publish the continuation of my Mobile Sauna post.. It was interesting to see how we treat the same item.

    Happy weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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