In July we did a round trip in the eastern part of Finland, and drove through towns like Mikkeli, Savonlinna, Imatra, Punkaharju and Kotka. All very nice places to visit during the summer and the eastern part of Finland is famous for its sunshine.
On the way home we stayed one night in city of Kotka in a place called Kartanohotelli Karhulanhovi. We didn’t stay at the manor house but one of the guest houses, which we actually got all to ourselves including kitchen and the friendly staff even offered to heat the sauna for us, luxurious! We also enjoyed the art exhibition inside and outside of the manor house. (This is by the way not a paid advertisement, we just genuinely liked the place so much that I want to recommend it to you too!)
After a good night sleep and delicious breakfast, it was time to find Valkmusa National Park. Valkmusa offers an easy 2-4km hike in beautiful swamp scenery.
Valkmusa immediately became one of my absolute favorites of the Finnish National Parks. The duckboards were in good shape and the nature was absolutely stunning. There were simple benches along the way where you could sit down and enjoy the scenery. I’m sure you would be able to see elks and perhaps even bears if you stayed there long enough! We didn’t spot any animals this time.
Cotton grass was blooming and cranberries and cloud berries were growing alongside the duckboards. Seeing the cranberries and smelling the stunning scent of marsh labrador tea flowers took me right back to my childhood when my family was living in a house nearby a swamp. My Mom used to pick the cranberries and make whipped porridge. I loved hiking in the swamp as a child, it was exciting to walk there and try to watch out for the bog eyes. Back then there were no mobile devices so getting really stuck to a bog eye would have really meant trouble! I remember pulling my rubber boot out of the peat many times and walking home with a wet sock..
Valkmusa is really a hidden gem that not too many people know about. I highly recommend to visit it, it’s only 1,5h from Helsinki and you can visit the beautiful city of Porvoo on the way.