A small town in Finland’s Central Ostrobothnia, Kokkola is full of rustic wooden buildings and old-world maritime charm. Many visitors combine a trip to Kokkola with a visit to the nearby town of Pietarsaari (known also as Jakobstad). In addition to year-round attractions, you’ll find that these vibrant, culture-rich towns have much to offer in the way of annual events and celebrations. Enjoy the delights of Western Finland with this Finnair travel guide to Kokkola.
Sights in Kokkola
Take a stroll around Vanha Kaupunki, the oldest area of Kokkola, and admire the many charming old wooden houses that line the streets. This area is one of Finland’s biggest and best-preserved districts of wooden dwellings. From wood to stone, Kaarlelan Kirkko is a pretty stone church that dates back to the 15th century. Kokkola has several interesting museums to cater to different tastes. Travel back in time at Kaarlelan Kotiseutumuseo and see what the area was like before industrialization arrived. Learn more about Kokkola’s maritime heritage at the Museum of History, housed within one of Finland’s oldest non-religious buildings. Other museums include the Fire Museum, the Camera Collection and the Natural History Collection Kieppi. Creative visitors will surely enjoy the selection of late 19th-century Finnish art at the K.H. Renlund Art Museum. Watch a performance at Kokkolan Kaupunginteatteri, the city’s theatre, and stop for a drink in one of the cosy cafes or lively bars, many of which feature live music in the evenings.
Things to See and Do Near Kokkola
- Tankar Island – This scenic rocky island has a historic church and lighthouse and a museum dedicated to the seal-hunting trade.
- Pietarsaari – The now-closed Strengberg Tobacco Factory is one of this area’s most famous landmarks. See even more wooden homes in the old Skata quarter. The local churches and town hall make good photo stops and the botanical garden at Skolparken is a pleasant place to relax while surrounded by nature.
- Valkohieta – A pleasant beach within easy reach of the city, this is a nice day trip when the sun is shining.
Shopping in Kokkola
As a regional centre, Kokkola has a good mix of shopping centres and small stores to cater to most shopping needs. Interestingly, haggling is fairly commonplace in this part of Finland, so try your hand at negotiating a discount.
- Chydenia – The area’s biggest mall, most of the stores sell clothes, cosmetics or health products. The shopping centre has around 30 stores in total, with a combination of Finnish and international brands.
- Fish Market – Kokkola’s fish market is the best place to get the freshest catch of the day. Even if you don’t plan on making any purchases, a visit here is still interesting.
Food and Drink
- Pasty – This popular local pastry is thinner than in other parts of the country and has a rye crust.
- Fish and seafood – The coastal location and strong fishing heritage mean that there are plentiful seafood and fish dishes on most local menus.
Transport in Kokkola
The city is reasonably compact and easy to walk around. Public transport in Kokkola is limited, so if you need to get around, you may have to hail taxis, rent a vehicle, or rely on the goodwill of others.
- By foot – Kokkola city centre is easy to navigate on foot and most sights are within easy reach of each other.
- By bicycle – The city has a good network of safe cycle tracks.
- Buses – Although buses in Kokkola operate on weekdays, covering most parts of the city, there are no services at the weekends.
- Taxis – Several taxi companies serve the city and the rates are standardised, as with other places around Finland.
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