Finland - Coastal Finland

Kouvola is a city where urban and rural blend seamlessly; there are over 450 lakes and 7,500 summer cottages. The municipality is home to the foremost forest park in Scandinavia, the Repovesi National Park, and to the Verla Mill Museum which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Arboretum Mustila, to south of Kouvola, was founded in 1902 as a test site for exotic conifers, and is today a unique area of introduced horticulture in Scandinavia, with almost 100 conifer species, 120 broad-leaved tree species, and numerous vines and perennial plants growing in an area covering 120 hectares. Arboretum Mustila is especially famous for its rhododendrons. In June, a colourful sea of flowers can be observed in the Rhododendron Valley when hundreds of these beautiful evergreen shurbs with more than 50 species bloom around the world. Previously the park was open only to scientists and invited horticulturists, but today its beauty can be enjoyed by everyone. Just north of Kouvola is the Repovesi National Park and Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve, a rugged backwoods comprised of vast uninhabited forests, tens of lakes and ponds, steep cliffs, and the region’s highest summits.

Repovesi has a long tradition of being one of Finland’s top hiking destinations, no doubt because there are great differences in altitude to challenge hikers, but also rewarding the effort with some spectacular views from the hilltops. The Verla Groundwood and Board Mill is a living monument to the history of the Finnish forest industry. Verla Mill Museum was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996. An idyllic village next to the lake, tells the history of the people who worked and lived here. Right beside the museum, on a sheer rock surface above the rapids, are rare prehistoric rock paintings, mainly from around 7,000 BCE.

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