See & experience
Welcome to the world-class small town of Hamina! Our town is an old fortress, a garrison and port town by the sea in the Southeast part of Finland. Hamina is an international town situated between the east and west. The distance to the Russian border is 40 km, and Helsinki is only about a 90 minute drive away.
Hamina is a world-class travel destination that offers unique cultural experiences and diverse nature activities year-round. On these pages you will find tips for your holiday in Hamina!
The circular center of Hamina
Adventure in the caches of the Hamina Fortress and discover the star-shaped, unique fortress town you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
In the world, there are only two fortress towns with a circular layout built within a fortress – Hamina in Finland and Palmanova in Italy. Hamina is truly a unique, world-class travel destination!
The Vehkalahti town was renamed Hamina in 1723 in honor of King Fredrikshamn of Sweden. The Russo-Swedish War postponed the building of the fortress, but it was continued again after 1743 under the supervision of the Russian general Alexandr Suvorov and later that of general Jan Peter van Suchtelen who added a large central bastion, the Hamina Bastion.
Watch an interesting video detailing the history of the Fortress in Hamina, and introducing the important role general Suvorov had in the planning of the Fortress. Please change the subtitle language in the video settings to suit your preference.
Explore the circular town on a walking tour with a guide
Discover interesting historical sites! The Fortress trail leads you to explore the historical buildings, which are all located within walking distance of each other. The Fortess Trail begins at the Flag Tower in Hamina and ends right in the city center, at the Town Hall.
Enjoy the atmosphere of the old-fashioned wooden quarters of the town center and explore all the beautiful buildings and sights. Download the “Walking in Old Hamina” map here or pick one up at the tourist info or one of the local shops.
Experience Hamina in depth by taking a guided tour led by a local guide. You will hear interesting stories about a world-class small town. You can book a guided tour on the VisitKotkaHamina webshop or directly from the guide association.
Master the history in the museums
Come explore the Hamina Museum Street! The Museum Street, Kadettikoulunkatu from the Town Hall to the intersection of Erottajankatu, literally exudes history.
Hamina’s history is built upon the construction of the fortress, three major, extensive fires, some noble families and the development of the military and port town. It is easy to experience history along the Hamina Museum Street, which presents 15 interesting sites, including three museums: the Hamina Town Museum, the Shopkeeper’s Museum and the Museum of the Old Veteran.
To learn more about the Hamina Museum Street, visit the website and watch the video below:
Start by exploring history in the city’s oldest residential building, the Hamina Town Museum. Learn how Hamina became a fortress town and take a peek into the room where the Russian Empress Catherine II and her cousin, King Gustav III of Sweden, held important negotiations in 1783.
Allow yourself to be enticed by the general goods store sign outside the Shopkeeper’s Museum. Pop in to peruse the 20th-century old shop and residential buildings. As soon as you enter, you will notice the colorful old merchant goods. How different shopping used to be back then! It is definitely worth taking a moment to sit in the courtyard to enjoy the milieu of the old residential area.
Watch a video with English subtitles from the Shopkeeper´s Museum!
There is free entrance to the Town Museum and the Shopkeeper’s Museum on Wednesdays. Otherwise, entrance fees to the museums are 5€ per adult. Both museums offer guided tours to allow you to hear some stories about the items and the significant people behind them. Check the museum open hours and current exhibits here or on social media on Facebook and Instagram (in Finnish).
A distinctive feature of Hamina is the garrison in the middle of the town. Hamina offers reserve officer training, and you can see Defense Forces candidates and vehicles around town. If you or someone you know has attended the Reserve Officer School, you should definitely visit the Reserve Officer School Museum, which presents the history of the Defense Forces from the 1920s to the present day.
The Museum of the Old Veteran United Nations Peacekeeping Museum is an active peacekeeping and veteran heritage center. It’s flagship feature is the constantly updated permanent exhibition on crisis management history and current events regarding those crisis management operations in which Finnish Peacekeepers have been part. Additionally, changing exhibits highlight interesting details and present a broader picture of Finland’s national defense history.
Churches and monuments
There are three different styles of beautiful churches right adjacent to one another in the center of Hamina. They are open to the public during the summer and during events. The Orthodox Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, opposite the Town Hall, is a rare, Neo-classical round temple honoring Byzantine-style architecture.
The blue and white Church of St. John, located in the Town Hall Square, is a Neo-classical church of the Lutheran congregation. The style of the Church of St. John echoes Greek temple design. The church was built in 1843 and was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel. Formerly the official residence of the Commander of the Fort it hosted the Russian peace negotiators and it is where the Treaty of Hamina was signed.
The medieval stone church dedicated to St. Mary is the oldest building in Kymenlaakso. St. Mary’s Church is located on Pikkuympyräkatu. It is also known as the Vehkalahti Church, the name dating from the time before the municipal union with Hamina.
The many statues and monuments in the centre of Hamina invite you to stop by and contemplate significant events in the town history. Who was Varvara Schantin and what is the story behind the Myllykivi millstone?
Tervasaari Guest Marina and recreation area
Tervasaari, a meeting place for locals, has been a gateway to the world since the 18th century. Now you can often see folks gathering in the harbor area for different activities like fishing. Although the name refers to an island, Tervasaari is close to the mainland and only one kilometre – about a 20 minute walk – from the lively Hamina Market Square.
There was a sawmill in the Tervasaari area in the early 1990s. Today, the area has become a year-round recreation area with beaches, restaurants and museum ships. Tervasaari still provides entry to the world’s waters and the magnificent archipelago of the Gulf of Finland.
From Tervasaari, you can walk along the seashore to Park Oolanti, which opened in summer 2021. This is a developing area in Hamina – soon there will also be a new residential area on one side of the Park Oolanti.
The Monumental Finnish Flag and the Flag World
Hamina is a town of flags! Flag hoisting and flags in general are an essential part of military culture. Hamina is and has also been a major port city and the custom of various flying flags originated from the expansion of shipping culture. Additionally, Hamina is a border town and a gateway between East and West. As international interaction intensifies, the role of flags as national and community symbols will only increase. Due to its location and unique historical features, Hamina is naturally the place for developing international flag culture.
Wherever you are in Hamina, look up and admire the world’s largest Finnish flag flying high nearby on the outskirts of Park Oolanti! Visit the 100 m high flagpole, sit on the bench at the foot of the world’s largest Finnish flag and enjoy the atmosphere and surrounding seascape.
By the way, the magnificent flag weighs about 55 kg and is 16.5 m x 27 m in size. On inclement days, the flag is lowered by members of the Hamina volunteer fire department and raised again when the weather allows.
Cultural activities in the circular town
Hamina is a world-class town even in terms of events – the year-round events at the unique Hamina Bastion are truly memorable experiences! Sit on the bench in the covered auditorium, marvel at the view of the surrounding fortress and enjoy the world-class performances and events.
FESTIVAL TOWN EVENTS 2023
Hamina Festival Town highlights to enjoy in 2023 include the glimmering Night of Lights Hamina 15-16 September, and the magical Christmas in the Fortress 1-24 December. For more details about Festival Town events, see here.
You can find information on current events in the Hamina events calendar.
There are many interesting exhibition spaces in Hamina, one being the Gunpowder Magazine Gallery which, as its name implies, once served as a gunpowder warehouse. The Japanese-style park just outside the magazine invites you to admire cherry blossoms in the spring. The Hamina Summer Theater also operates in the vicinity of the Ruutikellari Gunpowder Magazine.
Visit the city’s other interesting and special sites such as the Hamina Library to admire Oiva Toikka’s (1931-2019) extensive collection of glass birds. The Hamina Library Gallery hosts a number of changing exhibits. Hamina’s assortment of exhibits in the museums, the theater performances and other occasions invite you to enjoy the town’s vibrant cultural activities. Additionally, restaurants in the area have live music and performances throughout the year.
Outdoor activities – check Outdooractive
In Hamina, nature is close by. There are trails for hiking, like the Portimon Polut -trail network, starting right from town! The Portimon Polut network of nature trails runs on the northern side of Hamina, and it is well marked via blue sign posts. On the trail, you will find multiple lean-tos, swimming spots and other points of interest, such as the unique Ski Museum at Kirimaja. Get the trail map from tourist info or download the PortimoTrail map.
The vicinity of Hamina also offers diverse opportunities for bicycling. Explore the surrounding areas with a city bike, take a road bike to the neighboring town of Kotka or, for example, hit Hamina’s forest trails with a mountain bike. Get the trail map from the tourist info or download the cycling route map. Experienced downhill cyclists will find a good challenge on the Hamina XCO downhill track.
The sea, archipelago and boating have always been a big part of Hamina life. The Tervasaari island offers a guest marina for visitors arriving in Hamina with their own boat. You can also access the Hamina archipelago by taking a liner or you can commission a boat and skipper to take you to the island of choice on your own timetable.
You will find some trails and route suggestions for outdoor activities, like hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing on Outdooractive.com pages in multiple languages. Remember also ask for more info about local tracks in Hamina, since not all the trail info is available in English.
For example, you can find The Man Who Died -walking route in Outdooractive.com. The Man Who Died is a tv-series based on Antti Tuomainens´ book The Man Who Died. The series was filmed in Hamina at summer 2021. Along this route, you can see many of the different filming locations.
Remember outdoor etiquette when enjoying nature. Respect nature – leave no trace of your visit. Keep your pets on a leash. Mainly use marked trails and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Check the areas and times in which access is possibly restricted. Camp only where it is allowed. Do not wash the dishes or yourself directly in a body of water. Follow the rules of wilderness huts. Light your campfire only where it is allowed and use a camping stove where possible. Do not light a fire when a forest or grass fire warning is in effect. Do not litter. Read more about outdoor etiquette and guidelines.
Restaurants in Hamina
When it is time to take a break, check out our tips on Hamina restaurants and cafes.
Grab a coffee at the Market Square and take in the hustle and bustle of lively market life. By the way, the Market Square area used to be a baseball field, and you can still see this in the layout of the market.
You can also have a meal in one of the historical buildings. Many of the restaurants and cafes offer food to go in case you want to enjoy a picnic in one of the many parks or by the seaside.
Venture outside of the circular streets
Explore outside of the town – the countryside and lovely small towns are a big part of Hamina!
Kannusjärvi offers art and organic food and from there, you have easy access to the extensive Portimon Polut nature trail network. Reitkalli is a peaceful town close to Hamina where you can try out many different nature activities.
In Metsäkylä you will find authentic county side life which includes horse farms, organic food farms and ski slopes. Vilniemi, on the other hand invites you to relax by the sea. Each town has its own activities for the whole family to take part of!
Arriving in Hamina
Hamina is easy to access by car and free parking is available in town. Hamina also has good public transport connections, for example by bus directly from Helsinki. There is a train connection between Kouvola and Kotka, from where you can take a local bus to Hamina. The nearest airports are in Lappeenranta and the Helsinki Airport.
Book a holiday in Hamina
There are many options for easily reserving accommodations and activities online for your stay in Hamina. You can also reserve a holiday package, accommodation and activities from the VisitKotkaHamina online shop.
Make use of the Hamina-app during your trip
In Hamina, we want to make your stay as easy as possible, so we offer a new Hamina-app. The app will keep you posted on current events and offers in local shops.
Enjoy an active holiday in Hamina!
Be it a cultural vacation, historical trip or outdoor travel, Hamina offers something for everyone. Encounter the Hamina Fortress, countryside and sea, fantastic events and happy people year round. Find more information about different activities.
Welcome to Hamina – the world-class small town!
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Tourist info in Hamina:
address: Sibeliuskatu 32
tel +358 (0)40 199 1330
Regional tourist info: VisitKotkaHamina