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Big attractions, small cities
Finland is blessed with compact cities that are easy to reach and to explore, close to areas of natural beauty, laying claim to top-class, year-round attractions and services - and served by friendly Sokos Hotels.
Lahti, less than an hour's drive north from Helsinki and proudly holding the European Green Capital status in 2021, is a great example. Visit during the annual Salpausselkä ski meet to witness one of the world's most spectacular sports - ski jumping - from the towering jumps on the esker ridge forming the city's scenic backdrop. Hike across the Salpausselkä Geopark to learn about the Ice Age geology of the region. In the city itself, on the banks of the Vesijärvi lake, you'll find the beautiful timber-built Sibelius Hall, a world-class concert hall. The legacy of the Green Capital events will be Finland's most modern and sustainably progressive urban environments. Sokos Hotels' own status as the most sustainable hotel chain in Finland is exemplified by the Green Key label awarded to Lahti's freshly renovated Solo Sokos Hotel Lahden Seurahuone.
The port city of Kotka on the southeast coast of the Gulf of Finland celebrates its maritime heritage in the ship-shape of the National Maritime Museum of Finland, Vellamo. Finland's historical links with its eastern neighbour are referenced by the Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge, now a museum on rapids that are still a favourite fishing spot. Rest up for the night at the Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone.
Kouvola is the third corner of a southern triangle of small cities completed by Kotka and Lahti. It's an excellent base for excursions into the beautiful Repovesi National Park, for example, as well as visits to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Verla mill museum, a celebration of Finland's paper mill industrial heritage. The city's Tykkimäki amusement park and Aquapark attractions are set to be augmented by a new holiday village in 2022, making this an ideal family destination. It's also the site of the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, newly renovated featuring elegant Pentik design details.