The town emerged around the junction of the north-south and east–west rail tracks. It is one of Finland's most important rail hubs, and the main rail link between Finland and St. Petersburg goes through Kouvola. In 2009, the six municipalities – Kouvola, Kuusankoski, Elimäki, Anjalankoski, Valkeala and Jaala – merged, accounting for the new municipality of Kouvola with a population of over 88,000, being the 10th largest city in Finland.
Verla Groundwood and Board Mill located near Jaala is a monument to the early days of the Finnish forest industry and a world heritage site since 1996.
Although Kouvola is said to be the ugliest city in Finland, there are still many sights worthy of seeing in Kouvola. Even the ugliness itself can be an experience.
There are railways to Kouvola from four directions:
- Joensuu–Imatra–Lappeenranta–Kouvola, from this direction also trains from St. Petersburg and Moscow arrive
- Highway 6 (Helsinki–Kouvola–Lappeenranta)
- Highway 12 (Rauma–Huittinen–Tampere–Lahti–Kouvola)
- Highway 15 (Kotka–Kouvola–Mikkeli)
In the city centre, the easiest way to get around is to walk. Everything is within quite a small distance, and Kouvola's main street Manski is a pedestrian zone.
If you want to go to somewhere farther from the centre, you can go by bus or train. See local bus info. There is an interactive route planner for local buses. Waltti mobile app can be used for ticket purchase.
Taxis are useful too, especially for getting back to your hotel after a long night.
- 1 Kaunisnurmi district. Wooden houses and museums.
- 2 Verla Groundwood and Board Mill (Maailmanperintökohde Verla), Verlantie 295, Verla (From the Kouvola-Heinola highway road 46 > road 369 > road 14570), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 2–13.5.2013 and 2–29.9.2013: M–F 10:00–16:00 (Sat, Sun closed); 14.5–1.9.2013 Tu–Su 09:30–17:00 (M closed). The museum can be visited on guided tours only, though you can see the buildings from the outside free of charge. The tours in Finnish begin each hour, the first one at 10:00. Tours in languages other than Finnish are arranged on request. You can also hike a 2-km forest trail or see rock paintings of human figures and animals made by ancient artists around 9,000 years ago. Adults: €10, students, pensioners: €8, Children under 18: free.
- Kymijoki. Kymi river, flowing through many towns and districts of Kouvola (though not the city centre itself), is one of the widest rivers in Southern Finland. Giving the name to the entire region (Kymenlaakso translates to Kymi's Valley), it is one of the most important drainage rivers of the Finnish Lakeland (the main lakes upstream are Vesijärvi, Päijänne and Keitele). A swift river with many rapids, it has long been a major source of hydroelectricity (earlier on timber rafting too) and as a result of this much of the Finnish wood and paper industry has historically been concentrated in this region.
- 1 Tykkimäki Amusement Park, Kanuunakuja 2. One of the largest amusement parks in southern Finland.
- 2 Repovesi National Park. Formerly a site for intensive commercial forestry, the Repovesi area has now been successfully transformed into a pristine national park. Pine and birch trees dominate the park. Repovesi abounds with wildlife including bear, deer and various birds. The River Koukunjoki cuts through the park. Other streams and lakes are also situated within the parks boundaries.
- Pioneerifestivaali: . Rock festival in mid-August. (date needs fixing)
- Iiti music festival (Iitin musiikkijuhlat): (22 km towards Lahti along national road 12, turn at Kausala for 7 km more; bus transport from Kouvola or Kausala, Kausala is served also by some trains). Music festival in June with mostly chamber music. Iiti is a parish village voted to be the most beautiful in Finland. Most concerts in the wooden church from 1693, some at other locations, also outdoor concerts. A music school for young people is arranged concurrently. €20–40, some concerts free; bus transport 2×€3–7. (date needs fixing)
- 1 Nipan Grilli, Hongistontie 15, ☏ . Mo-Tu 10.00-23.00 We-Th 10.00-23.00 Fr 10.00-02.00 Sa 11.00-02.00 Su 11.00-23.00. A popular fast food joint opposite to Tornionmäki school.
- 2 Ravintola Tabasco, Kauppalankatu 37, ☏ . A pizzeria in central Kouvola serving pizza, kebab and steaks.
- 3 Ravintola Maku Bistro, Hallituskatu 7 B (Just by the railway station.), ☏ , email@example.com. 08:00–15:30. Lunch buffet type restaurant.
- 1 Ravintola Kaisa, Hallituskatu 3. The bar under the train station, is a good option for those who want to experience a typical Finnish bar.
- 2 Pub Old Tom, Käsityöläiskatu 4. The nearby pub Old Tom is a great place to have a drink in the summer time when the al fresco part is open.
There are three nightclubs in Kouvola as well. Of these, the first is the most popular.
- 1 Matkustajakoti Rauhala, Itäasemantie 17, ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. Basic accommodation in a guesthouse near the railway station in the village Myllykoski.
- 2 [dead link] LEO-Hotelli, Kenraalintie 6, ☏ . A hotel in central Myllykoski
- 3 Tykkimäki Camping, Käyrälampi. The amusement park has a campground too.
- 4 Hotel Sommelo, Pallokentäntie 2, Kuusankoski.
- 5 Hotelli Turistihovi, Kouvolankatu 23, ☏ . Basic hotel 400 m from the railway station. Breakfast costs 6€ extra. triple 80 €, double 67 €, single 50 €.
- 6 Hotelli Kymenhovi, Keskikatu 9, ☏ . Centrally located near the pedestrian area. Breakfast included. double 65 €, single 40 €.
- 7 Hotelli Cumulus Kouvola, Kouvolankatu 11, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Lappeenranta — 87 km east. An old fortress and the entrance point to either the Finnish Lakeland or Russia.
- Kotka — 57 km south. Where Kymenlaakso region meets the sea. An aquarium, a maritime centre and an imperial fishing lodge.
- Lahti — 62 km west. Pretty similar to Kouvola but with the Finnish radio museum, the ski jumping towers, several parks and more shopping options.