The King’s Road is a postal route connecting Sweden and Russia dating back to the 15th century. It features various historic and nature sights in small towns and villages on the coast.
Helsinki – Porvoo 62 km
Porvoo – Loviisa 45 km
Loviisa – Kotka 62 km
Kotka – Hamina 29 km
Hamina – Virolahti/Miehikkälä 48 km
Virolahti/Miehikkälä – Lappeenranta 84 km
Saimaa Canal and the
Russian frontier station 70 km
The Eastern King’s Road route passes through historic, attractive small towns and villages, following the inlets of the sea bay towards the Russian border. The route features the idyllic small towns of Porvoo, Loviisa, Kotka, Hamina and Lappeenranta.
After leaving the capital area the route passes Haikko Manor, the idyllic riverside of the River Porvoonjoki and the second oldest town in Finland, Porvoo. The area is known for its history: the Diet of Porvoo in 1809 took place there on the order of Tsar Alexander I of Russia. Old Porvoo is an idyllic town with wooden houses, and in summertime its streets are filled with holiday-makers.
Towards Loviisa the route travels in undulating rural landscapes where Loviisa’s towering, Neo-Gothic church tower can be seen from a distance. The old town is full of beautifully maintained wooden houses and gardens. The route passes through fortresses built in the 18th century continuing to Strömfors, an 18th-century ironworks village. Before Kotka, the route also features the wide-flowing Langinkoski Rapids and the Imperial Fishing Lodge on its shore, built by Tsar Alexander of Russia.
Sights in Kotka not to be missed include Maritime Centre Vellamo and aquarium house Maretarium and Kotka’s parks are worth a visit, too. The cycling route takes us quickly past residential areas to Hamina, known for its unique spherical town plan. The internationally unique, circular town with its entrenchments and town plan has been preserved well.
The museum road between Hamina and the River Virojoki breathes an air from centuries past. A massive defensive line from the 1940’s, the Salpa Line, was build to defend the eastern boarder of Finland. It stretches for some 1,200 kilometres and can be exlored at the Bunker Museum in Virolahti and the Salpa Line Museum in Miehikkälä.
The Gem Museum of Ylämaa is an interesting place to visit, with over 5,000 different gemstones, fossils and meteorites from all over the world in its collections. On route to Lappeenranta there are plenty of beaches on the way but only a few services. A perfect a summer day activity in Lappeenranta is to explore the harbour or the market square. An expedition to the fortress and the special Sandcastle are worth fitting into the programme.
Optional day programme Saimaa Canal and the Russian frontier station, 70 km The route heads from Lappeenranta Harbour towards Saimaa Canal along the shoreline. You can explore the eventful history and operations of the canal at the Canal Museum. The route passes by the Soskua lock and a small manually operated cable ferry that is accessible to cyclists to cross the canal. From Nuijamaa the route returns back to Lappeenranta.
Good to know
The route profile is easy, there are no demanding climbs on the route. The roads are paved, with the exception of some cycling sections (Helsinki, Porvoo). Some daily distances are long, which adds to the challenge of the route. Several accommodation providers on the route are small and may only have a couple of rooms available.
The route features several fantastic boat cruising destinations (Porvoo, Kotka, Loviisa, Hamina and Lappeenranta). Time tables can be found on internet pages of local tourist offices.
To start the tour
As the route runs along the eastern coastline via several towns it can be divided into shorter trips by using the busy bus connections between the towns. You can return to Helsinki from Kotka and Lappeenranta by train or coach. Remember to make a reservation for the bicycle in advance!