The town originally 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 January 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.
There are railways to Kouvola from four directions:
- Helsinki - (Riihimäki) - Lahti - Kouvola (there is also a route bypassing Riihimäki)
- Kotka - Kouvola
- Pieksämäki - Mikkeli - Kouvola
- Joensuu - Imatra - Lappeenranta - Kouvola
Buses between Helsinki and the eastern parts of Finland pass through Kouvola.
- 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 further from the centre, you can go by bus or train. There is an interactive route planner for local buses. Taxis are useful too, especially for getting back to your hotel after a long night.
- Verla Groundwood and Board Mill (Maailmanperintökohde Verla), Verlantie 295, Verla (From Kouvola Main road 46 > road 369 > road 14570), ☎ +358 2041 52170, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2.-13.5.2013 and 2.-29.9.2013: Mo-Fr 10AM - 4PM (Sat, Sun closed); 14.5.-1.9.2013 Tu-Su 9:30AM - 5PM (Mon closed). The museum can be visited on guided tours only. The tours in Finnish begin each hour, the first one at 10AM. 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 some 9,000 years old. Adults: 8 €, Students, pensioners: 6 €, Children under 18: free.
- Tykkimäki Amusement Park, Kanuunakuja 2. One of the largest amusement parks in southern Finland.
- 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.
- Kauppakeskus Veturi, Tervasharjunkatu 1. A large shopping mall next to highway 6, opened in 2012. If you feel like going on a shopping spree in Kouvola, this is probably the right place.
- Prisma, Tommolankatu 9. An older shopping mall, close to Veturi but on the southern side of highway 6.
- Nipan Grilli, Hongistontie 15, ☎ +358 45 3482885. 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.
- Ravintola Tabasco, Kauppalankatu 37, ☎ +358 5 379 4000. A pizzeria in central Kouvola serving pizza, kebab and steaks.
- Ravintola Maku Bistro, Hallituskatu 7 B (Just by the railway station.), ☎ +358106661020, e-mail: email@example.com. 8:00-15:30. Lunch buffet type restaurant.
- Ravintola Kaisa, Hallituskatu 3. The bar under the train station, is a good option for those who want to experience a typical Finnish bar.
- 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.
- Tivoli (close to the train station).
- Nightclub Riviera, Keskikatu 6 (in Hansakeskus (Hansa centre)).
- Matkustajakoti Rauhala, Itäasemantie 17, ☎ +358 5 5735388, +358 5 3656061, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Basic accommodation in a guesthouse near the railway station in the village Myllykoski.
- Hotelli Turistihovi, Kouvolankatu 23, ☎ +358 5 311 5661. Basic hotel 400 m from the railway station. Breakfast costs 6€ extra. triple 80 €, double 67 €, single 50 €.
- Hotelli Kymenhovi, Keskikatu 9, ☎ +358 5 375 8770. Centrally located near the pedestrian area. Breakfast included. double 65 €, single 40 €.
- Hotelli Cumulus Kouvola, Kouvolankatu 11, ☎ +358 5 789 911, fax: +358 5 789 9299, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, Hovioikeudenkatu 2, ☎ +358 20 1234 651, fax: +358 5 8288 288, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.