In Santalahti, on the Mussalo island, you can find a beach, a camping area, holiday accommodation as well as diverse sports and outdoors activities. The soft-sanded shallow beach is also suitable for children. As there is a wooden ramp leading to the shore, the beach is also accessible for baby carriages and the physical challenged. There are barbeque and picnic facilities, a playground, a volleyball court, a gold course and a minigolf course in the area.

Santalahti nature walk

The Santalahti nature walk is 4.5 kilometres altogether, and it includes two trail options, a forest trail of 2.4 km and a seashore trail of 2.1 km. The forest trail is marked with blue dots and the seashore trail with orange dots, painted on trees.

Along the nature walk, you get to know the flora and fauna of the Gulf of Finland shores. As the trails run in varied terrain and there are stairs and duckboards along the way as well as roots and stones, the trail is not suitable for young children or the physically challenged.

Santalahti nature walk is marked with dots painted on trees. Photo: Sanna Lönnfors

History of Mussalo along the trails

People have lived on the Mussalo island already in the 1500s. You can see signs of old tar pits and charcoal piles along the nature walk. Charcoal was in high demand in the late 1700s and early 1800s due to fortification construction in the Kotka area and in the Ruotsinsalmi (Svensksund) fortification town nearby. Tar was burned for use in wooden ships, and pitch, boiled from tar, was used for patching seams. Ropes on the ships also needed tarring. Tar used to be an important export in the Kymenlaakso area.

Along the walk you can also see Syrak’s stairs, built in the late 1800s and protected by the Antiquities Act. The stairs have been built on the side of a cliff, and they are 20 m long and consist of 22 steps. The name refers to Syrak Mussalo from the Mussalo island, one of the builders. It is told that the stairs were built for seine fishing.

The Antiquities Act protects Syrak’s stairs, built on the side of a cliff. It is not allowed to move the rocks.
Photo: Sanna Lönnfors.

Map of Santalahti area:

Pages links

Kymenlaakson museo 2010, Mussalon hiilimiilujen valontakaivaus ja dokumentointi.

Mirja Huuhka (toim.): Mussalo – Saaren elämää menneisyydestä nykypäivään. Mussalon kotiseutuyhdistys, Jyväskylä 1988.