Varissaari is a great hiking site outside Kotka

Restaurant Vaakku is at your service in Varissaari outside Kotka, an approximately ten-minute journey from the continent by sea. Varissaari combines the calm of nature, breathtaking scenery and the service providers of various maritime activities that crown a summer’s day of hiking. Food and drinks are provided by Restaurant Vaakku, of course.

The history of Varissaari

In the 18th century, there was a defensive fortress that was built in 1790-1796 originally on two islands. Together with Fort Slava in Kukouri, it protected the shipping lanes leading to Svensksund from the west and the south. The Elisabeth fortress on Varissaari was named after Russian Empress Elisabeth Petrovna, and served as part of the Svensksund naval fortress. The fortress was discontinued in the early 19th century, and later during the same century, its buildings and walls were destroyed in the Crimean War. Over the past years, the walls have been repaired, however, and the island has been a popular site for outdoor activities for the people of Kotka since the late 19th century. The ship parts and cannons salvaged from the wreck of the frigate St. Nikolai that was sunk in the naval battles of Svensksund (1789-1790) still stand on the island as a reminder of its warlike past.

Find out more about the history of Varissaari.

Activities in Varissaari

The island currently has a beach, a beach volley court and SUP board rental.


Stand Up Paddling is originally from Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. It´s super fun and relaxing way to spend the day on the water and it´s easy to learn. The basic idea is to stand and paddle on a big surfbord and get a whole new perspective on lakes and rivers. Stand Up Paddling is also superior full-body exercise that developes your aerobic capasity, muscular endurance and balance.


Stand Up Paddling suits for everyone who is interested in watersports despite the age and physical condition. If you have learned to ride a bicycle you can learn Stand Up Paddling! If you like to have more challenge you can try paddling upstream the rivers, try your skills in white water or head to open water and waves in a windy day. Despite the weather you can go Stand Up Paddling basically anytime considering your skills and with right gear.

SUP boards are rented out by Restaurant Vaakku’s partner Erimover. The scenery of the island also offers a great setting for trekking and hiking in a historical archipelago environment.

We welcome you to spend an unforgettable summer day in Varissaari!

Pack your camping blanket and swimsuit and take a trip to Varissaari on a sunny summer’s day! At Restaurant Vaakku, we welcome you to dine and relax at our terrace with a cool drink.

  • Ravintola Vaakku
  • Dog friendly restaurant