During my recent trip to Helsinki, I took a break from having naked saunas with strangers (a time honoured Finnish tradition) and spent a day on Suomenlinna Island. We were so lucky with the weather, the warm Autumn sun brought out the orange leaves and the water around us just shone.
Suomenlinna is maritime fortress built in 1748 and is a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. After walking around the site for just a few minutes, you can really see why! Old military architecture surrounds the island and rustic cannons line the shore. Just strolling around felt a bit like being transported back a few hundred years.
To get to the island, we jumped on a ferry from Market Square and were there in about 15 minutes. Our journey to the island was particularly hilarious as we were entertained by a gentleman making some sort of Youtube video. He was dressed to the nines in a glitzy suit and didn’t stop disco dancing for the duration of the ride.
I’ve tried numerous times to search for whatever video he was making, so if anyone can shed a light on this, it would be most appreciated! I like to think he is a developing Youtube star and when his video goes viral, we will be able to say we saw him first.
Besides the ferry crossing fare, we spent next to nothing on this day trip. There is no admission fee for the island and we bought lunch from the local supermarket. There are 6 museums dotted around which do have an entrance fee, however we opted to explore by ourselves. It was such a gorgeous day for walking, so I much preferred reading information from a free brochure than being stuck indoors.
When I think of Finland and Scandinavia, I think of the cold climate and snow covered winter scenes. To our delight, mother nature had a different plan for us. The sun was shining though the crisp air and Autumn was well and truly in full swing. The trees that decorated the island had turned a gorgeous firey orange colour.
History is one thing that Suomenlinna certainly has. If you’re a wartime history buff, you will be in absolute heaven. My favourite spot was the King’s Gate, which was built in 1753–54 as the entrance gateway to the fortress. I’m by no means an avid architecture fan however even the most modern traveler can appreciate the beauty of Suomenlinna.
Have you been to Finland? What other sights and landmarks should I see on my next visit?