Visit Finland, But Don’t Miss Suomenlinna (PHOTOS)
If you are lucky enough to visit Finland, you will undoubtedly leave a few days to explore Helsinki, which has endless museums, restaurants, beautiful neighborhoods, amazing design districts and the like, but just off the coast of Helsinki lays the cities most visited attraction, the sea fortress of Suomenlinna.
Constructed in 1748 while under Swedish rule, the fortress was meant to stop the Russian expansion into Finland. Unfortunately, Finland would fall to Russia in 1808, however the island became part of the new Finland in 1917 following the Russian Revolution. The island itself still plays home to 900 local residents and many active Navy members as well as a few restaurants, a visitors center, hostel, art gallery and brewery.
Known for being a beautiful picnic spot during the summer, Suomenlinna offers a year round escape from Helsinki which seems worlds away while strolling through the quiet and picturesque historic walkways around the main island. Since the 1980’s Suomenlinna has been known as an upscale avant-garde community with many artists in residence, summer art camps for children and a popular summer theater, regularly sold out.
Interestingly enough, there is also a penile rehabilitation program on the island where prisoners who have pledged non violence are allowed to work in a volunteer program to get them back on their feet – who would have thought? I prison system built to help people?
The ferry leaves from Market Square in the middle of Helsinki for Suomenlinna regularly, up to four times and hour during the summer season and takes 15-20 minutes, a gorgeous ride we actually wished was a bit longer!
One of the most picturesque areas of Helsinki to be sure, a trip to the old sea fortress of Suomenlinna is a must whether you visit in the winter or summer months, and while we loved out winter stroll around the island, we cannot wait to get back to Finland and explore the island again during the summer.
Remember, this article is part of our “Finland Fridays” series to make sure to hashtag any questions or comments with #FinlandFridays34
.H . Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at email@example.com and they’ll respond super fast!