Step into a living museum, a fifteen minute ferry ride from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a perfect getaway from city living and great way to take a peek into the lives of the people in the region during 18th century.
The island fortress attracts locals and tourists alike, especially in the summer time, to enjoy the peace, greenery and quaint little cafe’s half hidden in the hills inside the old fortress. It is a popular destination for picnickers with it’s hidden beaches, rolling hills, vast skies and the Bay of Finland providing beautiful surroundings for almost any occasion.
There are a few restaurants on the island. Most notable are Restaurant Walhalla and Suomenlinna Brewery Restaurant. Both are definitely worth the trip. Suomenlinna museum and Ehrensvärd museum provide a lot of information of the history and the lives of people in the fortress. There is a multitude of events organized in the fortress during the summer months of May through September. The events range from classical music concerts to puppet theater. Check the event guide for events during your visit. There is no public transportation on the island and it is quite big so you have to be prepared to walk the unpaved roads during your visit. Ferries leave from Kauppatori pier every fifteen minutes to half an hour.
The fortress was built by Sweden under the supervision of Lieutenant-Colonel Augustin Ehrensvard. It served the interests of Sweden for only 35 years before the control was given to Russia due to the treaties between Napoleon and Alexander I. The Russian rule in the fortress lasted for 110 years until 1917, the year Finland got her independence.
Currently the island is home to some 300 families comprising mostly of people working directly in the fortress, artists and military personnel. The apartments are very sought after and there are only few of them available every year.