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If you’re about to visit Helsinki, one of those must-see place is Suomenlinna, a fortress built in the 18th century, about 15 minutes ferry voyage from the city center. This ferry is available all year around. In fact, Suomenlinna is one of the 7 UNESCO World Heritage of cultural and natural sites Finland has. During the summer season Suomenlinna has as many as 12 000 daily visitors and is most crowded during the summertime. Our family has a tradition to visit there at least once a year!
Suomenlinna is a great place for a family exploration with its great walls, cannons and exciting tunnels to discover.
More specifically Suomenlinna which consists of four islands is like a village in the city and therefore you can stroll around the islands without any special plans and spend a whole day! The parks and views over the sea are perfect for a small trip or a picnic.
Photo by Visit Finland/Jussi Hellstén
It’s just nice to walk around by the walls and enjoy the huge fortresses. There are cafés and restaurants, a couple of museums and even a beach and a brewery. If you are interested reading more about Finnish breweries and beer you can read tips written by Elias.
Suomenlinna is a unique bastion fortress as it is irregular in shape as a result of being built on a rocky and variable terrain. In addition, the dry dock at the heart of the fortress was the state of art at the time it was built.
For our visit to Suomenlinna we bought some snacks from the Market Square where the ferry leaves to Suomenlinna. We bought strawberries, cherries, and peas for our picnic lunch which we planned to have in Suomenlinna, like many visitors usually do.
After landing we first walked to find a nice spot for our picnic and ate our snacks. After that we went to a museum which shows the history of the island and the founder of the fortress. The museum collection presents several portraits, miniatures, weapons, furniture of Gustavian style as well as oil paintings of Suomenlinna dating back to the 1760s. After the museum we let Iris run around and as you can guess she totally preferred that to the museum! Our two-year-old Iris has grown strength to walk and play the whole day and some days she doesn’t take a nap at all! Suomenlinna was a perfect place for her to explore the environment as she has now much energy and is curious to discover new things!
As Suomenlinna has remained in its original state, the roads are paved with cobblestones. That’s why we had a little problem to push Iris’ strollers on the roads but luckily she preferred to walk by herself. We warmly recommend you to wear comfortable walking shoes when visiting Suomenlinna!
Even though Suomenlinna is a popular tourist spot, there also lives about 800 inhabitants who live a normal life on the island which has own post office, school, and grocery store. They use the same ferry to commute between the island and the city center. There is also a narrow underwater tunnel but can be used only for emergencies and official uses, how exciting! We love to visit there every now and then and enjoy this historical village in the city!
Cover Photo by Visit Finland/Jussi Hellstén
Aura & Elias
A father, a mother and a daughter, Iris, born in July 2015. Like many little girls, Iris loves to take care of her dolls and play with her toys.
Father, Elias, is a classical musician. He plays the flute and teaches flute playing. He dreams about extending his professional skills to the field of instrument repairing. Mother Aura has finished her studies at the University of Helsinki and at the moment she takes care of Iris at home.
Together we love to travel, enjoy cultural events and eat tasty food. We appreciate clean, healthy and ecological lifestyle even though we live in the middle of Helsinki. In our blog you’ll find stories about our urban life as a Finnish family.