Suomenlinna Sea Fortess

The World Heritage Site, which is easy to reach by ferry from the main market square in Helsinki, and which I included in my “Must see’s of Finland” but which I have never blogged about. But Suomenlinna is so well known that most locals frequently visit it all year around and most tourist find they way there too. And yes, the entry to the island is free and the ferry costs as much as a regular bus within the city.

The fort was built in the 18th century when Finland was still a part of Sweden. It was used during the wars and it wasn’t until the 60’s when the Defence Forces decided to vacate the islands, which made it possible for civilians to visit them. Nowadays there are about 800 people living there. There is a playground, a beautiful little church, ruins and renovated castle walls, lovely venues to be rented for parties, a summer theatre and a number of museums (not proud to say I haven’t visited any of them but you can find out more about them here). There are also loads of lovely cafés and restaurants, many of them only open during the summer season though.

When we go there as a family, what we like most is:

  • the ferry. Always exciting for the kids.
  • exploring the tunnels in the stone walls, and peaking out through the windows
  • playground…
  • ice cream kiosks… 😉
  • in the winter the big pool where ships “hibernate”
  • us adults enjoy the scenery (apart from the broken toys and engines, and some unmaintained lawns and building. What’s with that?! I suppose the World Heritage Site technically only refers to the fort but shouldn’t both the small islands be kept tidy anyway?!) and the history. With the ruins, old army buildings, canons and cobblestones it is present everywhere.
  • picnic – it’s probably on of the most traditional picnic places in Helsinki
  • many of the cafés
  • the canons and the submarine would be a great hit with the kids, but recently we haven’t made it quite that far…

One of the best things with Suomenlinna is that you can easily spend the whole day on the islands but then even a two hour visit will be enjoyable.

The pictures are from our last daytrip to Suomenlinna:


Leaving the harbour in Helsinki


The ferry from the island, Helsinki can be seen in the horizon



Toy Museum and Café


Another summer cafe


The “bay” all sightseeing cruises will take you to. On the left the fort, in the back the little pedestrian bridge connecting the two islands and on the right the island the ferry arrives to.  wpid-20140816_125248.jpg








An example of an old army building turn into residential use that could be lovely if some paint would be applied


The playground is quite small but very toddler friendly.



  1. […] nature places in Helsinki were it’s easy to go (in addition to the typical Seurasaari and Suomenlinna and other islands). Here are a few ideas, some in the woods, some in gardens and […]

  2. Love the pictures! I didn’t know there is a World Heritage Site in FInland. Now, how many of such sites are there in the world?

    1. There are seven world heritage sites in Finland, no idea about the world. A few hundred? I’ve blogged about Rauma old town and mentioned the Petäjävesi church on our roadtrip this summer. Any in Singapore?

  3. Love Suomenlinna – we went there a few years ago and had such a great day out. We managed to make it to the submarine – fascinating, think we may have been at that playground too! It’s a gorgeous spot.

    1. You’ve been there too?! Glad to hear you had a good day too!

      1. We had a fabulous holiday in Naantali and Helskinki – some of your posts bring back great memories of things we did!

  4. Looks like a great day trip 🙂 I think this is one of the islands I visited when I was there. Was there a little beach for swimming ? Playgrounds are very important 🙂 We always have to find one when we are on the go 🙂

    1. You may have been there although the Island doesn’t have a proper beach (Most of the otherwise Islands do)

  5. Check out the white sails on that boat! I think I’ve told you this is one of the few places you’ve talked about that I’ve actually been. I can imagine the kids really loving it, although we enjoyed it before they were around as well.

    1. We enjoyed it prekids too, we spent more time enjoying our picnic and wine than the playground back then though 😉

      1. Yes! Oh, picnic and wine… very romantic!

        1. Remember those days?!

          1. Think I might have skipped them. I remember talking about picnics with wine a lot but don’t seem to remember many actual picnics… but in the broader sense of lying around enjoying the scenery, yes. Yes, I do. 🙂

            1. Hey, we’ll have time for those again in say 15 years… if we can remember the good old stuff anymore 😉

              1. Sooner than fifteen, surely? I remember being fourteen and kind of thinking it would be good if my parents were off taking a picnic! 🙂 Lucky we blog so we can refer to our notes when the time comes!

                1. Lol, I’m sure the kids want us gone when they are 14 but do we want to leave them home alone then? 😉 good point with being able to refer to these “blo notes”, we shall see how things go!

  6. What a lovely post, Vilma! Love the shot of your little ones gazing out the ferry window!

    1. Thanks, Nancy!

  7. Beautiful pictures yet again! This looks like a lot of fun for the whole family. Isn’t it funny how our travels change once we have kids? I swear I know every playground in every place we visited. 🙂

    1. So true, we’ve become experts on playgrounds 😀

  8. Looks like a great spot! Love the pic of your kids looking out the window of the ferry – so much anticipation 🙂

    1. Kids are good at showing their anticipation. Lucky it rubs off easily!

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