Must Visit: Suomenlinna in Helsinki, Finland

March 8, 2012 by

Suomenlinna, is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands (Kustaanmiekka, Susisaari, Iso-Mustasaari, Pikku-Mustasaari, Länsi-Mustasaari and Långören), and which now forms part of the city of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with both tourists and locals, who enjoy it as a picturesque picnic site. Originally named Sveaborg (Fortress of Svea), or Viapori as called by Finns, it was renamed Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) in 1918 for patriotic and nationalistic reasons, though it is still also sometimes known by its original name.

How to get there:

Suomenlinna is only accessible by water. Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) runs a ferry service from Kauppatori to Suomenlinna throughout the year. JT-Line operates a waterbus in the summer. A service boat runs throughout the year from Katajanokka.

Getting Around:
Suomenlinna is meant to be seen on foot, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. Suomenlinna is a car-free zone where only service vehicles are allowed. There are no minibuses or trains, nor are there any bicycles for hire.

Suomenlinna offers visitors the chance to explore the fortress built during the Swedish and Russian eras and enjoy parks, the sea and the archipelago. Suomenlinna offers a diverse range of sights and activities, including six museums, guided tours, exhibitions, high-quality handicrafts, events, concerts and an open-air theatre. Visiting the fortress is free – you only need to pay for the crossing.

A good meal or a refreshing coffee break complements your visit to Suomenlinna. The fortress has good restaurants, charming cafés and a brewery with a beer garden.

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