When visiting Helsinki, why not pop aboard a JT-Line ferry and spend a wonderful day island hopping. You’ll get to experience three of the most beautiful island Helsinki has to offer: the Suomenlinna sea fortress, Vallisaari island and Lonna island. Feel and experience the history of these islands and have a day you won’t forget.
Around noon there is the familiar hustle and bustle at the Market Square. Voices of the market, different languages and the cries of seagulls help make the Helsinki Market atmosphere special. JT-Line ferries depart from the Kolera pool, and with the blue and white colours they are easy to find. You can get your ticket right next to the boat and then hop on. When sitting on the top deck and watching as the ferry slowly makes its way out of the harbor area you are able to admire Helsinki from a different angle. Feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. Smile. Is there a better way to start the day?
It takes only 20 minutes to arrive at the Vallisaari harbour. The island was opened to public in 2016 and more and more visitor come to explore this wild and beautiful island every year. Just remember to stay on the marked paths to conserve the delicate nature. The Aleksanteri trail will take you on a 2.5 kilometre trail around the island. The rocks at Vallisaari are perfect for a picnic and taking in the wonderful scenery. There are also some designated picnic areas with benches and tables to enjoy a small break, it is not necessary to bring your own snacks with you since there is a cafe to cater for your needs. Make sure to try those delicious Finnish crepes as well. If you can walk a little bit further, there is another cafe that has tasty hot dog meals that you can enjoy on a patio. Vallisaari is attached to Kuninkaansaari via a breakwater like strip of land. On this peaceful island is find a small beach where you can rest your legs after all the walking. These two gorgeous islands are a perfect day trip destination to enjoy archipelago nature, and if you’re lucky you can spot swans majestically gliding at the sea.
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
You can almost touch the Suomenlinna sea fortress from Vallisaari! Only a narrow strait separates the two islands. Some of the big cruise boats make their way through this strait, which is always something to marvel at if you’re standing on either shore as they pass between.
Suomenlinna is a favourite for both locals and tourists. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a valuable piece of Finnish history and the stories will fascinate generations to come. The modern time is present on the island as well as some Helsinkians call this beautiful island home. The numerous grass fields just lure you into having picnics and relaxing while spending the day on the island. The cannons will interest the younger and most of the older visitors. The bravest people can explore the network of ancient tunnels deep inside the fortress walls. Make sure to have a flashlight and a courageous mind as the dark and occasionally long tunnels will test your character. On the shore near The King’s Gate you’ll find the magnificent submarine Vesikko. This restored submarine served in the second world war and nowadays it serves as a museum. At Suomenlinna there are plenty of services like shop, cafes, restaurants, museums and of course ice cream kiosks.
The small island Lonna is also one of the most newly opened to the public. Only 150 metres wide, the former military island has been refurbished, with most of the half-dozen buildings, red brick and red or yellow wood now fully renovated. These old store houses that are full of ambiance serve a number of different uses today, hosting special events such as weddings. You are also able to relax in a recently built wood-heated sauna, where the open deck offers a chance to cool off while enjoying the gorgeous view. The waffle bar is a must stop on the island whether you crave for something sweet or salty. There is also a restaurant and a terrace to cater for your needs.
Explore all three island in one day
All three of these islands are different and unique. Exploring all three in one day is ambitious yet rewarding. Different sceneries, short ferry rides and all the delicacies will keep you going for the whole day. When you’re finally arriving back to the Market Square and the sun has disappeared behind the building, you can say that you’ve had an amazing day in the nature along with the Finnish history.