Suomenlinna is, in my opinion, the #1 thing that you should do if you visit Helsinki, so I’m here to tell you how to go to Suomenlinna from Helsinki today.
This week’s #FBF takes us back to 2015 when I went on my two-week Scandinavian backpacking adventure. The last city on my solo adventures was Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. It’s a really small city with not a lot to do, to be quite honest unless you’re into art museums because they have a few of those. But, that said, it was actually the perfect place to end my trip because it was less running around and more relaxing. I was exhausted by the time I arrived at Helsinki Airport.
How To Get to Suomenlinna
But that said, there are a good amount of things to do there and my favorite thing that I did in Helsinki was taking a ferry out off the coast to visit Suomenlinna. Suomenlinna is a giant sea fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site, that was built by Sweden in 1748 when Helsinki was still Swedish. Its Swedish name was Sveaborg (pronounced seh-vay-eh-bore-ay). It was just a quick ferry ride from Helsinki early in the morning through a handful of other tiny islands to get there.
The History of Suomenlinna
Ownership of Suomenlinna was then passed onto Russia and then back to Finland finally when they declared their independence from Russia in 1917. Sweden put a mass amount of resources into it and it was incredibly fortified.
It wasn’t until the Crimean War in 1856 that Suomenlinna really sustained any damage from an attack (they were attacked in that war for 46 hours straight, so that’s understandable).
What Suomenlinna Is Like Today
It was decided in the 1960′s that they’d make Suomenlinna a live-able place and today around 900 people live on the island. It’s hard to believe people actually live there. They opened a school, a medical center, and a few other amenities to make it inhabitable.
I visited the museum first, which included an informational video and a lot of artifacts from Suomenlinna’s past lives and then I walked around the island for a few hours. It was very, very cool. Like I said before: probably the coolest thing in Helsinki.
This was worth the early wake-up. If you’re ever in Helsinki, make sure you visit Suomenlinna.