From Helsinki’s bustling marketplace (Kauppatori) boats depart to Suomenlinna Island taking around 15 minutes. The HSL ferry is operated by the Helsinki Regiomal Transport (HSL) and all HSL tickets and travel cards are accepted.
Leaving the ferry we walked through a pink stone archway with a clock tower above which leads onto the main pathways through the island. On the left, we passed Suomenlinna Church which was built to serve as a Russian Orthodox garrison church. Interestingly, the church serves a dual purpose as its steeple is used as a lighthouse for the island! We then came to the Island’s Museum and Visitor Centre before crossing a white painted wooden bridge towards the far side of the island. It’s often breezy on this exposed footpath but on this occasion it was warm and still. Mounted high on the cliff tops is the original bastion fortress together with the late 19th century Russian defence line, complete with sandbanks and artillery emplacements.
Continuing along the coastal path we came to the King’s Gate, the iconic symbol of Suomenlinna (undergoing maintenance so I have not included a photo). It was built as a ceremonial gateway to the fortress on the site where a ship carrying the fortress’s founder King Frederick of Sweden was anchored whilst he inspected the construction of the fortress in 1752.
The return ferry was much quieter and we enjoyed good views on our way back to Helsinki’s market square. The pastel coloured buildings and the bright orange and white canvas roofed market stalls looked beautiful in the sunshine with the cathedral standing proud behind (just a shame about the ugly crane in the foreground).
We returned to our apartment for a rest then later enjoyed an evening stroll by the sea.
If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like: