Archipel und Küstenregion
Die Küste Finnlands und ihr Archipel umfassen tausende Kilometer an Küstenlinie und zehntausende Inseln. Das Inselleben und die Meereskultur gehören zu den Hauptcharakteristika der Region.
A good place to start your island-hopping adventure is the city of Kotka, some 130 kilometres east of Helsinki and easily reachable by bus or car. From here you can jump on a ferry to Kaunissaari (“The beautiful island”), which is renowned for its sandy beaches and traditional Fisherman Village. Visit the museum to immerse yourself in the islanders’ way of life, before sitting down for a meal by the sea at the Kaunissaaren Maja restaurant. The island also has handicraft stalls, grocery stores, cafés and even an art gallery.
During the summer months, a ferry to Kaunissaari departs Kotka’s Kuusinen harbour up to four times per day. The journey takes approximately 90 minutes (see ferry timetable). For overnight visitors there are numerous accommodation options available, including several cottages and an old school converted into a B&B.
From Kotka you can travel back towards Helsinki, making a left turn in the town of Porvoo and traveling approximately 20 kilometres to Pellinge – a group of some 200 islands. Pellinge has been inhabited since the 1500s, and is today home to an active community of almost 300 people. More than 120 events are organized on the islands during the summer, including a midsummer festival, a children’s day, an agricultural flea market, boat competitions and an ancient fire dance. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops, as well as galleries selling handicrafts and other artworks.
Many people are drawn to Pellinge because the place was very dear to Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomins and Finland’s most beloved writer and artist of all time. It is even possible to visit the small island of Klovharu, where Tove lived for more than 30 years. The cottage she built there can be rented for up to a week, although the waiting list may be a long one!
The Pellinge islands are served year-round by ferries that run multiple times per hour from early morning until late evening (see ferry timetable).
As you continue east, you’ll reach Finland’s capital city Helsinki – the pearl of the Baltic Sea. There are loads of options for day trips to islands around the city, starting with the UNESCO World Heritage site Suomenlinna. Established in the mid-18th century as a fortress, Suomenlinna is a must-see for any visit to
Helsinki. Kids and adults alike love exploring the old walls, ramparts and tunnels, stopping for a break at one of the island’s many cafés and restaurants. For beer lovers, Suomenlinna even has its own brewery!
It takes less than 20 minutes to reach the island using the ferry service that runs year-round from
Helsinki’s main market square. Ferries run up to four times per hour (see ferry timetable).
Another island just 20 minutes from Helsinki is Vallisaari, which can be reached by water bus from Helsinki’s market square between 1 May and 30 September (see timetable).
Like its neighbour Suomelinna, the island is also full of old fortifications to explore. But what makes Vallissari unique is the diversity of its fauna and flora. More than 1,000 species of butterfly live on
the island – many of which are rare or threatened – while badgers, eagle owls, thrush nightingales
and reed warblers can also be spotted in the forests of alder, aspen and bird cherry.
The tiny island of Lonna – only 150 metres in length – is just 10 minutes from Helsinki. “Suomenlinna’s little sister” can also easily be reached during summer on a ferry that runs regularly from the city’s main market square (see timetable). Lonna was once used as a base for the military’s minesweepers, but today it is known for its popular restaurant, waffle bar, and wood-burning public sauna. There are also two large mine storehouses that have been converted into banquet halls and can be rented for events. And Lonna’s jazz nights can go on until the wee hours during the summer when the nights are never-ending.
As you continue your journey west from Helsinki towards the adjoining city of Espoo, the next
island to visit is Pentala. The island’s Archipelago Museum – comprising some 15 different historic buildings – is a window into traditional island life. Pentala is a hiker’s paradise too, with more than half of its 130 hectares falling in a nature conservation area where you can spot woodpeckers, deer and other animals. You can reach Pentala in the summer months by ferry from the Kivenlahti harbour (see timetable).
A visit to the large island of Jussarö takes you deep into the Finnish archipelago, and even deeper into navigational history. Jussäro was first mapped as early as the year 1200 by Denmark’s King Valdemar. In the years since, the island has played a key role in helping vessels to safely navigate the archipelago, first by hosting ship pilots and then with the construction of a lighthouse in 1891. Today, Jussarö serves as a stop-over point for recreational sailors, and is also a popular destination for day trippers. Day cruises leave the mainland’s Baggö harbour at 10:30 during the summer months, returning at 15:30. The ticket price includes lunch and a guided tour of the island.
The island of Örö lies at the far outer edge of the southern part of the archipelago, approximately 15 kilometres from the mainland-connected town of Kasnäs. Whether its history or nature you are looking for, Örö has something to offer. The World War One era fortifications that Russia built have been well preserved, and can be explored along a five-kilometre hiking trail that winds through the island’s meadows and forests. Thanks to its isolated location, Örö has a unique biodiversity profile. Many of the butterfly and plant species here cannot be found anywhere else in Finland. You can reach Örö in the summer months by taxi boat from Kasnäs (more information here), or if you are feeling adventurous you can rent a kayak and paddle to the island. Örö even has a special jetty for kayaks and canoes.
The city of Turku on Finland’s west coast is the place to set off on The Archipelago Trail: a 250-kilometre circular route that is a cyclist’s dream. Bridges and ferries connect the islands along the route, with travellers passing by picturesque villages, national parks, lighthouses and more. The trail offers plenty of restaurants and places to stay overnight – either camping or in hotels and guest houses – as well as opportunities to get off the beaten track and discover hidden coves and beaches (plan your trip here).
Geographically, culturally and even politically, the autonomous Åland Islands are a special space. Located between Finland and Sweden – in the centre of the Baltic Sea – the 6,700 islands are home to some 29,000 inhabitants, approximately a third of whom live in the capital, Mariehamn.
Åland leads the Nordic region in hours of sunlight per year, offering a milder coastal climate than its mainland neighbours. Tourist infrastructure is well developed and it is easy to explore Åland by road or from the water. Cycling, kayaking, boating or hiking – the islands offer something for everyone.
It’s easy to reach Åland by ferry or by plane, and there are a wide range of accommodation options
From the west coast city of Rauma, it’s just a 30-minute boat ride to the fortress island of Kuuskajaskari. Fans of military history come here to visit the island’s four cannons, one of which is still operational. There are also surveillance towers, trenches and shooting ranges to be explored. During the summer months, the island offers a café, a restaurant and several accommodation options, including fully-equipped holiday cottages (see more here).
Some 30 kilometres from the town of Pori – famous for its international jazz festival – one reaches the island of Reposaari. Connected to the mainland by road and rail, Reposaari is known for its sweet wooden buildings and Norwegian-style church. At only 3.5 kilometres long and half a kilometre wide, it is easy to explore the island on foot or by bike – you may venture on your own or attend one of the guided walking tours in the summer.
The idyllic island is accessible by bus, car and boat. You can stay overnight in the middle of nature at the camping area or in the elegant floating villas!
The fast rate of uplift in a group of islands near Vaasa in western Finland has earned them UNESCO World Nature Heritage recognition. With its unique landscape of lagoons and islands, The Kvarken Archipelago is a heaven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Bird-watching, cycling, sailing, canoeing, fishing, trekking – and watching the land grow out of the sea: the last one takes a little longer than the first six, but there is no denying the variety on offer to visitors to the Kvarken Archipelago.
Kvarken Archipelago is connected by road to the city of Vaasa and can be reached by car in just 20 minutes. There are several restaurants, and overnight guests can stay in campsites, cottages and hotels.
At the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia lies the city of Oulu, from where you can catch a ferry to Hailuoto – a bird watcher’s paradise. There are several bird hides around the island for observing more than 300 species, including shelducks and gadwalls, as well as migrating eagles, buzzards, falcons, cormorants and raptors. Visitors can camp or stay in cottages, inns, or on farms.
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