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Escape to a secluded island

Six easy-access lighthouses in the Finnish archipelago

3 minute read

Credits:: Mariia Kauppi

These age-old lighthouses have many stories to tell

Most Finnish lighthouses have been automated but luckily not abandoned, with many now making ideal destinations for day trips and weekend escapes. You can enjoy fresh food, a sauna and even an overnight stay. The distant locations guarantee visitors peace and quiet. Gaze at the open sea, listen to the wind, watch the birds and indulge in the stress-free environment. These are the six best lighthouse islands to visit, from easy to year-round access.

Credits: Bengtskär Lighthouse

Bengtskär Lighthouse, Coast of Hanko

The historic beacon – One of the best-known lighthouses in Finland, Bengtskär is the highest lighthouse in the Nordic countries and is rich in history, making a guided tour just about obligatory. Bombs and grenades have been hurled at the Bengtskär lighthouse, and battles have been waged inside it. After decades of decay, the majestic stone brick lighthouse was reconditioned in 1995. The tourism services are family run; the restaurant offers traditional local courses and the six lighthouse keeper’s rooms now serve as accommodation.

For the latest information visit Bengtskär site.

Credits: : Nora Wilson / Bengtskär Lighthouse
Credits:: Nora Wilson / Bengtskär Lighthouse

Söderskär Lighthouse, Porvoo Archipelago

Day trip from Helsinki – Just a one-hour boat trip from Helsinki, the 150-year-old lighthouse is located in the middle of a beautiful nature preserve. To protect rare sea bird species, only designated cruise boats are allowed to dock on the island. During the summer season, the lighthouse is served by daily cruises from Helsinki and nearby city of Sipoo. Hop on board and enjoy the rugged nature of outer archipelago, or visit the exhibition at the lighthouse where you can learn how the lighthouse keepers once lived.

For the latest information visit Söderskär site.

Credits: Juho Kuva

Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse, Coast of Rauma

Sauna by the sea – A 45-minute boat ride from the mainland, this charming little island serves retreaters and nature lovers equally well. For those staying overnight, a steaming sauna followed by a cooling drink on the cliffs is a must. Watching the sun set on the horizon with only birdlife for company is a cinematic experience. The Kylmäpihlaja island is part of the Bothnian Sea National Park and rich in birdlife.

For the latest information visit Kylmäpihlaja site.

Credits: Juho Kuva

Tankar Lighthouse, Coast of Kokkola

Postcard perfect – The picturesque island of Tankar is dotted with traditional Finnish summer cottages that are still used by locals. A daily boat service allows visitors to enjoy the homely atmosphere and salmon soup served in the family run café restaurant. Staying overnight at the old lighthouse keeper’s house, the old pilot station or in a cottage is rather inexpensive. Walking the nature trail, paying a visit to the sweet 18th century wooden church and the seal hunting museum are all highly recommended. The lighthouse itself, built in 1889, is of the classic shape and style, and makes for terrific photos.

For the latest information go to Visit Kokkola site.

Credits: : Juho Kuva
Credits:: Juho Kuva

Utö Lighthouse, Archipelago of Parainen

Southernmost stronghold – Utö had the first lighthouse in Finland, built in 1753 and later demolished in a war between Sweden and Russia. Yet, the current lighthouse from 1814 is the oldest still working lighthouse in Finland – and most likely the first lighthouse church in the world. On top of this, Utö is the southernmost Finnish island that’s inhabited throughout the year: 40 people live there regularly. The Utö Havshotel is in the barracks of Utö stronghold, once used by the army. Even today, the island has areas and caves forbidden for civilians.

For the latest information go to Visit Parainen site.

Credits: Sara Terho

Marjaniemi Lighthouse, Hailuoto

Always in season – Although known for its sandy beaches, the island Hailuoto near the city of Oulu is at its best all year round, also outside the summer season. During autumn storms, you can spot surfers riding the cold waters of the Baltic Sea. In winter, you may be able to skip the ferry ride from Oulu and drive along an ice road to reach the island. The Arctic Lighthouse Hotel is nested at the foot of a still-functioning Marjaniemi lighthouse. Set in a former pilot station building the hotel offers views to the Bay of Bothnia. Have a tasty dinner or go to the sauna – you’re in Finland, after all.

For the latest information visit Hailuoto site.

Credits: Arctic Lighthouse Hotel Hailuoto