Tips for spending a memorable summer day in Suomenlinna

We as a LikeFinland team visited Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, which is located in the archipelago of Helsinki! We had planned to take part in a guided walking tour in English, and to visit some of the museums in Suomenlinna.

Suomenlinna is a historical sea fortress from the 1700s, and the islands of Suomenlinna are a beautiful part of Helsinki!

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

It was a sunny summer day as we traveled across the sea by ferry. When we saw the church of Suomenlinna - which also works as a lighthouse - a few hundred meters away, we knew that we were close to our destination.

The HSL ferry trip took only 15 minutes from the Market Square over to the fortress islands! There is also a JT-line waterbus service available that takes visitors to Tykistölahti dock, which is slightly closer to the museums of Suomenlinna and the Suomenlinna Centre.

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

When we stepped out of the ferry at the Main dock of Suomenlinna, we noticed that there was a cart filled with maps of Suomenlinna in multiple languages such as Japanese, French, German, and Chinese in front of the Tourist Information Point.

We walked for about 10 minutes until we arrived to the Suomenlinna Centre where the guided walking tour would start off.

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Suomenlinna Centre. Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Suomenlinna Centre and Suomenlinna Museum (EN: www, RU: www

In the Suomenlinna Centre visitors are able to purchase tickets for the guided tours, buy souvenirs, have a coffee, and visit the Suomenlinna Museum that has an exhibition of the history of Suomenlinna.

In the museum there are several historical Suomenlinna artifacts. The descriptions are written also in English.

In the auditorium there is being screened a short film called Suomenlinna Experience about Suomenlinna’s history every half an hour. The audio commentary is available in multiple languages.

We visited the museum and were amazed by all the artifacts that have been found in the fortress area such as old cannon balls and a boat wreck from the 1700s!

In summer 2018 there is also an auditory photo exhibition about  the Finnish Civil War by Finnish artist Hanna Koikkalainen in the temporary exhibition room of the museum.

The visit to the Suomenlinna Museum costs 8 € per adult and 4 € per child.

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Guided tours in multiple languages (EN: www, RU: www)

The guided walking tour started at the Suomenlinna Centre, and all the participants gathered outside of the building in front of a big map for a brief introduction.

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photos: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Whenever we had a stop during the walking tour, our guide Alfons Rönnqvist  told us about the history of the surroundings. We were able to ask questions, and many did so! Sometimes the answers of the guide were quite funny but always factual.

The route of the guided tour depends partly on the guide, so the walking routes may be slightly different each time yet covering all main sights.

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

The construction works of Suomenlinna started in the mid-1700s. We were told that the name of the fortress has changed over the years from Sveaborg to Viaborg - and finally to Suomenlinna in 1918. Nowadays there are around  800 inhabitants living in the fortress area as it is also a city district of the City of Helsinki - and over 1 million visitors per year!

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

We walked along the rocky and gravel roads. We stopped to see places such as the founder Augustin Ehrensvärd’s (1710-1772) grave and Suomenlinna’s dry dock. The views of the sea were very beautiful in the south of the island!

The guide told us facts from the time Suomenlinna’s construction began all the way to the modern times.

According to one of the participants, the English spoken as well as the English words chosen were very easy to understand. There were participants from different countries.

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

The HSL ferry traveling from Market Square of Helsinki to Suomenlinna and back frequently in the summer and during winter approx. once an hour. Here are some of the places we went by during the guided tour. Photos: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

The guided walking tours seem to be very popular! There are guided tours available also in Swedish, in Russian, in Chinese, and in Finnish. A guided tour costs 11 € per adult and 4 € per child.

The guided tours in English take place at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 2:30 PM every day from the 1st of June to the 31st of August 2018.

It is also possible to book guided tours and other program for a bigger group by reservation. (EN: www) (RU: www

Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Ehrensvärd Museum. Photo: Johanna Hurtig/LikeFinland.com

Ehrensvärd Museum (EN: www, RU: www)

After the guided tour we visited the Ehrensvärd Museum. a visit to this museum is included in the tour ticket.

In the 1700s the building was first inhabited by the founder of Suomenlinna (Viaborg), Augustin Ehrensvärd, whose grave can be found next to the museum building. There are pieces of old Rococo furniture, portraits, miniature ships, and more historical objects on display!

One of the most interesting historical objects we saw, was a massive portrait of the King Gustav III of Sweden!

Photo: LikeFinland.com

Café Piper (EN: www, RU: www)

The 80-year-old Café Piper is located close to the amazing views of the sea. Enjoy a cup of coffee and some snacks or on weekdays a soup lunch before continuing the exploration in Suomenlinna!

Café Piper is open from 10:30 AM to 7 PM until the 12nd of August 2018. During rest of the year the café closes a little bit earlier.

Photos: The Cannon Sloop Diana Sailing Ship (Facebook)

The Cannon Sloop Diana Sailing Ship (EN: www, RU: www)

You can also participate in an exciting sea voyage that takes you back to the 1700s! The sailing trip is made very authentic by the crew that is wearing 1700s costumes and an old-style vessel Diana, which can be navigated by sailing, rowing, or using a motor. The vessel departs from Suomenlinna.

We as a LikeFinland team experienced the sea trip in summer 2016! (www

The trip mixed together theater and fun tasks such as rowing! You can book a private sea voyage or join a public sailing trip. Remember to take warm clothes with you because the wind at the sea may be a bit chilly!

The Cannon Sloop Diana was built in the Suomenlinna shipyard in the 2010s but it has been constructed by following the original 1700s plans and using traditional materials and methods.

Public sailing trips are available from the 27th of June to the 4th of August 2018 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 3:30 PM. (Also, on the 11th, 18th, an 25th of August).


The guided walking tours in Suomenlinna, the Cannon Sloop Diana, the Suomenlinna Centre, the Suomenlinna Museum, the Ehrensvärd Museum, the Museum Shop and Café Piper are all services of the Ehrensvärd Society that was founded in 1921 to make the history of Suomenlinna known. Suomenlinna is located in the archipelago of Helsinki and can be accessed only by sea transport.

For contacting and for more information visit the Ehrensvärd Society’s website! (EN: www, RU: www


Text: Johanna Hurtig

The Ehrensvärd Society (incl. the guided walking tours, the Ehrensvärd Museum, the Suomenlinna Museum, Café Piper, the Museum Shop, The Cannon Sloop Diana, and the Suomenlinna Centre) is one of our Star Destinations and media customers.

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