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Did you know? Fun facts about Suomenlinna

25.7.2018 Text: Helsinki This Week Photos: Header: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Finland

Besides being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is the most popular attraction in Helsinki and also a lively neighbourhood. This unique island district is much more than just a fortress!

Suomenlinna has a lively community

There are about 900 permanent inhabitants living in Suomenlinna and 400 people working there year-round. Anyone can apply for a rental apartment and when selecting tenants, the Governing Body’s key aim is to ensure that Suomenlinna’s resident structure remains diverse. So, to maintain the vitality of the island district, the possibilities of families with children to live on the island are promoted.

Photo by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Finland

Fortress on many islands

Many people ask where the Suomenlinna Fortress or castle is located. Well, there isn’t just one fortress or castle as the fortress is scattered around on many islands. Suomenlinna actually consists of eight islands. Five of the islands (Kustaanmiekka, Pikku Mustasaari, Iso Mustasaari, Länsi-Mustasaari and Susisaari) are connected by bridges or sandbars. To the remaining three (Särkkä, Lonna and Pormestarinluodot) you’ll have to go by boat. So, the remains of history, e.g. walls, cannons and tunnels, can be spotted all around.

Photo by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Finland

Ferry ride throughout the year

The ferry to Suomenlinna leaves every 20-30 minutes from the Market Square. The ferry trip takes about 15 minutes and the views are spectacular. What’s even more amazing is that you get to Suomenlinna by ferry also during the coldest winter months. Might be a bit of a chilly ride, but definitely worth experiencing.

Photo by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Finland

A hostel, a library and a brewery

There are many services for habitants on the island, but also for visitors. You can find e.g. a hostel, a library, and a shop. Visiting Suomenlinna’s summer theatre is a popular summer activity for helsinkians. Beer has been brewed on the island since 1700’s and the tradition is still strong with Suomenlinnan Panimo brewery.

Photo by Susanna Kekkonen / Suomenlinna Governing Body

Ahoy sailors!

Walk to Kustaanmiekka, the southernmost tip of the island either in the morning (9.40, 10 or 10.25) or in the evening (17.15, 17.45, 18.45 or 20.25), so that you’ll witness the large passenger ferries travel past the island. Majestically they glide through the narrow Kustaanmiekka strait.

Photo by Suomen Ilmakuva / Suomenlinna Governing Body

Inspiration for art

Suomenlinna has been a setting for many Finnish movies and tv-series. It’s been an inspiration for many artists, but also a home for many artists. Did you know that the Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin wrote a short story about the surrender of Suomenlinna called The Fortress when he was a college student. It was published in his 2007 volume of short stories, Dreamsongs.

Photo by Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Marketing

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