Visit to Suomenlinna, Helsinki: How to get there, prices and advice

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Martí Micolau
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SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Suomenlinna is a sea fortress built on an archipelago of six islands off the coast of Helsinki. Originally called Sveaborg - literally "fortress of Sweden" - the fortress was commissioned by the Swedish government in 1748 to protect the country against Russian expansionism, it was renamed Suomenlinna in 1918, coinciding with the declaration of independence of Finland from Russia. Also thanks to the presence of numerous museums inside, today it is one of the major tourist attractions in Finland, and attracts about 700 visitors a year.



Index

  1. Where is it and how to get there
  2. Hours and prices
  3. Tours, guided tours and tickets online
  4. What to see and how to visit Suomenlinna
  5. Useful tips for visiting the attraction
  6. Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
  7. User questions and comments

Where is it and how to get there


Suomenlinna is only accessible from the water. A ferry service connects the port, present in the market square in Suomenlinna during the whole year. In the summer season the connections are strengthened by the presence of water buses. In the center of Suomenlinna there is also a port for guests, reserved for those who arrive and depart with their own boats.

  • How to get to the port (market square): by bus in about nine minutes from Olympiaterminaali via Kauppatori, taking line 2. The cost of the ticket is € 3,20. Alternatively you can reach it on foot. Get directions
  • From the port to Suomenlinna by ferry: Ferry service this is operated by the Helsinki Region Transport Authority (HSL). Depending on the season and / or the time of day, ferries depart from 1 to 4 times an hour: more detailed information on the timetables in force at the moment is available here. The ferry departs from the east side of the Market Square, opposite the Presidential Palace. In Suomenlinna, the ferry arrives and departs from the main dock of Iso Mustasaari on the north shore of Suomenlinna. The ferry is part of the city's transport network and all HSL tickets are accepted. Tickets must be purchased before boarding the ticket office at the departure pier, they cost € 4 and are not sold on board. On the ferry there is the limited possibility of boarding means of transport such as cars and motorcycles.
  • From the port to Suomenlinna by Vaporetto: in the summer the usual ferries that make the Helsinki - Suomenlinna route are joined by vaporettos, in order to better face the large amount of tourists. These cease their activity on September 30, and then resume it the following summer: further information is available on the official website of the JT - Line company.

Hours and prices

  • every day from 10:00 to 18:00 during the summer season (2 May - 30 September)
    every day from 10:00 to 16:00 during the winter season (1st October - 30th April).
  • Best time to avoid queues: given the size of the site, it is quite difficult to meet queues
  • the entrance to the fortress is free while the various museums located inside are subject to charges.

Tours, guided tours and tickets online

What to see and how to visit Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna's is one fortress built on a path that exceeds two kilometers. The first Visitor Center point is located in the middle of the journey and therefore, it is good to have collected all the information on the site, and a possible map to orient yourself, before embarking to reach the archipelago.

Along the way you will come across old barracks, officers' quarters and the various garrisons, now museums, restaurants, shops and homes. Then there are cannons, walls, an Orthodox church and even one of the submarines which patrolled the Baltic last century, which can be visited in the summer. Very particular are the buildings used as a deposit for the equipment of the guards, similar to hills with an entrance door. And again, in summer, inside the open-air theater, some famous theatrical works are staged: the shows are frequent and the tickets are accessible.

Here is the list of unmissable attractions:



  • Suomenlinna Museum is the main museum of the fortress, which is located in the center of Suomenlinna. Open all year, the structure respects the following times: 10-18 during the summer season, 10: 30-16: 30 during the winter. Ticket prices are: Adults € 8, students € 5, seniors and children aged 7 to 17 € 4, children do not pay.
  • Il Vesikko submarine, used during World War II, and the only survivor of the 1947 peace agreement, when Finland was ordered to dismantle its submarines. The prices of the entrance tickets are: adults € 7, children aged 7 to 17, students and seniors € 4, children under 7 do not pay. With the same ticket you can also access the Military Museum of Manama.
  • Il Military museum of Manama tells the story of Finland's independence, with an eye to the civil war in 1918, the Winter War 1939-1940, 1941-1944. The prices of the entrance tickets are: adults € 7, children aged 7 to 17, students and seniors € 4, children under 7 do not pay. With the same ticket you can also access the Vesikko submarine.
  • Il Ehrensvärd Museum, housed in the courtyard of the castle, collects the history of the fortress from the Swedish period. Entrance fee: adults € 5, children € 2

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Get up early: Suomenlinna is about twenty minutes from the port of Helsinki, and the visit requires at least a morning to be considered "complete", so it is good to be on the island at the opening of the gates of the fortress.
  2. Watch out for the ferry timetable: there are at least four ferries that shuttle from the mainland to the archipelago. Timetables vary according to the seasons, so be sure of what the last time you leave the island is, in order to avoid the risk of having to sleep there.Therefore, it is always good to keep on hand the timetable updated to the period where you are visiting. This is valid until November.
  3. Minimum time: we advise you to consider at least one morning to visit the whole archipelago
  4. The Museum Card allows you to take advantage of discounts, skip-the-line tickets and free admissions, both in museums located in Helsinki and in Suomenlinna.

Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief

Suomenlinna fortress was built by the Swedes with financial support from the French between 1748 and 1798, to defend Helsinki from Russian occupation. Used as a military base and prison, Suomenlinna is today one of the main tourist attractions of Helsinki and, due to its characteristics as a "unique historical monument and the largest military fortress in the world", is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Another peculiarity of Suomenlinna is given by the sunsets, so spectacular both in winter and in summer, that the later they occur, the greater the number of ferries in circulation.



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