News

National parks, national hiking areas and other protected areas provide the visitors with unforgettable moments, best sceneries and hiking and skiing facilities. Read more about the self-guided tours.

« Back

Easy trips to Finland’s famous archipelago

6/15/17

Finland's coastal waters are dotted with thousands of fascinating and beautiful islands, whose many natural and cultural attractions include four archipelago national parks. It is today easier than ever to visit many of these islands without a boat of your own. Dozens of islands are now accessible to everyone, thanks to waterbus services from nearby coastal towns, or public ferry services running for the benefit of island communities.

These web pages have been compiled by Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland to bring together in one place practical information and tips on how to get to some of our loveliest islands. Many islands also have services such as accommodation, catering and guided tours and activities, offered by local firms. 

How to get to the islands from different places along the coast – port by port:

Islands accessible from Merikarvia

Ouraluoto


The municipality of Merikarvia maintains a former pilot station out in the remote and rocky Oura Islands. Visitors can freely use a cabin with facilities for grilling your own food. Accommodation and a sauna may be rented.  

Islands accessible from Pori

Säppi and Iso-Enskeri


Scheduled boat services will be running to these two islands from Pori for the first time in summer 2017.
    
Säppi is a large island with attractions including a lighthouse offering splendid views, scenic rocky shores, and rich birdlife. Along a 1.5 km trail visitors can learn about the island's history. You might even spot some of Säppi's famous mouflon. These wild mountain sheep have thrived here since being introduced by hunters during the 20th century. The trip to Säppi in an old fishing boat is also an experience in itself.

Iso-Enskeri is a wooded island in the coastal waters of the Bothnian Sea National Park northwest of Pori. Its attractions include unspoilt old-growth forests, superb coastal scenery, and panoramic seascapes. Freely usable facilities include campfire sites and a compost toilet. The best way to explore Iso-Enskeri's highlights is to walk the island's nature trails (1.5 and 3 km).

Islands accessible from Eurajoki (Luvia)

Säppi lighthouse island and sailing trips around the Luvia Islands /   Bothnian Sea National Park


Säppi is a large island with attractions including a lighthouse offering splendid views, scenic rocky shores, and rich bird life. Along a 1.5 km trail visitors can learn about the island's history. You might even spot some of Säppi's famous mouflon. These wild mountain sheep have thrived here since being introduced by hunters during the 20th century. The trip to Säppi in an old fishing boat is also an experience in itself.

You can also explore the lovely Luvia Archipelgo by taking a trip on the romantic sailing ship Kaljaasi Ihana. In 2017 for the first time some trips will include a chance to go ashore on the island of Nirvo in the Bothnian Sea National Park.

Sailing ship Kaljaasi Ihana. Bild: Sanna-Mari Kunttu

Islands accessible from Rauma

Kuuskajaskari and Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse island / Bothnian Sea National Park


The island of Kylmäpihlaja and its lighthouse lie off Rauma in the heart of the Bothnian Sea National Park. Built in 1952, the lighthouse building also houses a popular restaurant and hotel accommodation with guaranteed sea views! There is also a café by the shore, and a guest harbour with related facilities.

The fortified island of Kuuskajaskari was used by Finland's coastal artillery forces during the years 1939-1996. Today most of this forested island near Rauma lies in the Bothnian Sea National Park. Services for visitors include catering, accommodation and guided activities.

Islands accessible from Uusikaupunki

Isokari lighthouse island / Bothnian Sea National Park


Isokari lies about 22 km southwest of Uusikaupunki. This largish 180-hectare island has a grand old lighthouse –– as well as attractive old islanders' houses and beautiful natural scenery. Services are available for visitors during the season from May to October.

Isokari's splendid lighthouse – the tallest in the Gulf of Bothnia – dates back to 1833, when Finland was under Russian rule. Visitors may go inside and up the lighthouse with a guide. Guided tours are arranged daily during the peak season in late June and July.

Visitors can travel to Isokari on boat services that run from Uusikaupunki Wednesday to Sunday between 28th June and 13th August.


Katanpää fortified island / Bothnian Sea National Park


The historic fortified island of Katanpää lies in the outer archipelago, in the southernmost waters of the Bothnian Sea National Park.

Katanpää's fortifications were built in the 1910s when Finland was still under Tsarist Russian rule, to form the northernmost link in a long chain of coastal fortresses. During the early decades of Finland's independence convicts worked here cutting cobble stones for roads and renovating the island's barracks. Finnish forces used Katanpää for surveillance purposes during the period 1955-1999.

Today Katanpää is popular with visiting boaters for its military remains and guest harbour. In summer everyone can today get to Katanpää using a public boat service from Uusikaupunki. The old sailing ship Olga also takes trippers to the island from Uusikaupunki on Saturdays and Sundays between 1st July and 6th August.

Islands accessible from Turku

Örö / Archipelago National Park


The beautiful island of Örö in the heart of the island-dotted Archipelago Sea was off limits to non-military visitors for a hundred years until 2015. But nature-lovers and history buffs can now easily take a boat trip to the island from Turku or Dragsfjärd. Örö has a unique set of military relics dating from the last years of Russian rule over Finland to recent times, including old barracks, huge Russian artillery canons and coastal defences. The island's diverse flora and fauna are also an attraction for naturalists.

From 2017 visitors can climb up a new birdwatching tower offering splendid sea views, explore new paths in the southern part of the island, and freely stay overnight in an old military bunker converted into simple accommodation.

Northern part of Örö island. Photo: Jukka-Pekka Ronkainen

Seili


The lovely wooded island of Seili has at various times been home to lepers and mental patients. Its highlights for visitors today include an atmospheric old church and rustic scenes typical of the larger inhabited islands of the Turku Archipelago. The island is well connected to the mainland by boat services.

From 2017 several new services will become available for visitors, including restaurant, cafe and catering services, and daily guided tours. The island's church will be open every day from 16th June - 7th August between 12.30 and 14.30 (also weekends 3rd-4th June; 10th-11th June).


Bengtskär lighthouse


Located on the outermost edge of the archipelago between Turku and Hanko, this grand old stone lighthouse on a windswept rocky island was the scene of a dramatic battle between Finnish troops and invading Soviet forces in 1941. Visitors can enjoy local food in the lighthouse restaurant, and even stay overnight in this uniquely dramatic setting (book well in advance!).


Kemiö


New in 2017 – the Archipelago HopOn HopOff service enables visitors to spend anything from a day to a week getting the feel of life in Finland's unique archipelago. During the summer, buses to the famously beautiful island of Kemiö depart each morning from Turku Harbour.

Buses will also run from Helsinki (Kiasma bus stop) to Kemiö on Thursdays and Saturdays between 26th June and 31st July.

Islands accessible from Parainen

Pärnäinen harbour / Parainen > Berghamn / Archipelago National Park


For independent travellers!

The old fishing hamlet at Västerby on the north coast of the island of Berghamn is like a window into the past, showing how islanders used to live from the land and the sea in what is now the Archipelago National Park. Exhibits illustrating the lives of fishermen can be seen in a barn by the shore. The island also has a 2 km nature trail and a freely usable campfire site. Trips to Berghamn typically include three hours on the island.

Free ferries run to Berghamn several times a week, with connections to buses from Turku.

For most of the summer, volunteers will be working as hosts on the island, guiding visitors and also doing traditional practical farm work.

 
Pärnäinen harbour / Parainen > Nötö, Jurmo and Utö lighthouse island


Running several times a week for the benefit of the islanders, the ferry Eivor (www.rosita.fi, in Finnish) also takes visitors out to some of the most fascinating islands in the archipelago: Nötö, Jurmo and Utö. The islands offer various services including a range of pleasant and comfortable accommodation. Utö also has a famous lighthouse, a tiny school, a unique island store and a marine research station. Jurmo is well loved by geologists and birdwatchers.


Korpoström / Parainen > Örö – or other islands in the archipelago  


New in 2017! On certain days in May, June, July and August, visitors can take the AspöCharter boat cruise service from Korpoström out into the spectacular island-dotted seascapes of Finland's famous Archipelago National Park – visiting different islands and attractions on different dates. Routes take in famous islands including Utö, Jurmö, Aspö and Örö.

Islands accessible from Kasnäs / Kemiö

Kasnäs > Örö island fortress / Archipelago National Park


Kasnäs > Bengtskär lighthouse island

Kemiö


New in 2017 – the Archipelago HopOn HopOff service enables visitors to spend anything from a day to a week getting the feel of life in Finland's unique archipelago. During the summer buses to the famously beautiful island of Kemiö depart each morning from Turku Harbour.

Buses will also run from Helsinki (Kiasma bus stop) to Kemiö on Thursdays and Saturdays between 26th June and 31st July.

Islands accessible from Hanko

Örö


Bengtskär lighthouse island


Gustavsvärn and Hauensuoli


Hauensuoli (The Pike's Gut) is a narrow channel between two rocky islands off the peninsula of Tulliniemi in Hanko. This sheltered haven has been used for centuries by seafarers in the Gulf of Finland.  

Over the ages many renowned travellers waiting here for favourable winds have left memorials of their visits, in the shape of carved initials or coats of arms, creating a unique "seafarers' guest book". The oldest engravings date back to the 15th century. Their creators include Swedish royalty. The tradition also continued later, and more recent signatories include Finland's long-term President Urho Kekkonen. A grand total of more than 600 engravings have been recorded. The site is today protected.

Gustavsvärn is the best preserved part of a set of coastal fortifications built here in Hanko in the 18th century. It still has a protective wall, and the remains of old defensive structures. This small rocky island also has its own lighthouse, built in 1951.

Gustavsvärn. Photo: Hans-Erik Nyman

Russarö


Still used by the military, the island of Russarö lies just off Hanko. Its lighthouse, built in 1863, and known as "The Eye of Hanko", was the last sight seen by many emigrants leaving Finland. The island is known for its unique flora and fauna. Guided tours include a 6 km walk.

Islands accessible from Raasepori

Raasepori (Tammisaari) > Jussarö


This fascinating island has a beautiful natural side, protected within the Ekenäs Archipelago National Park, as well as industrial relics dating back to a brief period when iron ore was mined here. The ore beneath the seabed used to make the compass needles of passing ships swing wildly.  

Islands accessible from Helsinki

Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari


Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari lie just 20 minutes by boat from Helsinki's Market Square, just east of the island fortress of Suomenlinna. The islands were long closed to visitors, but regular boat services now make it easy to discover their natural and historic attractions, including old fortifications offering splendid sea views. These peaceful islands were earlier home to many soldiers and pilots, but today they are better known for their rich wildlife.  


Söderskär lighthouse island


The remote rocky islands of Söderskär are well known for their rich seabird life, as well as a splendid 150-year-old lighthouse. The islands lie about 28 kilometres east of Helsinki. Scheduled boat trips run to Söderskär in summer.

Islands accessible from Sipoo

Söderskär lighthouse island

Islands accessible from Hamina

Ulko-Tammio / Gulf of Finland National Park


Ulko-Tammio is known for its natural beauty and for its fortifications and military relics dating back to World War Two, when battles were fought between Finnish and Soviet forces in nearby waters.  

Islands accessible from Kotka

Kaunissaari and Haapasaari