Ferry to Suomenlinna Island from Helsinki, Finland

Suomenlinna island resides on a group of islands just off of Helsinki and is only accessible by water. It’s a short ride by ferry, about 15-20 minutes, that leaves from Market Square. The ferry cost is included with the transit ticket if you purchased a day pass. During the summer there is also a water bus that can take you to the island as well.

Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

It was built in the Swedish era, in 1748, as a maritime fortress and was a base for the Archipelago Fleet, it was named Viapori. in 1808 the Russians besieged the fortress during the Russian-Swedish war. The fortress changed hands again in 1917 when it was obtained by the Finnish government and renamed Suomenlinna which means “castle of Finland”

church on Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

It is awesome to watch the lively coastline of Helsinki get smaller and smaller as you leave on the ferry towards Suomenlinna. Once on the island it is easy and preferred to see on foot. 

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The main route is marked with blue signs and can be seen on the map marked in blue also. The route starts at the front of the Jetty Barracks and ends at King’s Gate is about a mile long. The path is lined with boards with information about the sights and their history. The main sites on the path are the Russian merchants’ quarter, Church Park, the Great Courtyard, Piper’s Park and the fortifications of Kustaanmiekka. I would allow about an hour and a half to walk the route. 

arriving at Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

Suomenlinna is a Unesco World Heritage site and is one of the most popular attentions in Helsinki. The Island features 6 museums, 11 restaurants and cafes, and the walls and cannons of the fortress. 

wandering Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

The Museums of Suomenlinna

The six museums are located around the island, the tickets can be purchased separately at each museum, though in the summer you can get a Museum Card that is valid for all six. Among the museums are the history of the restoration, this one is open all year. The other 5 include a maritime, a submarine, a toy, military, and customs museum.  You can check this calendar for opening hours.

the brewery on Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

The Restaurants of Suomenlinna

There are a total of 11 cafes and restaurants on Suomenlinna Island. They have something for everyone from small cafes for snacks to fine dining. There is also a brewery at the fortress as well. If you just need to get a snack there is a small grocery store on Suomenlinna also. All of the restaurants and cafes are open in the summer but you will want to check the times if you are going in the winter. 

Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

Guided Tours of Suomenlinna

If you are one for a guided tour there is the option. It will take you around the fortress and give you all the history. You can purchase tickets in the Suomenlinna museum or buy them online, the tickets are 11 euro for adults and 4 euro for children. If you have a Helsinki card the tour is included. Tours are available throughout the day in Finnish, Swedish, English Russian and Chinese during the summer. In the winter they are only on the weekends in English and Russian. 

baby geese wandering Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki, Finland

If you have time you can spend an entire day here. Since we only had less than a day we wandered for a couple of hours before riding the ferry back. It leaves frequently during regular hours. Here is the current schedule.

Headed back to Helsinki from Suomenlinna Island

A day in Helsinki is not complete without paying Suomenlinna Island a visit. 

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Show 26 Comments


  1. I basically love any destination that requires a ferry to get to and this place looks so beautiful!

  2. A very, very long time ago, my in-laws hosted a high school aged foreign exchange student. She was a lovely girl and taught us all about Finland, her home country. This article reminds me of all the great places she told us about.

  3. Cindy

    I would love to visit Finland! These pictures are great inspiration!

  4. I would enjoy the walking trail. City tours are full of history.

  5. Lisa Manderino

    I would want the museum pass for sure! That sounds awesome!

  6. Jordan

    This looks like a great day trip. I would definitely do the guided tour and probably the brewery.

  7. What a beautiful place to explore! Your pictures are lovely. I would love to just walk around and snap pictures here!

  8. The museum pass sounds like a great option to see everything there is to see! Great day trip!

  9. Good to know when visiting Helsinki. Impressive that it is a UNESCO site

  10. kmf

    I e been to Finland 7x and did not do this…definitely will check it out on my next visit. Such a cool place.

  11. Tricia Snow

    I am definitely interested in going to Finland. Thanks for the info!

  12. I would love to visit! Great info. I’m pinning this for later!

  13. What a beautiful area to check out on a layover. I will have to think about a long layover on our next flight.

  14. Helsinki? Never thought to visit here, but the Suomenlinna island looks lovely

  15. What a beautiful place! I love visiting places that are so rich in history. Thank you for sharing!

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