Island sights in Helsinki
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An ideal day or half-day trip from Helsinki is to pack a picnic and take the regular ferry to the island fortress of Suomenlinna. A great deal of Helsinki's history was shaped here - the World Heritage Listed fortress was founded by the Swedes in 1748 to protect against the Russians but following a prolonged attack, Sveaborg was surrendered to the Russians in 1808.
There are several good cafés on Suomenlinna, but many locals like to picnic among the fortress ruins with a few drinks - it can get pretty boozy here on summer weekends. At around 17:00 it's worth finding a spot to watch the enormous Baltic ferries pass through the narrow gap.
HKL ferries depart every 20…
Old bunkers, crumbling fortress walls and cannons are at the southern end of Susisaari island; poking around here gives the best impression of how the fortress once looked. Be careful with young children here, as there are some nasty drops. A torch will come in handy if you fancy exploring some of the tunnels.
Pihlajasaari island is the pick of the many islands, with several secluded bays and beaches, including a nudist beach.