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Islands a part of Helsinki

The sea and archipelago form part of Helsinki’s image and the spiritual landscape of Helsinki residents. Many who have migrated inland experience a longing for the open expanses of the sea and the impression of unbounded vastness, as well as for the refreshment properties and scenic variability associat- ed with these islands.

Around 300 islands

It has been estimated that there are around 300 islands in the Helsinki area. Many of these are rather small, half of them having a surface area of less than 0.5 ha. There are about 50 islands with a surface area of over three hectares, while well in excess of one fifth constitute barely visible islets or skerries (under 0.1 ha).

Previously many more islands existed. These have since vanished due to infilling and merging. Parallel to the shore the archipelago forms a zone about 20 km wide by 10 km deep. The water depth at its outer tip is about 30 metres and at the city’s boundary in the south around 60 metres.

Who owns the islands?

Most of the islands lying in front of Helsinki are owned by the Finnish State which, with a few exceptions, has entrusted them to the Defence Forces. All the largest islands, as well as most of the islets in the eastern part of the outer archipelago, are in State ownership.

The City of Helsinki is the other large owner of islands. Its various departments manage around a quarter of the islands. The majority of the western islands and skerries, as well as many islands in the innermost part of the archipelago, belong to the city.

Private individuals own around 10 percent of the total surface area of the islands. The remaining islands belong to enterprises and organisations and the smallest part of all, just a handful of islets, are not partitioned.

Most of the water areas are owned by the State and the City of Helsinki.  

Everyman’s Rights

Finland’s Everyman’s Rights code means that every person in Finland may make use of nature irrespective of who owns an area or acts as its custodian.

One does not need the landowner’s permission to enjoy Everyman’s Rights, neither does one have to pay for the privilege. However, a person making use of the Everyman’s Rights code must not create a hindrance or disturbance.

Everyman’s Rights are a generally approved custom of the country and they are based on various laws. They also apply to foreign visitors.

Everyman’s Rights in brief You may:

-   walk, ski or cycle in nature elsewhere than in yard areas, as also elsewhere than on fields, meadows or plantations where roaming could cause damage

-   temporarily stay in areas to which access is permitted – you can, for instance, camp relatively freely as long as you keep beyond a reasonable distance from residences

-   pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers

-   fish using a rod and worm bait, or fish through the ice in winter

-   use a boat, swim and wash yourself in waterways, and walk on ice 

You must not:

- cause a disturbance or hindrance to others

- disturb or damage birds’ nests and nestlings disturb reindeer and game animals

- chop down or damage growing trees, or remove dried or fallen wood, dwarf-shrubs, moss, etc., from somebody else’s land without permission

- light a fire on another person’s land unless it is absolutely essential

- disturb the peace by, for example, camping too close to dwellings or making excessive noise

- leave litter or rubbish in the environment

- drive a motorised vehicle off-road without the landowner’s permission

- fish or hunt without appropriate licences or permits

Source City of Helsinki Sports Department Maritime division  Helsinki’s Islands


Island Ferries

Suomenlinna Ferries

Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL runs a ferry service from the Market Square and from Katajanokka to Suomenlinna throughout the year.

JT-Line operates a water bus but only in the summer time.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Official Website >

HSL Kauppatori timetables >

HSL Katajanokka timetables >

JT-Line website >

Address: Pohjoisesplanadi 15, 00170 HELSINKI

Pihlajasaari Ferries

JT-Line runs a ferry service from the Merisatama and from Ruoholahti to Pihlajasaari in the summer time.

Pihlajasaari >

JT-Line timetables >

Address: Merisatamanranta 10, 00150 HELSINKI

Liuskesaari and Uunisaari Ferries

Summertime 6.6.-15.8. from Merisatama


Info in Finnish >

Address: Merisatamanranta 10, 00150 HELSINKI

Kaunissaari Ferries

Cardinal Marine runs a ferry service from Kalkkihiekantorin laituri of the Vuosaari to Kaunissari in the summer time.

Timetables >

Cardinal Marine >

Address: Kalkkihiekantorin laivalaituri, 00980 HELSINKI