gb fi



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


The Islands

Pihlajasaari islands

Pihlajasaari, a holiday island formerly filled with private villas, is nowadays a recreational area in which the people of Helsinki can engage in a variety of outdoor pursuits. In fact there are two islands, a western and an eastern one, joined by a pedestrian bridge. The island is located offshore from Kaivopuisto, some three kilometres from the city centre, and there is a boat connection from both the sea harbour in Kaivopuisto/Ullanlinna and Ruoholahti.

A handful of old villas are still in existence and the island’s habitats consist of rocky outcrops, small tracts of forest, herbrich stands, and rocky and sandy shores. The surface area of this island is approx 26 hectares.

Sunbathers are especially attracted to Pihlajasaari’s lovely sandy beaches. The diversity of habitats, good location and efficient services have made Pihlajasaari Helsinki’s most popular summer island.


- In boat harbour, mooring booms 24, mooring buoys 24, septic tank

- On Eastern Pihlajasaari camping at weekends for a fee, Fri 12.00 – Mon 12.00

-Three cooking shelters

- Bookable sauna

- Several beaches. Also a shore area reserved for naturists (Eastern Pihlajasaari)

- Several changing cubicles. These are rentable.

- Several toilets

- Kiosk and café open in good weather during holiday season

- Villa Hällebo amor restaurant, open from mid-May to end of August


-  Several of the island’s buildings are preserved.

-   There is a senior citizens’ recreation centre called Virkkula, programmes being arranged by the Kamppi service centre.

-  Personnel tel. + 358 9 3107 1518

Regular boat service

From mid-May to the end of August there is a regular boat service between the sea harbour in Kaivopuisto/Ullanlinna and Pihlajasaari. At the beginning of May and first half of September the service operates at weekends. From mid-June to the beginning of August there is also a daily service to Pihlajasaari from the Ruoholahti jetty.NOTE! Dogs are not allowed onboard, but visitors arriving in their own boats may take dogs with them to Eastern Pihlajasaari.

Website >

Source City of Helsinki Sports Department Maritime division

Address: Pihlajasaari, 00150 HELSINKI

Liuskasaari & Uunisaari Islands


Liuskasaari belongs to an island group located in front of the sea harbour in Kaivopuisto/Ullalinna. The Helsingfors Segelsällskapin Yacht Club (HSS) has kept a clubhouse here for over a century. There is a restaurant and a boat harbour. The island is open to both club members and visitors. There is a summer boat service, as well as a bridge linking Uunisaari with Liuskasaari.


- Harbour for visitors’ boats

- Restaurant, 250 places. Officially opened in 1949, the pavilion style restaurant was designed by the architect Runar Finnilä (1891-1956). Its beautiful dining salon is decorated with Mikael Schilk’s and Björn Landström’s artwork in the form of glass, ceramics and wall paintings.

Regular boat service

The island boat from Helsinki’s sea harbour (Kapteeninkatu street end) operates from the beginning of May to the end of September.


South of Kaivopuisto lies Uunisaari, composed of a north and a south island connected by a narrow sound. Uunisaari has served Helsinki residents in many ways for centuries. Cattle and horses have grazed on the island, there were once an oil production plant and a paint factory, and coffins have been manufactured there. Opened in 1934, within two months Helsingfors Simsällskapin’s splendid new swimming facility had attracted 125,000 swimmers.

Thanks to its sandy beach and high service standards, Uunisaari continues to be the most popular island for recreation and picnics. In summer there is a boat service from the sea harbour’s market square, while in winter a pontoon bridge links the island to the mainland.


- Swimming beach

- Changing cubicles

- Shower Liuskasaari

- WC

- Restaurant (150 places) with terrace (100 places)

Regular boat service

Daily non-stop service from sea harbour (Kompassilaituri quay) in market square April–November. Between 15.11–15.4. there is a pontoon style pedestrian bridge. NOTE! Dogs are not allowed on Uunisaari.

Island administration

The island is used by Helsinki residents and administered by the Sports Department’s Maritime Division. Associations are responsible under annual contracts for swimming shore activities and winter swimming in a hole in the ice.

Website >

Source City of Helsinki Sports Department Maritime division

Address: Liuskasaari, Helsinki

Kaunissaari Island

Located in the Sipoo archipelago, Kaunissaari lies some 22 km east of Helsinki (i.e. an approx. 50 min. sea trip from Vuosaari), almost in the open sea. For centuries this island was used for grazing livestock. There has been a wind powered sawmill and several generations of fishermen’s families have dwelled there. Nowadays its 100 hectares are at everyone’s disposal for outdoor recreational purposes. Kaunissaari is a popular destination for day trippers and campers alike and there is a regular boat service from Helsinki’s Vuosaari.

The island features a variety of different habitats, including woodland, exposed bedrock, herbrich forest, and stretches of fine sand. Kaunissaari offers a blend of the haven like calm of the inner archipelago and the bleakness and raging extremes of the outer archipelago. As a whole this 2 km long, 800-metre wide island easily satisfies the appetite of mushroom pickers, naturalists and anglers alike. Fresh water is piped in from the mainland in summer, supplying 30 taps located at strategic points on Kaunissaari.


-   Boat harbour In a sheltered bay on the island’s east shore (depth 1.9 m), with moorings for 60 boats

-   Camping Supervised camping throughout the summer at various parts on the island. Camping is not allowed at Saunaniemi, nor within 100 metres of permanent buildings

-   Cooking shelters three, each with a cold water tap and toilet. Open fires are prohibited elsewhere on the island.

-   Saunas Public sauna at specific times; also rentable sauna and family sauna

-    Swimming shore two maintained beaches

-    Boat hire service Rowing boats available for hire

-   Kiosk/café

Nature trail

There is a waymarked nature trail (approx. 2 km long) which is not wholly suitable for the disabled.


One of the most popular pastimes among island visitors is fishing. A permit is required for any form of fishing other than rod, float and worm, and winter ice hole, fishing.

Regular boat service

Passenger vessel connection to Kaunissaari from the Kalkkihiekantori quay at Vuosaari, mid May to mid September. Sea journey takes around 50 minutes.

Website >

Source City of Helsinki Sports Department Maritime division 


Address: Kaunissaari, Helsinki
Phone: +358 9 3107 1444


World Heritage Site Suomenlinna
In 1991, the Suomenlinna fortress was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique monument of military architecture. Another special feature of the fortress is that in the course of its history it has served in the defence of three realms: Sweden, Russia and Finland.
Moreover, it continues to be a living, tended and inhabited district of the city of Helsinki. The World Heritage Site includes seven islands.

Bastion fortress

Suomenlinna is unique in that although it is a bastion fortress, it is irregular in shape as a result of being built on a cluster of rocky islands with highly variable terrain, requiring a very free adaptation of the theory of fortifications developed in Central Europe.
Suomenlinna is to large extent historically authentic, i.e. consisting of original structures. Several significant layers of historical development in fortifications and shipyards may be seen on Suomenlinna. The dry dock at the heart of the fortress was the state of the art in 18th century technology.
There are also dozens of underwater sites around the fortress.
Read more about the history of Suomenlinna.

Source the website of the Governing Body of Suomenlinna


Address: Suomenlinna C 40, 001900 HELSINKI
Phone: +358 29 533 8300