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Helsinki islands within hand’s reach

Did you know 70 percent of Helsinki consists of sea? That’s right. It’s no wonder that the city’s tremendous coastline flourishes when admiring it from the seaside.

But that’s not all. The archipelago consists of around 330 islands. With more and more of them opening up for public, the islands offer remarkable summer trip destination for locals and visitors alike. From walking around the pristine nature to a day at the sandy beaches. From witnessing the history of Helsinki’s very own sea fortress to dining at one the several restaurants the islands offer.

The islands are very easy to reach thanks to privately-operated ferries getting busy during the summer season. For this summer, all ferries and their schedules have been added to Reittiopas, Helsinki Regional Transport Authority’s (HSL) official journey planner.

This means you can check all the necessary information with a few taps on desktop or mobile and start planning your next naval voyage. All this while getting back to mainland for dinner.

You can find Reittiopas at Even easier, download the free HSL app from App Store or Google Play to your mobile device. Whatever is your method, HSL journey planner is a must-have for everyone wanting to get the most out of Helsinki’s world-famous public transportation system.

Services for a city by the sea

According to Ossi Berg, Information Planner at HSL, the move to add island ferries to the service makes Helsinki’s marine treasures even more accessible.

– The role of the islands and the sea is highlighted in Helsinki’s official strategy putting even more emphasis on the sea. Therefore adding all the boats among bus, train, metro and tram lines to the journey planner was a logical step for us.

The implementation sounds straightforward. Yet the various boat connections are not operated by HSL but private companies.

– All the important info is now online but tickets need to be purchased separately upon the boat’s departure. Luckily, this is as easy as it gets. Simply find your way to the given ferry and buy your tickets there. Cash, debit or credit, Berg notes.

– We believe the location by the sea is in the very essence of Helsinki. Now this claim is supported stronger by the city’s digital services too.

Text: Joonas Ranta | Coverphoto: ©Helsinki Marketing / Juhana Hurtig

Off you go!

See the boat connections and their schedules on or download the HSL app from App Store or Google Play. Just prepare to buy the tickets from the boat or a designated sales point in its vicinity..

Here’s just a few destionations to get your Helsinki island-hopping adventures started. Enjoy!

  • Suomenlinna

Let’s start from the obvious. Located just in front of downtown Helsinki, Suomenlinna is not only a beautiful island but a historic sea fortress and – quite rightfully – a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best thing is that you can use your HSL public transport ticket to reach the island directly from the Market Square.

Suomenlinna: © Helsinki Marketing / Jussi Hellsten
  • Lonna

This tiny island was opened for the public in 2014. In the 1800s and 1900s Lonna functioned as a clean up site for sea mines and then as a site to demagnetize ships to avoid the wartime hazards. But no need to worry about explosions anymore. Today even the former mine storage building is a trendy café!

Lonna: © Helsinki Marketing / Tommi Kortesniemi
  • Pihlajasaari

The most popular of the Helsinki bunch. Pihlajasaari is known for its sandy beaches, famously colourful changing rooms and a restaurant carrying the island’s name. Don’t forget to say hi to the island’s sheep and goats enjoying their work as caretakers of the area’s green pastures.

Pihlajasaari: © Helsinki Marketing / Juhana Hurtig

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