My Top Five of Finland
Suomenlinna, or Sveaborg, is the sea fortress on a series of islands near Helsinki. Work on the fortress began in the 18th century, and today is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People actually still live there! The district of Suomenlinna has a population of 800 permanent residents. Nathanael and I had a blast trying to find all of Suomenlinna’s secrets. A fair number of the doors and tunnels have been left open, so the public can wander freely through the rooms and passages. There are also a couple of cute cafes and museums on the island to round out the whole experience. This is one of Helsinki’s most popular tourist sites, and it’s definitely worth a visit!
Does the name sound familiar? The Fiskars company was founded in 1649 in Fiskars village, and over the centuries (!) has continued to provide high-quality tools that today can be found around the world. Today, the village is a cultural hub, featuring a museum, numerous cute boutiques, restaurants, gardens, and nature walks. In addition, the village hosts concerts, workshops, markets, and a variety of other events. I loved wandering around this beautiful little village, I got a few unique gifts, and had some cake at Petris Chocolate Room that was to die for!
Fagervik iron works was founded in 1646 by a Swede named Carl Billsten. Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances the iron works fell into ruin by the turn of the century. It was revived in 1723 by a pair of Swedish brothers, and over time the works were expanded, cottages were built, gardens designed, and the community flourished. The iron works shut down in 1903, but today you can still see the old smelting beds, beautiful cottages, a museum, and the even the manor house and gardens from afar. It’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon walking around, and there are a few signs around to fill you in on some of the history in the area.
Senate Square, Helsinki
Senate Square is a bustling hub with lots to see in a small area. Underneath the square is an old cemetery. Today you can find Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the Sederholm house, and a statue to Alexander II. This spot is worth a visit because it packs so much into one quick visit, and it’s centrally located so beyond this you’re still within walking distance to loads of other great places to see.
The Forests and Countryside
Honestly, you could hop in a car and drive anywhere and end up somewhere beautiful. Nature is everywhere, and in the summertime there are more mushrooms, berries, fruit, and herbs than anyone could dream of trying to pick! Nathanael and I spent many wonderful lunch breaks wandering over the Solbacka property, admiring the forest and the nearby lake. We would love to go back in the summer or fall to take advantage of the bounty of natural foods!