Isosaari Island

Hopefully soon we can say that Spring is around the corner. Till then we can reminisce about summers long gone and plan for the upcoming one.

One must-do summer activity in Finland is definitely visiting Helsinki’s Isosaari Island.


You can reach the island on a ferry from the Market Square. There are many departures in June, July and August to choose from. The ferry trip takes around 40 minutes one way.


If you have your own boat, you might want to sail over for a longer visit. There are two different marinas which are open from May till the end of September – the main marina (Pääsatama) and Laguuni. This summer you will have to reserve your place beforehand via the island’s webpage, there’s no showing up and paying as you come anymore.


The above photo is from their main marina which will now be catering only boats over 30 feet long. There’s no electricity, so be prepared for that.


The island used to be a military island and only opened to the public last year. It is worth taking some time to walk around and explore. Below you can see the old shooting range.


As the island has a military history, there are still areas that are sealed off from the public. So do not go off the trails and observe the no trespassing signs.


This picture could be mistaken for a hospital but it is actually the inside of what used to be an army canteen.


There are many remains from days gone by, for example artillery weapons.


The cannons have not been dismantled but the old yellow sign tells you to protect your hearing nevertheless.


A rifle rack.


You can even find an Englishman’s grave on the island. George Quinnell lost his life in 1855 when the Roayal Navy attacked the Suomenlinna fortress. The artillery on the fortress was so outdated that they had nothing on the 81 battleships attacking. They say Quinnell was hit on the head by a cannonball when he went on a scouting mission before the actual attack. He was the only Englishman to die on that day.


Wild strawberries grow in the forests and anyone can pick them. Fun fact – wild strawberries are smaller and sweeter than your regular strawberries.


The old building that housed the Officer’s Club since 1964 is now a restaurant.


The views are spectacular.


It must be one of the most beautiful spots in Helsinki to see the sunset.


It’s also the perfect place to sample some Finnish salmon soup.


Golf enthusiasts will be happy to hear that you can even play golf on the island. The nine-hole course was built in 1980. Apparently it is very demanding. If you want to play, join one of the special golf trips and give it a try!


Perhaps you are interested in trying out the sauna and a dip in the sea? You can either reserve a sauna for your whole party (prices on Isosaari’s webpage) or you can go on a Tuesday or Thursdays at 10-18 (in summer). Do note that the sauna is unisex and you are required to wear a swimming suit.


If you have an urge to see what Isosaari looks like in winter, then I have good news for you – an icebreaker can take you across on Saturdays and Sundays. Check out the timetable on the island’s webpage.


Have you visited any of the islands off Helsinki? Do let me know which one is your favourite in the comments below!


17 thoughts on “Isosaari Island

    1. Yes great idea! Also Vallisaari is worth visiting if you haven’t been. It’s great that many “new” islands are opening up for visitors in Helsinki!


      1. I’ll put Vallisaari to my list as well 😉
        My absolute favorite island is Suomenlinna, I’m visiting it every year. Also Archipelago trail was an awesome experience. Far from Helsinki but definitely worth visiting.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. We didn’t go there when it opened coz it was so crowded. Maybe one day 😊 Hey about Krakow… you recommended an air bnb in Kazimierz. We aren’t really air bnb people so we will be picking a hotel, but what about the area itself? Is it s bit like Kallio, or neater and nicer?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I do recommend you stay in Kazimierz, its the Jewish quarters and of course that makes it interesting in its own right. There’s also cool cafes and restaurants. We minimized our visits to the Old Town, Kazimierz is so much cooler. Perhaps a bit like Kallio but much better 👌

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe there were others there too but you are right, not like in Suomenlinna. We also arrived quite late, all the ferry visitors had gone by then. I’m sure it’s livelier during the day, especially on a warm sunny Summer’s afternoon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting place!
    Love the views from the Officers Club.
    And we used to eat wild strawberries picked from the hedges when we summered in France – they were delicious and nothing like the ones we get in the store!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In Estonia you can see grandmotherly ladies selling these tiny strawberries in cups by the road. For the time it takes to find and pick them, the price is ridiculous. 😞

      Liked by 1 person

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