SuomenlinnaBack to Essential Finland: Helsinki to Lapland »
There's a whole host of things to see outside Helsinki. First and foremost is the famed Suomenlinna Castle, but there's also the charmingly preserved town of Porvoo, home of Finland's national poet.
- An island fortress built in 1748, Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Early summer, when the lilacs (imported from Versailles) are in bloom, is the best time to visit.
- Porvoo's stone streets and painted wooden houses are wonderfully anachronistic; the town is even accessible by 1950s-style train from Helsinki.
- In Porvoo you can also see the home of Finland's national poet, J.L. Runeberg. The house, now a museum, is kept as it was when he died, in 1877.