Lighthouses fascinate with their mystery
Lighthouses have a fascinating and mysterious reputation as guideposts for seafarers. Seeing the lighthouse has meant protection from stormy waters and the safety of the home port. The images of lonely lighthouse keepers have survived, even though the keepers of the old days no longer exist. Nowadays, the lamps light up automatically, and other aids are used in navigation.
There are more than 60 lighthouses in Finland, twenty of which are historically significant. Most of these have been renovated and serve as tourist attractions. You can take a day trip to the lighthouses and you can also stay overnight in ten lighthouses. Some of the lighthouses that offer accommodation are open to everyone, while some are only open to members of the Finnish Lighthouse Society.
Read an introduction to five lighthouses that you can take a day trip to!
1. Söderskär lighthouse
The Söderskär lighthouse is located in the outer archipelago of Porvoo, in the Gulf of Finland. Built of gray stone and brick in 1862, the lighthouse had an important role as a beacon of maritime traffic in the outer archipelago. During the Continuation War, the lighthouse housed a small anti-aircraft unit and a telegraph and telephone exchange.
The lighthouse keeper kept the light on until 1957, when the operation was automated. The light was completely turned off in 1989. Today, the lighthouse, exuding the atmosphere of former times, is a popular destination.
Söderskär is located 15 nautical miles or about 27 kilometers from Helsinki. You can get to know the beautiful marine archipelago nature as well as the interesting lighthouse tower and its history on a day cruise. Cruises depart from Helsinki’s Kauppatori and Vuosaari. They include a boat trip and a guided tour of the lighthouse tower. There is a cafe on board where you can buy snacks and refreshments. Lunch can be ordered for an additional fee. It is good to book the cruise in advance.
2. Bengtskär lighthouse
The Bengtskär lighthouse is located in front of the Gulf of Finland, about 25 kilometers southwest of Hanko. The Bengtskär lighthouse was built in 1906. This granite lighthouse rises 52 meters above sea level and is the tallest lighthouse in the Nordic countries.
The lighthouse keepers took care of the burning of the light until 1968, when the operation of the lighthouse was automated and the posts of the keepers were abolished. The derelict lighthouse suffered badly from dampness and vandalism, until the University of Turku’s continuing education center became a tenant in 1992, which carried out extensive repairs to the lighthouse. The works were completed in 1995, after which the lighthouse has been used for tourism and research. Since 2000, the lighthouse has been owned by the Turku University Foundation.
The Bengtskär lighthouse can be visited on a day cruise. Cruises depart from Kasnäs, Rosala and Hanko. Cruises to the lighthouse island are also organized occasionally from Turku. The cruises include the boat trip and entrance fee, as well as guidance. Some cruises also include lunch.
You can also stay overnight at Bengtskär. Six lighthouse keeper rooms have been renovated into hotel rooms while respecting tradition. The rooms are available for rent from June to August. In addition, the island has a lighthouse keeper’s museum, a chapel, a lighthouse post office, a cafe and a souvenir shop.
3. Isokari lighthouse
The Isokari lighthouse is located approximately 24 kilometers southwest of Uusitakaupunki. The red-and-white-striped lighthouse rises to a height of 49.4 meters and is the second highest lighthouse in Finland. The lighthouse, completed in 1833, is still in operation.
The lights of the lighthouse were looked after by the lighthouse keepers until 1952, when the operation of the lighthouse was automated. Today, the light of the lighthouse is turned on and off with a dimmer switch. It still steers ships from Selkämeri to Uusikaupunki.
The lighthouse is owned by the Finnish Transport Agency, but it is leased to a tourism entrepreneur. You can visit the lighthouse on a day cruise. The ships leave from Uusitakaupunki and include trips and a guided tour of the lighthouse and the surrounding marine nature. Some also include lunch. Cruises must be booked in advance.
It is also possible to stay overnight at Isokari. You can stay in the lighthouse keeper’s house, in the yard of the lighthouse keeper’s house, and in the old pilot house. There is also a cafe in Isokar during the summer.
4. Kyläpihlaja lighthouse
Kylmäpihlaja island is located off Rauma. In 1952, a square lighthouse tower was built there, which rises to a height of 36 meters above sea level. The 12-story lighthouse still illuminates nocturnal seafarers.
Today, an independent tourism entrepreneur operates on the lighthouse island owned by the city of Rauma, which runs, among other things, a restaurant, a cafe, a souvenir shop and a lighthouse hotel. All rooms at Majakkahotel are located in the tower of the lighthouse, and you can admire the sea view from them. The lighthouse also has a small chapel.
The Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse can be visited on a day cruise. The ships depart from Poroholma camping area. There is a restaurant on the island where you can enjoy lunch. In addition, if you wish, you can book a session in the subscription sauna or enjoy the scenery in the bath and hot tub.
5. Utto lighthouse
Utö lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Finland. Built in 1814, the lighthouse is located in the Archipelago Sea on the island of Korppoon Utö. The specialty of the lighthouse, which is still in operation and is about 24 meters high, is the small church hall on the third floor.
The lighthouse keepers took care of lighting the fairways until 1935, when the lighthouse was electrified. Gradually, the lighthouse began to produce electricity for the needs of the entire village, and from 1943 the duties of the lighthouse keepers focused on the maintenance of the power plant. The defense forces produced electricity from 1983 until 1996, when shore power was withdrawn from the mainland. The defense forces kept a large part of the island under their control until 2005. After this, you have been able to move more freely on the island.
On Utö island, you can enjoy the beautiful and rugged scenery of the outer archipelago. By getting to know the lighthouse and the pilot station, you can get a lot of information about the history of the island and the ships that have been wrecked in the area. The island also has a local museum and a small chapel.
You can get to Utö island from Pärnäis in Nauvo by ferry Eivor. The trip to the island takes about four hours. It is possible to eat on the ferry. You can get guidance on the island from a company called Hanna horisontti in Finnish, Swedish and English. The island also has a restaurant and four companies that offer accommodation services.
Text: Anu Vaheristo
Photos: Visit Finland / Juho Kuva, Visit Finland, Flickr / Petteri Sulonen, Flickr / Markus YK, Visit Finland and Flickr / Anssi Koskinen
Source: Rantapallo.fi – Suomen suosituin matkailumedia by www.rantapallo.fi.
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