The Most Beautiful Finnish Islands You Can Visit

Beautiful Red Finnish Wooden Log Cabin House On Rocky Island Near Helsinki, Finland
Beautiful Red Finnish Wooden Log Cabin House On Rocky Island Near Helsinki, Finland | © iStock / Getty Images Plus
Photo of Richard Collett
13 December 2021
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Finland might not be the first destination that springs to mind when you think of island hopping, but the Nordic nation has more islands than any other in Europe. The country has upwards of 70,000 islands – the majority are located in the Baltic Sea, alongside rivers and lakes inland, with some even above the Arctic Circle. To inspire your next off-the-beaten-track adventure, these are the most beautiful Finnish islands you can visit.

Stay overnight on an island as you explore the Arctic Circle on Culture Trip’s epic five-day tour to Finnish Lapland.

Vartiosaari

Serviced Apartment, Cottages
Map View
A thin islet in a calm river amid autumnal forest with a thin bridge connecting it to the mainland
Courtesy of Hotel Vartiosaari The Aurora Island / Booking.com
Hotel Vartiosaari is located on a secluded island that’s not only in the middle of the Kemijoki River, but it’s directly on the Arctic Circle. The island itself is just a ten-minute drive from Rovaniemi, but you’re far enough from civilization that you’ll see the Northern Lights with ease during the winter months. To reach the 11 boutique rooms on the island, you have to cross a suspension bridge over the river; once you’re across, you’ll be able to enjoy the warmth of a Finnish sauna, as well as the unique flavours and dishes of Lapland at the restaurant.

Pihlajasaari

Natural Feature
Map View
Beach huts on Pihlajasaari beneath trees in the Helsinki archipelago
© Photononstop / Alamy Stock Photo
Are you looking for a beautiful island to visit close to Helsinki? Why not take a boat over to Pihlajasaari, where you can escape the city and enjoy some of the best beaches closest to the capital. Pihlajasaari is uninhabited, but there’s something for everyone here – including a nudist beach. The island is very popular in summer when the water is refreshing enough for a swim and you can camp out under the midnight sun.

Bjorkholm

Natural Feature
Map View
Red wooden finnish traditional cabins cottages in green pine forest near river
© Kathrine Andi / Alamy Stock Photo
Travel to the Finnish city of Turku and, in the sea to the west, you’ll find thousands of islands, begging to be explored. One of the best islands to visit is Bjorkholm; drive (or cycle) from Turku to a tiny ferry port called Granvik, and from there take a 10-15 minute ferry ride to the island. The island is tiny, but you can easily spend days enjoying the nature, the beauty and the isolation of Bjorkholm. The island is home to a few small cottages – and, yes, you can rent them out during your stay.

Aland

Natural Feature
Map View
Pilot house of Kobba Klintar on the approaches to the port of Mariehamn in the Aland Islands Finland on a sunny day
© Jon Sparks / Alamy Stock Photo
The Aland Islands are not only beautiful, but they are rather unique, too. The archipelago is technically part of Finland, though this collection of around 300 small islands speaks Swedish and is almost entirely self-governing. Uncover the rich history of these independently-minded islands, which lie between Turku and Stockholm, in the museums of the islands’ capital Mariehamn, the capital. Head further afield, and you’ll find beaches, hiking trails and spectacular coastline as you hop from one island to the next.

Suomenlinna

Archaeological site, Building, Natural Feature, Church, Historical Landmark
Map View
Suomenlinna island shore with fortress walls and sea beyond, flowers in the foreground
© Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Enjoy history and nature in spades on Suomenlinna Island. The island is located just off the coast of Helsinki and is recognised as a Unesco-listed site for the impressive fortifications that turned this island into a fortress. It wasn’t the Finns who built the giant bastions and walls you still see today; the Swedes constructed the fortress in the 18th-century in an attempt to hold onto Finland. Learn all about that, and more, on a day trip from Helsinki.

Nauvo

Natural Feature
Map View
Women on a bike ride along a gravel road in the countryside of Nagu or Nauvo island in Vastaboland in Pargas in Southwest Finland
© Sergi Reboredo / Alamy Stock Photo
Nauvo (or Nagu) is one of Finland’s most beautiful islands and you can visit it on an island-hopping trip from Turku. The island is actually connected to the mainland by a series of roads and bridges that cross the Baltic Sea – once you reach it, you’ll find it easy to immerse yourself in raw nature. Visit centuries-old churches, tackle hiking trails or just rent a cottage with a Finnish sauna and do very little at all.
These recommendations were updated on December 13, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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