Only opened in May 2016, Vallisaari is a new treasure right in front of Helsinkis coastline. The fairly big island was in use under the military until pretty much now, but finally opened up for visitors as well. The island combines history and nature beautifully; for me the perfect alternative day trip for those seeking to avoid the crowds heading out to Suomenlinna.
Within luscious Finnish woods, rocky coastlines and small sandy beaches, lie not only the ruins of the former catacombes and parts of the fortress, but you also find some of most magnificent views on Helsinki city. Vallisaari is located only about 20 minutes from the market square in Helsinki, and the JT Line boat service takes you there every hour at least, during summers. I was particularly curious to discover this island, which is fairly big and was yet so out of reach for the public. After Lonna, the tiny island opened two years ago, Vallisaari joined in on the range of formerly military ground turned into open islands.
The islands Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari are connected through a pathway, and offer two complete walkways of about 2.5 and 3km, showing off the different sides of the islands and its gorgeous nature. Vallisaari is the perfect place to go to for a quick nature trip, a history lesson and simply the unique views, on Suomenlinna island, Helsinki City and the open sea. There is no spot of this kind anywhere around, and just alone the lookout spot from the Alexander Battery. You can find out more about it here and on various info maps along the way when you’re over there. Some parts are still under construction or under maintenance, so watch out and respect the signs and such.
Vallisaari is probably my new favourite spot, hands down. The views literally took my breath away and the rock we found for a picnic (pick up some delicacies from the market, hop on the boat and enjoy on the island) was just perfect, there’s simply no other word for it. If you have cash to spare, you can get very overpriced but tasty looking waffles on the majestic sailing boat nearby the connection point of the two islands, but really wandering about, smelling the fresh forest, keeping an eye out for blueberries and enjoying the sounds of the sea is all you need.