Europe, Finland

5 Cool Castles in Finland You Must See

Do you love castles as much as us? That’s hard to imagine because we REALLY love castles 😉 But in all seriousness, we have explored dozens of castles in Europe. I have to say that very few strike me the way Finnish castles do. In Finland castles are much like Finnish people themselves: to the point and with a no-nonsense attitude. We obviously love ornate palaces with mirror-hanged walls and crystal chandeliers, but castles in Finland are just somehow refreshingly different. Don’t believe us? Then check out our list of 5 imposing castles in Finland you must see 😉

 

1. Turku Castle

I obviously have to start here, after all, Turku was our hometown for so many years. Turun Linna, as it is known in Finnish, was founded in the late 13th century and is one of the few remaining medieval structures in Finland. It stands on the bank of the Aura river and was originally used as a military fortress when Sweden colonized Finnish land. However, the castle actually only ever witnessed one battle in 1318 when Russian invaders destroyed the city of Turku. Unfortunately, the castle was further destroyed by several fires as well as by a bomb that hit it during the Continuation War in 1941. After a lot of renovation efforts, Turku Castle opened its gates again in 1987 and today is one of the most visited museums in Finland.

Turku Castle is open to visitors throughout most of the year, but we would recommend visiting on Medieval Day in early summer when the castle hosts a full medieval tournament!

Where? Linnankatu 80, 20100 Turku
How much? 11€/5€
More information on the official website.

 

* Planning a visit to Turku? Read our insider tips on what to see & do! *

finnish castles finland castles turun linna

 

2. Suomenlinna Fortress

Any other person would have started this list with Suomenlinna Fortress, and it is easy to see why. Suomenlinna is a sea fortress built on six islands just off the coast of Helsinki. Construction of the fortress began in 1748 as a Swedish defence point against Russian military forces. However, the fortress was heavily bombarded by Russian forces in 1808 by which it was finally taken over. It was the year Swedish rule in Finland came to an end. Today, Suomenlinna Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. It serves as a local recreational area for the inhabitants of Helsinki as Finns love to hang out on the scarce beaches of the island. Why not join them? Entrance to the fortress itself is free, but you will need to purchase a ticket for the ferry.

Where? Suomenlinna, 00190 Helsinki
How much? 5€/2.5€
More information on the official website.

 

* Need some more tips on what to see in Helsinki? We got you covered! Read on here. *

castles in finland suomenlinna

 

3. Hämeenlinna

Hämeenlinna, or simply Häme Castle, sits on the coast of Lake Vanajavesi in the town of Hämeenlinna. The exact age of the fortress is not known due to a lack of written sources, however, most historians date it around the mid-13th century. The castle, although humongous in size and utterly impressive, never played an important role in Finnish history. In fact, it lost most of its influence when Swedish efforts started to concentrate on the Baltic Sea. Under Russian rule, the castle served as a prison for a couple of years and is now open to the public.

Where? Kustaa III:n katu 6, 13100 Hämeenlinna
How much? 10€/5€
More information on the official website.

finland castles hämeenlinna

 

4. Olavinlinna

Olavinlinna is the northernmost stone fortress still standing and is located in the Eastern Finnish town of Savonlinna. It was built by Sweden in 1475 as a means to take control in the turmoiled area of Savonia and to reduce Russian influence in the area. In its long history, it withstood many Russian sieges and remained largely intact. Today it is the home of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, one of the most popular opera festivals in Europe.

Where? Olavinlinna, 57130 Savonlinna
How much? 10€/5€
More information on the official website

finland castles olavinlinna

 

5. Kastelholm Castle

Kastelholm is a bit of a special case, as it is located on the autonomous islands of Åland. Built in the 14th century, it was of great importance during the 15th and 16th century as a military station and trade center. Due to its location, it has always been of great military importance. As such it was partially destroyed on several occasions throughout history but has since been restored. It is now one of the most important tourist attractions on the Åland Islands.

Where? 5 Tosarbyvägen, Kastelholm 22520
How much? 6€/4.5€
More information on the official website

finnish castles kastelholm castle åland

 

Other Castles in Finland and Castle Ruins

History nerds like me will always be on the lookout for the little things which shaped a country’s history. I enjoy visiting castle ruins almost as much as visiting intact castles, which is why I decided to include a few castle ruins in Finland in this article.

finland castles ruins raseborg

 

Raseborg Castle Ruins

A first proof of the castle’s existence can be found from 1378. Unlike other castles in Finland, Raseborg was meant to protect Swedish interests not against Russia, but the Hanseatic town of Tallinn. The castle was abandoned in 1553, but its ruins are still relatively well preserved and open to the public.

Where? Raseborgs Slottsväg, 10710 Snappertuna

 

Kuusisto Castle Ruins

Located only a short distance from Turku, Kuusisto Castle was probably constructed in the early 14th century. Unfortunately, it was ordered to be demolished by Swedish king Gustav in 1528.

Where? Linnanrauniontie 634, 21620 Kaarina

 

Oulu Castle Ruins

Oulu Castle was built in the delta of Oulu river in 1590 as a defence mechanism. However, it is believed that another castle may have stood in its place earlier in history. The ruins we observe today are from an even later castle, built in 1605. It was completely burned down by Russian forces.

Where? Linnansaari 1, 90100 Oulu

 

Kyminlinna

While many castles on Finnish ground were constructed by Swedes, Kyminlinna was built as part of a larger defence system in South-Eastern Finland by Russia. It is also one of the youngest Finnish castles, as it was completed only in 1795. Throughout its history, Kyminlinna served as a refugee camp, a POW camp, and a tuberculosis hospital.

Where? Sutelantie 84, 48230 Kotka

 


Now, what do you think? Which is your favorite of these Finnish castles? Are there any interesting spots we have missed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Let’s stay in touch!

 

6 thoughts on “5 Cool Castles in Finland You Must See

  1. Fun article. I have to say, Olavinlinna really calls to me. So beautiful, and fully intact. Finnish castles do seem to be “to the point” but a fantastic legacy of the country. Thanks for putting this list together

  2. I LOVE castles -especially ones which are in ruins as it forces you to imagine what things would have been like in their prime! Lovely photos x

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