Hanko is a popular summer resort located on a long, sandy peninsula that marks the southernmost point of continental Finland. It flourished as an upmarket Russian spa town in the late 19th century when many of its Victorian and Art Nouveau villas were built. It later experienced intense fighting during the Winter War between Finland and Russia.
Things to do in Hanko
Delve into the local history at the Hanko Front Museum, which details the events that took place on the Hanko Peninsula between 1939 and 1941. Learn about Hanko’s strategic importance to Finland and the Harparskog Line that served as the nation’s first line of defence. You can browse the vintage weaponry on display in the Artillery Hall before exploring the communication and firing trenches located outside the museum.
If you want to stretch your legs, follow the Tulliniemi Nature Path, which winds its way along the coastline to the west of Hanko. Keep your eyes peeled for wild deer and birdlife along the way, including white swans that can often be seen in the shallow water.
For a day on the water, board the M/S Summersea to enjoy a leisurely cruise to the Bengtskär Lighthouse, which was built atop a skerry in the Archipelago Sea in 1906. As you explore its bunker, learn about the attempts by Soviet troops to destroy the lighthouse during the Battle of Bengtskär, then climb to the top of the lantern room for sweeping views across the Gulf of Finland.
Getting around Hanko
Hanko is just under two hours’ drive from Helsinki and Helsinki Airport, with regular trains connecting to the Hanko railway station. Buses travel throughout Hanko and regular ferries connect from Hanko’s port to Paldiski in Estonia. The centre of Hanko is compact enough to explore on foot.