Hanko attractions include Four Winds Cottage, Bengtskär lighthouse, Church of Hanko, Hanko sand beaches, and an islands cruise from Hanko.
Four Winds Cottage is one of Finland’s most famous cafes.
Originally this cafe, which is located about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from the city center, on a small island (Pieni Mäntysaari), received notoriety as a place where the locals went to enjoy the ‘hard tea‘ (alcohol), during Prohibition (1919-1932).
During that period, Finnish Marshal CGE Mannerheim, Finland’s national hero, had a summer cottage next to the island.
He did not like the way the cafe disregarded the law, which led to Mannerheim buying the place in 1926.
Following the acquisition, Mannerheim fired the manager, imported tea tableware and cutlery from France, and personally managed the cafe until 1931.
Today, the place is a café-restaurant with a terrace that provides wonderful views…
….the same views that made Mannerheim love these islands within Tallholmarna peninsulas.
Bengtskär (www.bengtskar.fi), meanwhile, is Finland’s oldest lighthouse and the tallest lighthouse in the Nordic countries, at an altitude of 52 meters (170 ft).
The lighthouse, located about 25 km (15.5 miles) from Hanko, was built in 1906, and today, it is one of the most impressive attractions within the archipelago.
Need for the lighthouse rose from the region’s grounding hazards for ships passing the area.
A final push to build Bengtskär came with the famous shipwreck of steamship “Helsingfors“, in 1905.
The lighthouse has been open to visitors since 1995.
Exhibitions within the lighthouse document, for example:
- the history of the lighthouse,
- the lighthouses position within Finland’s military history, and
- details of the archipelago’s nature.
Highlights also include a visit to the top of the lighthouse, from where you’ll get spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding seas.
Best Hanko attractions also feature Church of Hanko (www.hangonseurakunta.fi/hangon-kirkko) from 1892, which originally was a red-brick Gothic Revival style building…
..but with a reconstruction in the 1970s, the style changed into a gray stone, functionalism architecture version.
The church has a great location within the city, at Vartiovuori mountain, with wonderful views of the most beautiful parts of maritime Hanko.
As a landmark, in fact, the church tower was historically used by sailors as one of the viewpoints on a coastal route.
Hanko church is open to visitors daily in the summer, the peak tourist season. A good time to visit the place is, naturally, during the Sunday mass.
Highlights in the church building include its main altar, with a Christ statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Of the Hanko attractions, the city’s beaches are the most famous beach areas in Finland…
…featuring 30 km (18.6 miles) of fine-sand beaches, within the city’s 130 km coast line.
Hanko, as a tourist destination, is Finland’s southernmost city, and surrounded by sea on all three sides.
Thanks to its southern and coastal location, the city’s climate is mild and temperature fluctuations (in terms of Finland) quite small…
…making it an ideal summer holiday destination, which is why Hanko is often called the Finnish Riviera.
Popular sections within the beaches here include…
- Tennisranta (“Plagen“, a favorite beach for families with children), which often features beach volleyball players,
- Lappohjanranta (uudenmaanvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi) with its dunes, and
- Tulliniemenranta and Hopeahietikko (Silver Sands), Finland’s top surfing spots.
Finally, an islands cruise from Hanko is a summer highlight for many tourists coming here, with the various cruise routes visiting the nearby coastal islands.
Most popular of these routes tour…
- Russarön saari,
- Tammisaari, and
Among the available island cruise companies is Marine Lines (marinelines.fi), from which you can also charter custom made tours.
To arrange islands cruise tours and to get information about the available routes, you can consult the Hanko Tourist Office (www.hanko.fi).