Hanko

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A charming small seaside town

Hanko is sun-city for those seeking light and well-being.  A summer paradise for anyone who loves sandy beaches or secret places where you can be in peace alone. The historic spa resort with its charming atmosphere, colourful events, enticing restaurants and relaxing sea is spoken of with good reason as Finland’s Hampton or the Finnish riviera.

Founded in 1874 and Finland’s most southerly town, Hanko is a small town in the best sense. The charming south of Finland offers visitors fascinating history, a unique scenic coastline, vibrant local culture and a diverse choice of restaurants throughout the seasons.

Hanko offers beach experiences for everyone. The city has a coastline of 130 km, with 30 km being sandy beaches, so there is always a great beach nearby. The natural beauty of the southernmost tip of Finland is evident all around Hanko, and it beckons you to enjoy outdoor activities and the archipelago’s unique nature all year round.

Hanko can charm and fascinate visitors throughout every season. Hanko blends the outer archipelago’s beauty, tranquillity and intense autumn storms with a creative, peaceful small town. Above all, in Hanko you will find space, time and inspiration for your own thoughts.

Hanko is easy to reach, with buses and trains going from the centre of Helsinki to the centre of Hanko. The distance from Helsinki is 127 km and from Turku 141 km.

A dramatic history

Hanko’s dramatic history is intertwined with that of seafaring and Hanko was first mentioned as a berth in the late 1200s. A narrow strait between the two islands off the southernmost tip of Finland called the Hauensuoli, “Pike’s Gut”, has been used as a harbour since the 1400s.  The rocks of the islands are carved with coats of arms and the names of hundreds of seamen who were waiting for favourable winds. The completion of the railway to Hanko brought the port into major use and in 1874 the city of Hanko was founded.

The beautiful Spa Park

The buildings surrounding Hanko’s Spa Park form a unique villa area that grew up during a unique period in Hanko’s history. The famous bath house in Hanko operated during the years 1879 – 1939 and was frequented by celebrities who also enjoyed bathing in each other’s glory. Most of the villas are still preserved with their grand towers, verandas and balconies, a sight to be admired.

Summertime Hanko is full of events

Hanko is well known for its events. During the summer, there are weeks the town can be filled with tennis players, sailors, theatre goers, bridge players, motor boating enthusiasts or canoeists. Finland’s southernmost city is a great place to practice hobbies whilst also enjoying the day in a coastal environment. The events varying from week to week offer something for everyone, so be sure to check out our events calendar!

A wide choice of restaurants

Few small towns in Finland can offer such a broad selection of restaurants as Hanko and each individual restaurant has its own story. Choose to dine with open sea views or in the atmospheric old storehouses of the Eastern Harbour. Tempting seafood and locally sourced ingredients play an important role in Hanko’s kitchens; fried flounder, perch and lamb. Or maybe you’d prefer to enjoy the crayfish or bountiful archipelago buffet? 

In addition to the classic Scandinavian menu, there is exciting fresh Italian pasta, sushi and organic burgers made from locally produced meat. Interesting seasonal restaurants are also often to be found.

Well-being and outdoors

Hanko is a lovely place all year round with many interesting places to visit within walking distance of the town centre. We have many seaside walking trails and numerous outdoor activities to provide well-being for body and soul, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, winter swimming, yoga, surfing, tennis and Frisbee golf.

Enjoy the outdoors at your leisure with these great walks:
- The Path of Love at Puistovuoret (“Park Hill”) is about 1.5 km long and dates back to the late 1800s, when it was built for spa guests. Along the wide, smooth cliff was an area reserved for air bathing. During the period of mass emigration to the Americas, emigrants would dance there, while waiting for their ships that would take them to New World. Puistovuoret combines cultural history and the magnificence of nature, with the cape offering a fantastic view of the Baltic Sea. Today you can still see some remains from the Second World War there, plus Hanko’s first historical monument, the Nordenskiöld table. The monument was erected in memory of explorer Nordenskiöld’s visit to Hanko with the steamship Express at the turn of 1880-1881.

- Take an architectural walk in the centre of Hanko and let the buildings come to life. Although a town with a relatively short history, Hanko boasts a surprisingly rich architectural heritage. In just a short walk you’ll find buildings designed by Finland’s leading architects, including Theodor Höijer, Lars Sonck, Selim A Lindqvist, Waldemar Aspelin, Wivi Lönn and Viljo Revell. Download a brochure or book a guided architecture walk at Hanko tourist office!

- Hanko’s history stems from its excellent location and sheltered harbours. These safe anchorages attracted both merchant vessels and warships, giving Hanko a war-filled past. Even today there are many interesting places where traces of this history are still visible. On the website http://www.hangokrigshistoria.fi you can discover the history of Hanko’s wars and the maps there can help you locate the various sights.

Seal safari or Bengtskär lighthouse
In Hanko, having an unforgettable day at sea is easy. Visit the lighthouse, watch Baltic Sea seals or admire Hauensuoli’s historic rock carvings. During the summer you can take a day cruise to the tallest lighthouse in all the Nordic countries, Bengtskär. Alternatively you could visit the island fortresses of Russarö and Gustafsvärn. Taking a seal safari allows a real close-up view of the seals living in the Baltic.

 “The Archipelago guest book Hauensuoli (Pike’s Gut) is a unique attraction. It is a narrow, sheltered strait between two islands where seafarers once waited for favourable winds. Preserved in the sheltered harbour are 640 rock engravings with the names and coats of arms of nobility, soldiers and merchant travellers dating all the way back to the 1500s.

Attractions in Hanko
Hanko water tower is a beautiful landmark that is definitely worth a visit. Rising 65 meters above sea level, it gives views across the sea that are simply stunning. To find out more about the other interesting attractions in Hanko, take a look at the Hanko tourist office web site.

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