Hanko is a quiet, modest and natural city in Finland which is less known compared to capital Helsinki or “smart” Oulu, but which can turn your vacations into an unforgettable memory. If you are in Hanko, it means you are there on a daytrip or on a particular reason like visiting friends/relatives living there, or having to attend a certain conference. Chances are high that you won’t stay for too long there, not because it will disappoint you but rather because you have to explore the rest of Finland and its amazing wonders as well.
So Hanko is a bilingual port town and is considered the country’s southernmost city. The distance between Hanko and Helsinki is 130 kilometers, thus it will take you around two hours to get there. It depends on the means of transport you will opt for and obviously, it will take less time if you rent a car and go there by car. The city’s population does not reach 10.000 and while the majority speak Finnish here, you will also come across many people speaking Swedish (44%).
Overall, the city hosts a number of major festivals, among them Hanko Regatta (sailing race), Hanko Music Festival (classical music) and so on. Just a few days ago the city completed the Sea Horse Week. If you love festivals and would like to know what Hanko can offer in terms of festivals, then you should do your bets to travel there in August as it’s the last month of major Hanko events. One of them is Hanko Sea Kayak Gathering, which will take place on August 22-24 and the other days, which should never ever be missed is Hanko Days and the Night of Bonfires Traditional celebration in the archipelago. The latter will be held on August 29-31 this year.
Now let’s see what you will see there:
While for some people lighthouses might be a boring “thing to see,” it does not reduce their significance for sea towns and cities. Visitors of Hanko might encounter at least three lighthouses on the islands located within this city’s limits. One of them is the lighthouse of Bengtskar, which is very well known not only among Finnish people but also among foreigners simply because it’s the tallest in Nordic countries. It was built in 1906. The lighthouses on Russaro and Gustafsvärn islands are much older dating to 19th and 18th centuries, respectively.
If you would like to have the view of the city from above then go for the towers, say, the Water Tower. It rises 65 meters above sea level and provides a wonderful view of not only the city but also the Baltic Sea. If you want to get to the top of the tower, you can take the elevator to the top where a telescope will be awaiting you for even better and closer views. The entrance is not free, but the fee is very insignificant. Adults will have to pay EUR 2 and elderly people as well as children only EUR 1. The Sun Bridge and the Storm Tower are two more places to enjoy splendid views.
Being a city officially founded in late 19th century, Hanko does not boast of a number of museums or churches. If you do want to visit at least one museum, then you are welcome to Hanko Museum. As to churches, the oldest one is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanko and it dates to 1892. The church features Neo-Gothic style. We would also recommend visiting the Chapel of Taktom, which, however, cannot be regarded as a top destination. It dates to 1920 and was built by a grieving father who lost his daughter when she was only 2 years of age. Presently, many Finnish couples choose to get married exactly in this small and modest chapel.
Being constantly at wars with Russan and Swedish forces, the city also houses a number of monuments and statues, which recall the days of war and their victories. Keep up with our next post to lean what else you can see in peaceful Hanko.