34% of my DNA comes from Finland, so you wouldn’t think it would take over fifty years to get here, but it did. Luckily, I am here now.
We landed in Helsinki, got in our rental car, and headed to Hanko, a small harbor town in southern Finland, less than two hours drive. We couldn’t have picked a better place to be introduced to the country.
As guests of friends Pamela and Jani, we stayed in a cabin right on the Baltic, just outside of town. It was beautiful, quiet and peaceful, and included a true Finnish sauna.
First things first; a dive into the Baltic and a picnic on the rocks.
The best strawberries ever:
Hanko was a Russian spa town in the late 19th century. At the end of the Winter War, (March 1940) Finland ceded Hanko to Russia for forty years. But just 1 1/2 years later, in December 1941, Finland got Hanko back, and they have held on to it and cherished it ever since.
It is a beautiful little town with wonderful beaches, a lively harbor and the most incredible street of Victorian waterfront homes you’ve ever seen.
The houses and beach along Applelgrenintie/Appelgrensvagen and Mannerheimvagen:
The Orthodox Church:
Luckily for us, we had local guides in Pamela and Jani. They took us around the town and then to their home for dinner. I consider them long lost cousins, lost no longer. Between 1881 and 1931 (the time frame of my great grandparents departure) 250,000 Finns left their homeland for other lands from this very port.
The House of Four Winds, a fun destination during the Finnish Prohibition, is now a cafe.
A local spot for fresh fish:
The gracious Ojala family:
The woods here, as in Sweden, have very little undergrowth.
Our drive back to Helsinki had us watching our speed due to the numerous cameras. We were told that after your third ticket in a year, you may have your car taken from you for a period of time. They take speeding and driving under the influence very seriously.
Relieved of the rental car, the train to the Helsinki main station was quick, clean and easy.
How nice that You visited Hanko. It is beautiful place as You showed in Your photos. Congratulations visiting another town outside Helsinki. If time, visit Porvoo also. Enjoy Your stay.
Happy and safe travels!
Kiitos! Finland is beautiful. We plan more trips.