Hanko (Hangö in Swedish) is one of my favorite Finnish towns. It is only a two hours drive from Helsinki, is blessed with stretches of wonderful sandy beaches, it’s dotted by imposing mansions built in the late 19th-early 20th century, and is home to some excellent seafood restaurants. Hanko oozes a “belle époque” ambience, you can hardly find elsewhere in Finland. In the late 19th-early 2oth century, this seaside town was the preferred resort of the russian aristocracy. It was know across the Baltic Sea for its spas and glitzy lifestyle. Today, Hanko is a meeting place for sailing enthusiasts, golfers and sun worshippers from all around Finland and the Baltics.
Apart from the glamour and “Great Gatsby” life, Hanko has witnessed some ferocious battles between Sweden and the Russian Empire, and later, between Soviet Union on one side and Germany and Finland on the other . It was founded in 1874, when Finland was still a part of the Russian Empire. Because of its strategic location on the tip of the southern most peninsula of Finland, it quickly became an important trade port. It was from here that Finnish immigrants sailed to the New World, in search of a better life.
I don’t want to bore you with more historical facts. If you ever visit Helsinki and have a day or two to spare, take the train and go to Hanko. You will love it. Especially from June to July, the whole area is transformed into a true “summer paradise”. Having said that, don’t forget it is Finland we are talking about, so don’t expect azure waters. And the average highest temperature in July is around 20 degrees Celsius. Think better of a baltic version of Cape Cod with soaring alcohol prices, minus the celebrities 🙂
Have you ever been to Hanko? How did you like it?
(All the above pictures are the author’s, unless otherwise stated)
All the above pictures are