Exactly a year ago I wrote about my first visit to Vallisaari, but then the island was only possible to visit by Finns and in special occasions, but now the incredible islands of Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari are both accessible to anyone by JT-line water bus from the market square or with your own boat. And that is a visit that I recommend for all of you who love Helsinki and urban nature!
The daily traffic started in May 2016 and the islands have been prepared to receive hundreds of tourists daily. Today you can find maps, information boards and rest stops around the islands that tell you briefly what the islands are about. But if you want to know more about the islands, I recommend to participate on a guided tour. Absolute must see is the Alexander Battery, so do the 3 km long Alexander Tour to enjoy the magnificent views opening up from the top of it!
From Vallisaari there is access to Kuninkaansaari along a land connection resembling a breakwater. The Kuninkaansaari Island (King’s island) was named after King Gustav III of Sweden. In the 19th century, the new ruler of the islands, Russia, built three artillery batteries, an artillery front, gunpowder and ammunition storage facilities and ammunition chambers on the island. The most exciting event of the island happened in August 1906 when the first effects of the Russian revolution were felt in the Helsinki archipelago. The rebels fired at the Suomenlinna Fortress from Kuninkaansaari but were defeated.
Kuninkaansaari is often considered the most pristine natural environment in the metropolitan area. For a hundred years, Kuninkaansaari’s natural settings has been left to develop in peace. I find it very interesting how the nature takes over everything little by little – how rust changes the shapes and flowers broke the walls.
From 2015 to 2016
I visited the island of Vallisaari also last spring (read more and see my pics!). In the two photos below you can easily see a difference as a part of the wild vegetation has been cut down to make the area look more like back in the 19th century.