Guide of HANKO
Hanko is a port town in Finland, the town is around 130 km west of Helsinki and is situated on the tip of the southern peninsula called Hankoniemi. The town is bilingual, with the majority of the inhabitants being Finish speakers and around 44% speaking Swedish. The Hanko peninsula is famous for having lovely beaches and a beautiful archipelago just off the coast.
A brief history of Hanko
Hanko’s history is very much linked to seafaring, the peninsula known as Hankoniemi, was first recorded in the late thirteenth century. From the fifteenth century onwards, Pike’s Gut, a narrow strait between two islands, has been used as a harbour, the town of Hanko was officially established in 1874 after the railway was completed. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, around 400,000 Finns left the country to seek their fortune in the United States, Canada or Australia and about 250,000 of them left via Hanko port. During the war, Finland surrendered the Hankoniemi cape to the Soviet Union and many residents were evacuated as many a bloody battle took place there. In early December 1941, Hanko was taken back and the evacuated residents came home to rebuild their war-battered town.
Things to do in Hanko
For tourists, Hanko’s life began as a spa town, however the original spa was badly damaged during the war and torn down, but the area around the Spa Park is a lovely area to stroll around and admire the architecture, which is characteristic of this area and features ornate timbered villas designed by well-known architects. If you want to look inside a villa, then Alan’s Café is situated inside one, it’s a great place for refreshments and home-baked pastries, there is also a craft shop attached. If you want to go further afield, why not take a 2-minute ferry trip to a lovely little cottage restaurant called Hangon Portti, which serves very good seafood. 19 km northeast of Hanko, there is Rintama Museo, a museum that features original trenches, bunkers and artillery guns from the Winter War, as this area saw some of the worst battles. If you take a little walk up Vartiovuori Hill, there is a water tower from which there are great views over the sea. For live music, drinking, and dancing check out Hanko’s beautiful art nouveau casino.
Beaches around Hanko
Hanko’s coastline is approximately 130 km long, of which 30 km are sandy beaches. There are also over 90 small islands and islets within the city limits and the rocks around the islands are covered with people’s names and coats of arms that were carved by seamen while they waited for the winds to change. Tulliniemen ranta is probably the most popular beach, situated a bit further from the centre of town and is a long sandy beach with very clean water. Hangö Plagen, is closer to the centre and is also a wide sandy stretch with little changing rooms and a few facilities. Slaktis simstrand, is a great beach for those with children as the water is very shallow and it isn’t too crowded. It has grainy sand, changing huts and a life-saving ring on the beach.