Length 4.2 km (2.6 miles), terrain: some small hills
Helsinki running routes:
Helsinki Essential downtown route
Helsinki North route
Western shore route
Soumenlinna Fortress island route
For more running routes, see Route List.
Here's a short Helsinki run that will transport you into a whole different ambience and era: a run through the linked fortress islands of Suomenlinna, out in the approaches to Helsinki harbor.
The old fortifications were built in the 1700s and 1800s in wood and stone, and have that typical Scandinavian feel to them-- with brightly colored wooden buildings scattered among smooth rock outcroppings.
|Looking out over Artillery Bay|
Even getting to the islands is a worthwhile experience, taking a ferry from Kauppatori market square, downtown. The ferry glides past a variety of other islands until the boat stops at the foot of the fortress walls. The service runs a few times each hour and costs €5.
|Kauppatori market square|
|Cannons along the cliffs|
Arriving with the ferry at Iso Mustasaari island, you can see the church tower from a distance as you approach the island. The tower doubles as a lighthouse. So now you're here, let's get going!
|Arriving at the island|
You'll then pass some fortress walls on the right side, and then continue up past the brick military museum and some scenic yellow buildings. You'll see an open area over the rocky cliffs on the right side, where you can get a great view over a little bay (Artillery Bay) to the next island, Susisaari.
Now turn around and head back downhill the same way, past the military museum, to the spot (with a signpost) where the main path turns left to go down to the bridge over the bay, past the Suomenlinna Museum.
|The bridge to Susisaari|
|The monument, with the brass cannon in the background: run that way!|
|Cove with the beach|
Now just run south along the shore, with sailboats criss-crossing the waters around you.
|The Hobbit bunkers|
Follow the shore path as it curves to the left and heads into another walled fort.
|Sailboat off of King's Gate|
|The cannon junkyard|
|House along the shore|
In the next courtyard, keep right, to run past some workshops. You'll be behind the first wall that you ran past earlier, across from the church. When you come to the first archway that takes you through the wall on the right side, take it.
Now you'll find yourself facing the church park again. So now, just turn left and head out under the clock tower and back to the ferry landing.
NOTE: If you want to add more distance, now head westwards over the bridge with the white railings and run through the two small islands to the west. The first island, Pikku Mustasaari, is home to the Naval Academy and isn't open to tourists, but you can run past it to the next island, where you can loop it and head back to the ferry landing again.
|Bridge to Pikku Mustasaari in evening light|