Ocean Ports of Call

Hanko - Finland Highlights:
Beaches & pines, Ekenas town
Hanko is a bilingual port town on the south coast of Finland, 130 kilometres (80 miles) west of Helsinki. It is located on the Hanko Peninsula, which is the southernmost tip of continental Finland. The city has a coastline of approximately 130 km (80 miles), of which 30 km (20 miles) are sandy beaches. There are also over 90 small islands and islets within the city limits. The skyline of Hanko is dominated by the church and the water tower.

The city was founded in 1874,when the Imperial Charter for the city was granted by Tsar Alexander II. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Hanko was the port of choice for emigrants leaving Finland for a new life in North America. A memorial statue, showing birds in flight, commemorates this. In the late 19th century, while Finland was still a Grand Duchy under Russia, Hanko was a popular spa resort for the Russian nobility. Some of the buildings from that period survive, notably the Hanko Casino (now a restaurant) and the Hotel Continental (now Hotel Regatta).

The Bengtskär lighthouse, situated 25 km (16 miles) southwest of Hanko, is the tallest in the Nordic countries. It was built in 1906 and it was the first lighthouse museum in Finland. From here you can also visit Ekenas Old Town where its wooden houses spread out to the seashore. The street names tell the story of the life of the townspeople and how they got along hundreds of years ago. Here, the streets have stayed the same since the 16th century. Street names such as the Hatter's Street (Hattmakaregatan), Linen Weaver's Street (Linvävaregatan), Cloth Weaver's Street (Handskmakaregatan), Smith's Street (Smedsgatan) and Tanner's Street (Garvaregatan) reveal that Barcken's peninsula in Ekenäs once was populated by skillful craftsmen.

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