Seurasaari Island is a complete landscape of Finland in miniature. It ‘s an open-air museum situated on a tranquil oasis with an entire archipelago all to itself. Instead of the popular Suomenlinna, I found Seurasaari to be a great alternative for an immersive experience about Finnish life. Also, it’s not your usual museum indoors where the experience is quite passive. Instead, the open-air museum is an experiential journey walking through the traditional Finnish way of life.
Wooden Finnish Houses
The beautiful cottages, old manors, farmsteads from the bygone days and staff members dressed in cultural Finnish outfits, bring the whole place to life. The best time to visit is during the summer, as outdoor adventures in Finland during the winter can be quite difficult.
How to get to Seurasaari Island
The entire trip to Seurasaari Island by bus 24 is the cheapest and most convenient route. It takes about 20 minutes from Helsinki and you can get a really nice tour as well. Before reaching Seurasaari island, you can spot the landmark Sibelius Monument on the way. I’d recommend stopping by this place during the return journey.
Download the app, HSL Mobililippu and get the mobile ticket for the bus.
- Go to the app store/google play and search “HSL Mobile”
- Select ‘Helsinki’ under ‘Region’
- Buy the mobile ticket via credit card, it should cost €2.90
- The ticket will be valid for 80 minutes.
- Put Seurasaari on Google Maps and find the bus stop that’s along that route.
- Then, wait for bus 24. Hop on, and show the bus driver your mobile ticket.
The HSL Mobile App has been a lifesaver for getting (bus/train) to different places in Helsinki, including the airport. Some important things to note about the app:
- You need internet connection to download the app and buy the ticket.
- If you are running low on battery or might lose free wifi connection, make sure the app is still open after you buy the ticket.
Farmsteads, Manors and Treetops
There are several farmsteads and here integral to the everyday Finnish life. For instance, the Antti Farmstead was built from the Middle Ages in Western Finland which provided residential and animal housing.
My favourite part of the museum was the Handicraft weekend and market (only on 22 – 23 July). We were pretty lucky! This once a year marketplace sells traditional handmade handicrafts and traditional goods. Merchants sell their hand-made items and demonstrate their craft at the booths.
There are several booth with unique things to discover, such as candle holders, bird calling whistlers and animal soft toys made from wool. Prices on these small exclusive items range from €20 – €80. Nearby, there’s a souvenir shop as well but there’s no place better to buy authentic Finnish souvenirs than from local craftsmen themselves. Also, the museum shop sells several items made from other countries in Europe. Like this Sundial that costed me €8. Not my best purchase. Also, there weren’t as much variety compared to the marketplace.
Seurasaari Antin Kaffeliiteri (Cafeteria)
Antin Kaffeliiteri is a cafe housed inside a wooden cottage with a really rustic setting and cozy atmosphere. It’s located in Antti farmstead. It’s a nice stop to have a break for few snacks and refreshments. Nothing too special on the menu here though.
Pricing, Opening Hours, Other Useful Info
There are varied opening hours for different parts of the year and it’s best to check the specific timings before going there. It took me about 2 hours to finish exploring the entire museum. At the entrance, you can purchase tickets and get an english map of the museum’s layout.
It’s not necessary to get the guided tour, it’s always better to DIY and start the adventure at your own pace. The distance between each point of interest is rather short, so make sure to not miss out on anything and visit all 35 points.
- It costs €9 for adults, students can get it at €6 if you show a valid student ID.
- Open daily from 11am – 5pm. (From June to end of August).
- The museum is closed during the winter time, so the best time visit is during Summer/Spring. More details on specific periods can be found on their official website.
Thank you to the wonderful staff at Seurasaari who made this experiential journey about Finnish tradition so authentic. 🙂
Have you been to Seurasaari Island? Share with us your experience in the comments below!