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Europe > Nordic countries > Finland > West Coast (Finland) > Finland Proper > Archipelago Sea > Utö (Finland)

Utö (Finland)

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Utö is also an island in Stockholm archipelago in Sweden.

Utö is an island far out in the Archipelago Sea, with its lighthouse welcoming ships arriving to south-western Finland from the Baltic Sea. It lacks wood or farmland, the village ducking into the little shelter given by the rocks.

Understand[edit]

Houses ducking into the little shelter available

Utö is the southernmost inhabited island in Finland, 80 km (50 mi) from the mainland, by the main fairway from the Baltic Sea to Turku and Naantali. As such it was important early on, with pilots inhabiting the island since the 18th century and the first lighthouse built in 1753 (the current version is from 1935). The island was shared between the four pilot families.

The island got heavy coastal artillery during World War I. The garrison was turned into a hotel in 2005. The island had long been a popular destination, but this made the island much more accessible.

Due to the pilot station, lighthouse and military there is some infrastructure on the island, such as a small primary school, making the island ideal for people wishing to stay or live far from everything. There are a few dozens year-round inhabitants, many more people in summertime.

The island belonged to the municipality of Korpo, which now has merged into Pargas.

As an island far out it has been involved in several tragic accidents, the most famous being the coastal defence ship Ilmarinen, which was sunk by a mine in World War II, the shipwreck of the US freighter m/s Park Victory on nearby rocks in 1947 and the sinking of cruise ferry m/s Estonia in the open sea in 1994.

The climate is relatively mild because of the sea, but wind and moisture make the temperature feel colder.

Get in[edit]

Harbour, lighthouse and pilot station

There are ferries from Turku (from the river) and Nagu (Kyrkbacken or Pärnäs, 4–5 hr from the latter), taxi boats available on request, and a pier for visiting yachts:

  • m/s Kökar. Summertime, twice weekly. From Turku (downstream from Martinsilta, right bank of Aura) via Nagu Kyrkbacken, calling also at Pärnäs by request. Bar, some food served. €30 from Turku, €25 from Nagu.
  • m/s Eivor, +358 44-500-0503. Year round, more or less daily. From Pärnäs via a few other islands. Coach stop and parking in Pärnäs. Some food served. Free.
  • Utö guest harbour.

Get around[edit]

The island is small enough to get around by foot: 81 hectares (200 acres). Private cars are not allowed.

See[edit]

The chapel
  • The barren landscape and the sea.
  • Birds. As the island is the last before the sea, many migrating birds rest here before or after the tough journey, making it one of the best birdwatching locations in Finland. Birds life is rich except for midwinter.
  • 1 Utö Lighthouse. Guided tours daily in summertime. Utö Lighthouse (Q11899745) on Wikidata Utö Lighthouse on Wikipedia
  • The chapel. Open daily. There is a chandelier with the names of the ten men lost with Park Victory and thank you letters from the men rescued are framed hung on the wall of the chapel (here or in the lighthouse chapel?).
  • The graveyard. Sand was brought for the graveyard in 1962, earlier the deceased were transported to Jurmo.

Do[edit]

  • Enjoy the peace.
  • Rowing boats for hire.
  • SCUBA diving to Park Victory, a Victory class steamship built during World War II, with home port in Newport, Virginia, lost during the Christmas Night 1947. Diving not arranged by the locals, contact diving clubs elsewhere. Parts of the ship risk collapse, so due care is required.

Buy[edit]

There is a small grocery store on the island: Utö handel. Beside normal produce it sells a bear dedicated to the island and hopefully some souvenirs, such as picture-heavy trilingual books about the island or the Archipelago Sea.

Eat[edit]

  • The hotel restaurant, +358 20-730-8090, . 8:00–10:00, 12:00–14:00 and 17:00–18:00/18:00–20:00 (winter/summer); Sundays only for groups. Breakfast €12 for non-guests, lunch €14, dinner buffet €28 when available, also à la carte.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Jurmo, one of the islands on the way out to Utö, with seal safaris and a very special nature.
  • Gotland. Utö is the last harbour for yachts venturing out on the Baltic Sea proper, and Gotland is a quite popular destination. If you are aiming for southern Sweden, it is a convenient waypoint.
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