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Finland: A day in the finnish archipelago

Updated: Jan 19

Which country has most islands?

Counting the number of islands in Finland is a complicated matter, but according to Discovering Finland, Finland has 179,584. Whether this number includes the 98,050 islands in the country's 188,000 lakes is not clear, but in any case it lands Finland in second place (after Sweden) in the ranking of countries with the most islands in the world!

Finish Archipelago

Time travel to fishermen 100 years ago

From June to September, water buses run regularly to the museum island of Pentala. Even from the small boat that takes me from the city of Espoo to the offshore archipelago, I keep seeing wooden houses painted in Swedish red standing on the shore. It looks a bit like the scenery in "The Children of Noisy Village" - only in Finnish.

The Pentala Open Air Museum consists of fifteen buildings, the oldest of which is a fisherman's cottage from the early 1790s. A 2.3 km nature trail leads across the 130-hectare island to Lake Pentalanjärvi in the middle.

What was it like to live as a fisherman on a lonely island on the coast of Finland 100 years ago?

The fisherman Arvid Nyholm lived on the island of Pentala. He courted the young Gurli Lönnberg and built her a house where they could live. Gurli and Arvid married just before Christmas 1929, and after his death in 1972, Gurli lived in the house for the rest of her life. She was the last year-round resident of Pentala Island and died in 1986.

Click on the first picture to start the photo gallery:

Gurli's house has now been restored to look exactly as it did in the last years of her life. The Nyholms' furniture has been brought back, not to mention some items that Gurli loved even in her old age, like her radio, devotional books and photos. It is as if she had never been away - perhaps she only went out for a short while to do some gardening?

The fisherman Arvid Nyholm, Pentala Island

Since then, time has stood still in the house ...

and you can walk over the creaking wooden floorboards through the rooms and imagine what life must have been like at that time. In the past, city dwellers from Helsinki used to come to the island as summer visitors. I'm particularly impressed by what they lugged here in the boats for their own comfort and entertainment: from seating cushions to bulky instruments like a grand piano to a live tiger!


For general information on what is said to be the happiest country in the world, visit

You can download a hiking map for Nuuksio National Park here:

Information on Pentala Museum:

The museum offers guided tours of Gurli's house every day at certain times. Visitors can only enter the house when accompanied by a guide. Each tour lasts about 30 minutes. You can arrange private tours in english.

Paven Restaurant

Getting there:

The islands of Espoo are only about 30 minutes from Helsinki by metro.

Boats depart regularly from there in the summer.

If you want to be more flexible, you can also book a rental car - for example via the comparison portal


The Paven Restaurant is located in an old clubhouse for sailors. There is probably no better place to sit on a terrace., under old trees, the view sweeps over the many small islands to the sea. It's best to make a reservation.

Haltia Lake Lodge


On the neighbouring island you can rent a houseboat with a sauna.

Haikara sauna boat from €160 a night.

Located in the middle of Nuuksio National Park, Haltia Lake Lodge offers "normal" hotel rooms and cosy glamping tents in the forest. There is a lake on the doorstep and several hikes start here. The lodge is committed to sustainability. From 160€

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