The isolated lighthouse island of Söderskär

The Söderskär island group is located in the outer Porvoo archipelago, in the municipality of Uusimaa. The area is very rocky, and many ships’ journeys have ended here. These shipwrecks have occurred even though shipping in the area has been guided since the 18th century by pilots and various wooden nautical navigation signs.

A brick-built lighthouse replaced the wooden daymark of Söderskär

The island's wooden daymark beacon was destroyed in a storm in 1847. It was replaced by the current octagonal brick lighthouse, which measures about 40 metres in height. When the lighthouse lamp was first lit in 1862, it was so bright that the local fishermen feared it would scare away the fish!

Shortly after its completion, the high tower was seen to sway in strong winds and had to be reinforced with a concrete shell in the early 1900s.

The rugged island life of the lighthouse staff

Monday the 5th, 8 o’clock. Thick fog all day, could not go seal hunting at all. At home the whole day.

Life on the outer islands was very isolated, and the days were often very monotonous, as can be seen from this diary extract of Valdemar Ämmälä, who was the last lighthouse master on Söderskär. Although the days were uneventful, accurate observations were made of the weather, as well as of visitors and their movements, in both summer and winter.

The main task of the lighthouse master was to maintain the upkeep of the buildings and lighthouse lamp and to make sure everything remained in good working order. Otherwise, time was spent fishing, seal hunting, boating, and swimming.

The lighthouse was automated in 1957. Life on the island quietened when the lighthouse staff moved away. The pilot station was closed down four years later. The lighthouse lamp was finally extinguished in 1989.

Experience the rich history of the lighthouse island

Söderskär Lighthouse is a popular excursion destination in summer. The interior has remained almost unchanged since the last lighthouse master. The lighthouse houses an exhibition on the island's history.

The lighthouse is surrounded by the former island residents’ old idyllic dwellings and outbuildings, which date back to the 1800s. 

Söderskär Island also contains remnants of the early 20th century wars when the island served as both a military base and a defensive fort. The island’s visible wartime remnants include the artillery emplacements, which were blasted into the bedrock. The lamp of the lighthouse was kept dark at this time, and the tower formed part of the air surveillance chain of the Gulf of Finland.

On this rugged island of the outer archipelago, visitors can experience its rich history of use. Here, they can also see the limited life of the lighthouse community with their own eyes and bear witness to the harshness of life on the edge of the open sea. The lighthouse island of Söderskär has also inspired many artists and filmmakers.

There are many shipwrecks in the rocky waters around Söderskär, which you can learn more about in the cultural environment service window. Scuba diving in the area is only recommended after the end of the bird-nesting season.

Read more about Söderskär Island in it's own webpage.

Sauna and a well.

Why and how is this location protected?

Söderskär is well preserved in its original form. As a whole, it is one of the most representative lighthouse islands in Finland. The Söderskär area is part of the pilot, lighthouse, and fishing community of the Porvoo Western Archipelago, which has been defined as a nationally significant built cultural environment.

Learn more about this location in the Finnish Heritage Agency's register.

In addition, the lighthouse building itself is protected by laws for the preservation of architectural heritage. Read more in the Cultural environment service window!

Söderskär is also located in a nature reserve and a Natura 2000 nature protection area. Making landfall on the island is prohibited during the bird-nesting season (1.5.-31.7.).


In summer, visitors can go to Söderskär Island on organised cruises leaving from Helsinki and Sipoo. The island is a wonderful location for a day trip. It can be reached also with a private boat. 

Learn more about the cruise organisers in Söderskärs own webpages!

Finnish Heritage Agency's mapservice

N: 6664664, E: 411606 (ETRS-TM35FIN)