According to the town's tourist board "the sun always shines in Hanko" - so that's why I sweated all night while the hotel room radiator blasted out heat as I tried to dry my rain soaked clothes! The truth is that while the sun does not ALWAYS shine in Hanko it's a beautiful town that really deserves a visit if you are ever in the south of Finland - or the southern part of Sweden for that matter because the two are incredibly close at this point.
Hanko - known in Swedish (and this part of Finland is predominantly Swedish rather than Finnish speaking - not that I have much of an understanding of either) as Hango - is about two hours drive from Helsinki.
Hanko has a population of around 10000 but this increases sharply in the summer when the town really comes alive as a seaside resort and centre for sailing. An archipelago of little islands, many uninhabited, lies off Hanko and hordes of sailing enthusiasts keep boats berthed at Hanko and explore the archipelago in the summer. Hanko is a fairly important cargo port but this isn't intrusive so you may hardly even notice it unless there's a really huge ship docked for loading.
Hanko has expansive sandy beaches ideal for long walks in winter and swimming in summer. In September a five minute paddle was "bracing", (a polite word for bl***y freezing) one can see why the word "Baltic" is often used to describe very cold conditions. Another nice walk is along the rocks to the harbour to admire the moored boats and hear the clanging and rattling of the masts in the autumn breeze. There's a cluster of good restaurants and bars although many were closed up in September and would be until the spring.
Between 1880-1930, almost 400,000 Finns and Russians migrated to America. Of these about 250,000 passed through Hanko to the USA, Canada or Australia via England. They started the journey on the same steamships that transported butter, the major export of those days, to England. In the town centre close to the Regatta Hotel there stands a monument to those emigrants. The names of 93 Finnish counties that lost more than 10 per cent of their population are engraved on the memorial which depicts three cranes flying out towards the sea.
Hanko is a beautifully picturesque place that I think would make a great place to relax after a few days in Helsinki or Turku. If you go in summer you can enjoy the pristine beaches or do some sailing. For those with no experience there re plenty of sailing schools or you can simply take a trip out on an excursion around the archipelago. It's a great place for walkers with both the coast and inland areas offering plenty of interesting things to see.