Lauttasaari is a great base for all kinds of activities. The area has enough residents to ensure that it isn’t lacking in any services. The nature and atmosphere of the island keeps living here low key. Lauttasaari offers a well-needed breather from the bustle of the city.
The Finnish name for Lauttasaari ('Ferry Island') comes from the Swedish name Drumsö, which was the name of a steam ferry that used to operate between Ruoholahti and Lauttasaari in the first decades of the 20th century. The ferry was owned by the tycoon Julius Tallberg who also owned half of the land on the island.
Tallberg founded a seaside resort and café called Drumsö Casino. Nowadays, "Casino Beach" is still the nickname for the beach situated in the Merikylpylän puisto park. The locals are the first to hit this beach in droves in good weather for fun and games, swimming and enjoying the treats served in the café.
Lauttasaari ended up a part of Helsinki as a gift from Queen Christina of Sweden in 1650, but the donation was later retracted. Even after this incident, the ownership of Lauttasaari as an administrative part of Helsinki has been a game of back-and-forth. For locals, the most important link was founded in the 1930s when the bridge from Lauttasaari to Ruoholahti on the city's mainland peninsula was constructed. Nowadays the western metro extension travels through the islands with two stops at the Lauttasaari and Koivusaari stations.
The different parts of Lauttasaari are fittingly named after their geographical features.
On the southern side of the island, Vattuniemi ('Raspberry Cape') was a zone for offices and minor industry, but is now turning into a lively residential neighbourhood. East of Vattuniemi, the large harbour zone has restaurants and shops. The southern tip of Vattuniemi has the district's largest green area.
Myllykallio ('Mill Rock') stands in the middle of the island, a spot that played a crucial role in Helsinki's defence during the Second World War. Lauttasaari Church is found beside this rock as an apt example of 1950s architecture. Another elevated point on the island is Kotkavuori ('Eagle Mountain') with views overlooking the downtown area.
Lauttasaari is divided by the Western Highway, with Katajaharju ('Juniper Ridge') to the north of it and a bridge leading to nearby Kaskisaari. South of the highway, Koivusaari ('Birch Island') is facing big changes in the coming years. Lauttasaari has been a long-standing popular address in Helsinki. The island combines nature and a peaceful atmosphere with a cosy urban touch, charming residents and visitors from one decade to the next.