The leading lights of Kirkkonummi are Kallbådan and Rönnskär - an historic lighthouse duo

The Porkkalanniemi Peninsula, located in the southern part of the Kirkkonummi Municipality, has been mentioned in sea reports dating back to the 13th century. Navigational markers have probably been placed at the head of the peninsula from earliest times. The lighthouses of Rönnskär and Kallbådan are located in the Porkkala Archipelago and form a pair that reflects the historical importance of the Porkkalanniemi along an old shipping lane of the coast.

A small pilot society was formed on the lighthouse island of Rönnskär

Pilots have been operating on the island of Rönnskär since the 17th century, after which a small pilot society was formed. At its peak, the island was the home of as many as 70 people.

The first lighthouse was built on the islet of Rönnskär in 1800. The initiative for this stone-built lighthouse was given by the King of Sweden. The tower also contained living quarters for the lighthouse keepers.

However, the Russians blew up this magnificent lighthouse tower during the Finnish War of 1808-1809. Only some of the lighthouse walls remained upright. The tower was repaired in 1822 when a tall brick section was added.

The stone-built portion of the Rönnskär Lighthouse is Finland's oldest standing lighthouse structure. Its light was turned off in 1928 when it was replaced by the Kallbådan signal light. However, a new two-storey pilot station was built on Rönsskär Island in 1919, with pilotage that continued until 1978.

Rönnskär Lighthouse viewed from the sea.

Kallbådan was built on a hard-to-reach islet

During the 19th century, it was discovered that the Rönnskär Lighthouse was located too far inland in the inner archipelago. After Finland's independence, a new lighthouse was planned along on an outer fairway. This lighthouse was also meant to be a better guide for winter navigation.

It was decided to build a new offshore lighthouse on the small and hard-to-reach islet of Kallbådan. Construction began in 1920. However, the weather conditions of the open sea plagued the builders: the tumultuous sea sometimes swept huge waves across the entire islet, carrying away all of the building materials with them. The builders were even stranded there several times.

Despite these difficulties, Kallbådan's red lighthouse was quickly completed and the signal light was already in operation by early December 1920. For several years, the lighthouses of Kallbådan and Rönnskär worked together.

Kallbådan Lighthouse is different from other Finnish lighthouses. Its unique structure includes an engine room, storage spaces, a foghorn signalling device, as well as a workshop and living space. The lighthouse tower is only slightly higher than the rest of the building.

During the Winter War (1939-1949), several families and their children lived at the Kallbådan Lighthouse.

Wartime and reconstruction

The Winter- and Continuation Wars affected life on the lighthouse island of Kallbådan. During this period, Kallbådan employed both lighthouse keepers and military personnel. The latter was tasked with enemy observations, as well as anti-aircraft missions.

As a result of the peace negotiations after the Continuation War, the area around Porkkala had to be leased to the Soviet Union from 1944 to 1955. During this period, it was impossible to move freely, let alone land on the shore within the Soviet-owned zone.

After the lease expired, the Kallbådan Lighthouse was declared uninhabitable and it became automated soon after. The lighthouse personnel were redeployed to Rönnskär, where pilotage also continued.

Visiting the islands requires a little bit of initiative

Both of the lighthouses of Kallbådan and Rönnskär have long been popular tourist attractions. The isolated conditions and the mysterious military history hold a fascination for visitors.

Although Kallbådan Lighthouse still functions, it is privately owned. However, visitors can charter organised tours to the island. However, the island is still difficult to access and landing on it is completely weather-dependent. Due to the seal protection area surrounding the islet, landing is prohibited without a special permit.

There are many preserved buildings and structures on the lighthouse island of Rönnskär, which are reminiscent of its long history. Rock carvings from various historical periods can also be found on the island. Rönnskär Island lies within an area which belongs to the Finnish Defence Forces. Thus, landfall can only be made after a special permit has first been issued by the military.

There are many shipwrecks in the vicinity of both Kallbådan and Rönnskär. Learn more about these wrecks from the cultural environment service window.

The signal light of Kallbådan Lighthouse.

Why and how is this location protected?

The lighthouses of Kallbådan and Rönnskär are historically important buildings and well-preserved monuments. The National Board of Antiquities has defined them as built cultural environments of national importance.

In addition, the surroundings of Rönnskär Lighthouse is a historically important building complex, representing the oldest lighthouse architecture in Finland.

Learn more about such architecturally important historical buildings in Finnish Heritage Agency's register!


Kallbådan Lighthouse is privately owned and only accessible through guided tours. Read more about visiting Kallbådan here!

The area around Rönnskär Island belongs to the Finnish Defence Forces. Thus, landfall can only be made after a special permit has first been issued by the military. 

Finnish Heritage Agency's mapservice


N: 6639895, E: 348990 (ETRS-TM35FIN)


N: 6647117, E: 354222 (ETRS-TM35FIN)