The sheltered Island of Sälgrund has served as a harbour and pilot station for centuries

Fishing and the peasant sailing trade have been practised in the Kaskinen area of the Gulf of Bothnia since the Middle Ages. The latter activity involved peasants sailing to markets along the coast to trade. They sold their firewood, fish, and farm surplus and brought back other goods they could not produce themselves. Sälgrund Island is located southwest of the town of Kaskinen, a short boat ride from the harbour.

Laxhamn, a secluded natural harbour on the island of Sälgrund, has traditionally offered fishermen a good stopover place, and a pilot hut was established there from an early age. In 1760, two pilots worked on the island. Besides pilotage, there have also been various wooden nautical navigational signs on the island to guide seafarers since the 18th century.

A lighthouse was built on Sälgrund Island in the late 19th century

During the 19th century, there was a growing need for lighthouses in the Gulf of Bothnia as traffic increased and so the old wooden daymark on Sälgrund was replaced with a new lighthouse.

Although the lighthouse tower was designed as early as 1863, its construction was delayed due to years of famine and various economic difficulties. Only after more than a decade did the approximately 30-metre high red and white striped circular tower, rise above the island.

Drawings of the Sälgrund Lighthouse dating from 1873. The lighthouse itself was completed in 1875.

The lighthouse lamp was first lit on September 13, 1875, and was visible for 11.5 miles, or about 21 kilometres. The lighting system was a peculiarity at the time because it was the first petroleum-powered device in Finland. This was a major innovation in the history of lighthouses, as hemp and turnip oil had previously been used.

Residential buildings for lighthouse staff were also constructed at the same time as the lighthouse, and life on the island became a hive of activity.

The lamp of Sälgrund Lighthouse, with its original Fresnel lens in the 19th century.

The 20th century was a time of change for Sälgrund

The Sälgrund Lighthouse became automated in 1967. Thereafter, the pilots resided in the former lighthouse staff’s residential building and the old pilot house was demolished.

Pilotage did not cease on the island until 1986. However, activities on Sälgrund continued as the island became a very popular tourist destination. The island retains the charm of the old maritime community.

This spectacular lighthouse is still in operation and its lighting equipment and interiors are still in their original form. Around the lighthouse, on the idyllic grounds, are residential buildings that have been converted into accommodation and conference facilities. Visitors with a sharp eye can also spot the remains of the old wooden daymark located close to the lighthouse.

The island of Sälgrund offers a variety of attractions, also for nature enthusiasts. There is a nature trail on the island, which runs along the windswept rocky shores, as well as through more verdant coastal meadows and forests. The island is also home to a wide variety of birdlife.

In addition, there are many shipwrecks in the waters around the Sälgrund area. More information on these can be found in the Cultural environment service window at

Read more about the tourism in the Kaskinen City's webpage!

How and why is this site protected?

Sälgrund Lighthouse is a remarkable landscape element and an important symbol of the city of Kaskinen and its maritime traditions. The whole island and the surviving lighthouse community are a valuable cultural environment that represents the long-standing pilotage and lighthouse activities. The site has been defined as a nationally valuable cultural environment by the Finnish Heritage Agency.

More detailed information (in Finnish and Swedish only) about the site in the Finnish Heritage  Agency's register.


Kaskinen tourism organises transportation to the island and guided tours, as well as overnight lighthouse tours. It takes less than half an hour to reach the island from the centre of Kaskinen. It is possible to visit the island with a private boat.

Finnish Heritage Agency's mapservice

N: 6924911, E: 199332 (ETRS-TM35FIN)