Örö Nature Tourism Development Plan

Photo Credit Icon Katja Niemi

Örö Nature Tourism Development Plan

The Örö fortress island has been a closed military area for a hundred years, showcasing the history of Finland's coastal defence. In 2015, the island in the Archipelago National Park was opened to tourists and has become extremely popular among boaters. Thanks to its history as a closed fortress island, Örö has evolved into an area with one of the highest concentrations of threatened species and habitat types in Southern Finland.

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    Cities and towns

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    National parks

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    UNESCO sites

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    UNESCO global geoparks

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    Main roads

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    Cruise ports

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    River / Ocean

Landscape illustration.

How can a closed fortress island best be opened for tourists?

Örö used to be a well-kept secret until the unique island was opened for visitors in 2015. A detailed development plan was drafted to transform the former military island to a sustainable nature tourism site with rare plants and habitat types. 

An island that became an instant favourite of boaters and nature tourists

The Finnish navy relinquished the use of Örö in 2015, and a plan was made to develop the island as a nature tourism site. The island is a home for rich flora and fauna, with over 200 endangered species, while the buildings and other structures represent many historical layers of cultural value. The existing buildings offer plenty of space for arranging accommodation and other services. The plan proposes renovation of the buildings and infrastructure and states a framework for responsible development of the island, emphasising cultural and ecological sustainability. The plans to renew the infrastructure include a shift from oil to geothermal heating and heat pumps, and renovation of the water facility. The sewage system is to be inspected and new dry toilets are suggested as part of the port services.

Key facts

  • Location

    Municipality of Kemiönsaari, Region of Southwest Finland

  • GPS points

    N59°48'40.0" E22°19'38.2"

  • Protection Framework

    National park, Natura 2000

  • Estimated number of visitors a year

    Archipelago National Park 79,300 in 2020 (72,600 in 2019) Örö island 30,000

  • Project Owner

    Metsähallitus / the state of Finland

  • Planning


  • Year of construction


  • Landscape type

    Maritime, island

  • Material

    Not relevant

  • Project budget

    5–10 M euros initial investment, yearly maintenance costs estimated 250,000 euros

  • Prizes/Awards

    Finland’s Hiking Destination of the Year 2020, theme environmental friendliness Kirkkokivi shelter shortlisted for ArchDaily Building of the Year 2020