Well-kept castle gardens, a folly and a love bridge, a river with a floating bridge, and picturesque statues dotting the landscape. The private (yet free) gardens at the Mustio castle offer lovely vistas for those who just want to meander around aimlessly, gazing at the beautiful surroundings, but the garden also has plenty to explore for those looking for more adventures.
Mustio castle (Svartå in Swedish for “black river”) is one of the gems of Finland. The castle is built from timber at the end of the 18th century, and the annexes belonging to the castle now house a hotel, a restaurant, and even a summer theatre.
The castle itself is located about 1h from Helsinki, in the municipality of Raasepori. I have passed the castle several times on my way to Korpudden, which is only 5km from the castle, but I’d never had enough time to explore the grounds better.
The grounds at Mustio are one of the biggest private parks in Finland but visiting them is completely free. You are welcome to leave a small tip in a jar to help them maintain the grounds, so this is recommended.
Unique castle park
The castle grounds are divided into three separate areas: the main castle area, the old ironworks (ruukki) area, and the area past the “love bridge”.
I went to visit the castle grounds during autumn colour season in early October. The castle owners have really put a lot of effort into making the park as incredible as possible by obtaining rare trees into the garden, and during autumn colours, the vibrancy of nature is stunning!
The area next to the shore has a collection of statues depicting ancient Greek and Roman deities. Even though picnics on the grounds are probably not ok, stopping to enjoy the trees and each individual statue will definitely satisfy any cravings for culture and outdoors.
The Waterlily pond walk is truly one-of-a-kind: a slightly rickety floating pier runs on the surface of the river past beautiful white and red waterlilies. You can also see the hydroelectric plant in the distance, utilising the running river.
The bridge crossing to the ironworks (ruukki in Finnish) side of the park is perhaps not the most appealing visually but the cute benches and old-timey lamp posts make up for the plainness of the bridge. The pretty tree-lined paths continue on this side as well but it concentrates more on the red brick buildings and their history. Back on the other side, opposite the ironworks area across the river, is the old stable and cart house, which now house the restaurant. Past the pretty white folly and across the “Love bridge” is the more woody area with a fun castle at the top of the hill. Small paths crisscross the area, up the hill and around all the way to the hydroelectric plant. It’s easy to do a roundtrip and return past the lovely Mustio church and its small gardens.
Address: Hållsnäsintie 89, Raasepori.
How to get there: You can get to Mustio by car, by bicycle or by public transport.
- Car: You can write Mustion linna or Svartå Slott on your navigator.
- Bicycle: The bicycle routes follow closely to the car route. The cycling route is basically the same road cars use so please take care.
- Public transport: The best way to get to Mustio town is by train and by bus. The travel time on public transport is about 2 hours total from Helsinki. Check out ideas via the Routeplanner and the train service VR (Google Maps doesn’t show you all options so check out a few).
- Closest bus stop: Mustio
- Route idea #1: take a train to Karjaa/Karis, then a bus to Mustio.
- Route idea #2: take a bus to Lohja or Karjalohja, then another one to Mustio.
- Closest bus stop: Mustio
Accessibility: The main castle grounds at Mustio are almost all very accessible. There are some smaller paths beyond the “Love bridge” which are less accessible to those hard of walking, for children’s buggies or wheelchairs. The Waterlily trail is only suitable for those who have a very steady balance.
When to go: You can visit the area at any time of the year – the park is great no matter what time of the year. There are lights in the main park because it also functions as a hotel and restaurant.
Facilities: When the restaurant and hotel are open, there are toilets available for visitors. No other facilities.
Things to see near by
Since you’re here, also check out the Korpudden nature area.