If you’re visiting Helsinki and looking for the perfect day trip destination, we have some suggestions. Get to know Finland’s diverse nature and culture beyond Helsinki!
Kirkkonummi – Nature Experiences and Charming Cultural Sites
Located just 30 km west of Helsinki centre, Kirkkonummi is an interesting destination packed with fascinating cultural sites and nature attractions, an ideal day trip for all where there’s plenty to see and do, even for longer visits. Kirkkonummi offers visitors the opportunity to breathe in the fresh forest air, or to travel to the seaside to admire the rocky beaches and experience the authentic island atmosphere.
Porkkalanniemi in Kirkkonummi is an easily accessible and unique nature destination, where you can find forest, sea and rocky beaches in one place. The area is an excellent day-hiking destination with trails and camp shelters. You can pack a bike on the train and go on a nature trip to Porkkalanniemi. Other wonderful natural destinations are Linlo island and the Meiko nature reserve.
In addition to amazing natural attractions, Kirkkonummi also has cultural treasures. These include the main library Fyyri, which received the prestigious Finlandia Award for Architecture, Hvitträski‘s internationally renowned National Romantic studio home, and the Ragvalds Museum Farm and its traditional yards which will especially delight history and architecture lovers.
Families with children can experience farm animals and nature moments at Rehndahl’s beautiful animal farm, where you can pet and get to know the happy animals.
The nicest cruises from Helsinki to Stockholm and Tallinn
One of Helsinki’s most appealing aspects for visitors is the maritime feeling and easy access to other capitals around the Baltic Sea. Tallink Silja offers easy and enjoyable mini-holidays. The most modern Tallink Shuttles offer numerous daily departures to Tallinn and Silja Line’s luxurious white ships have daily overnight cruises between Helsinki and Stockholm via the Åland Islands.
Silja Line‘s roundtrip cruises to Stockholm are an ideal way to combine the Royal Swedish capital into your itinerary. The sea journey passes through the most beautiful Scandinavian archipelago. You will have an exciting overnight cruise both ways with some excellent onboard dining, great activities & entertainment, a spa, and fantastic duty-free shopping opportunities. During the day you can visit Stockholm and explore the city’s sights.
The unique 142m long Promenade onboard sister ships Silja Serenade & Silja Symphony is truly the magnificent heart of the ships with a lovely atmosphere. Kids will love the Sunflower Oasis Spa and its whirlpool hot tubs, and the supervised play centers. The whole family can enjoy many great live shows that take place on every journey.
You can also choose to visit the beautiful capital of Estonia, Tallinn, which is just 2 hours from Helsinki. Fast Tallink Shuttles MyStar and Megastar have up to 6 daily departures to Tallinn offering the nicest crossing over the Gulf of Finland. The frequent schedule allows you to stay up to 13 hours exploring the historic medieval city with its beautiful towers or the modern city districts with many attractions.
Whether you choose a one-way or roundtrip cruise with Tallink Silja ships, you can be sure to get wonderful new memories. The company has been awarded the Sustainable Travel Finland label as the first shipping company in the Baltic Sea.
Summer Adventures in Beautiful Lake Tuusula
Located less than an hour away from Helsinki city centre, Lake Tuusula was once home to one of Finland’s most prestigious group of artists, and the homes they once lived in still dot the lakeside paths, providing visitors with a chance to step back in time to the Golden Age of Finnish Art. These include Ainola – the home of Sibelius; Halosenniemi – the wilderness studio of painter Pekka Halonen; Suviranta – the former studio residence of painter Eero Järnefelt; Erkkola – home of poet J. H. Erkko; and the Aleksis Kivi Memorial Cottage.
The lake also provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to experience the nature of southern Finland, best explored by bicycle, which can be rented from Järvenpää Art Museum and from hotels by the lake. The full route circling the long lake is 26 km long, but there are shorter alternatives. For example, the scenic museum road Rantatie is approximately 4 km in length, and passes many of the cultural sites. Experience rural Finland in miniature in the Sarvikallio area, making sure to stop at the Sarvikallio viewing point, in Fjällbo Park, and along the Vanhankylänniemi nature trail.
Visitors exploring Lake Tuusula will find plenty of restaurants and cafés along the route, with delightful summer cafés open during the season. Lake Tuusula also hosts numerous events during the summer, beginning with its Midsummer Celebrations
Tuusula is part of Helsinki’s public transportation network (HSL) so you can get there conveniently by bus or train / bus combination with different route options. For food lovers there is a local food festival in September.
Korkeasaari Zoo – the island of animals
One of Helsinki’s best loved attractions, Korkeasaari Zoo is uniquely located on an island in the Baltic, easily accessible from the city centre, making it an ideal day out for families with children, nature lovers, outdoorsy types, couples and groups of friends. A hilly island covering 22 hectares, there are many hiking trails, circling and intersecting the hilly island. In addition to the restaurant and cafés, there are both outdoor and indoor picnic places and other places with BBQ grills and coals where you can cook your own food. Even though famous Helsinki landmarks like Uspenski and St. Thomas cathedrals are clearly visible, Korkeasaari’s island location is ideal for enjoying the tranquillity of the surrounding archipelago and its unique nature.
Korkeasaari Zoo is home to over 150 species that range from the Himalayan slopes to the African deserts and from the northern coniferous forests to the Amazon jungle. A stroll through Cat Alley introduces you to big cats like Asiatic lions, Amur igers, Snow leopards, and Amur leopards. Other big favourites on the island include the photogenic Red panda, Dwarf mongoose, Pygmy marmoset, Black lemur, and Red wallaby. Korkeasaari Zoo’s two tropical houses are the largest and most diverse in Finland; In Africasia you’ll discover tropical birds, snakes, and a family of dwarf mongooses, while in Amazonia you’ll find pygmy marmosets and other small monkeys, agoutis, parrots, lizards, and many more.
Korkeasaari works for biodiversity, and by visiting the zoo, you support this work and contribute to the preservation of wildlife. Korkeasaari keeps and breeds endangered animals together with other zoos involved in conservation efforts in order to help secure a future for the species.
During the summer the zoo is open daily from 10am to 8pm, with Helsinki’s long summer evenings providing opportunities to enjoy the island when there are less people there. The summer program includes animal feeds and short guided tours. It is easy to get to Korkeasaari – the 16 bus leaves regularly from the central railway station, and JT Lines operate a ferry from the market square leaving hourly. The nearest metro is Kalasatama, with the zoo about a 10 minute walk from there via Mustikkamaa, or visitors can use the handy city bikes available throughout the city and with a station next to the zoo entrance.