To the west of Helsinki, the neighbouring city of Espoo, often overlooked by the majority of visitors to the capital, has a wealth of natural attractions worth exploring. In the south visitors will discover the charms of Espoo’s coast and archipelago.
Stretching for 40km, Espoo’s Waterfront Walkway runs along the coast past parks, local harbours, and delightful swimming beaches; a continuous walking and cycling path that provides access to a number of attractions along the way.
Nokkala Lighthouse Café
In 2016 a new seaside café-restaurant opened on the Nokkalan marina. A modern log and glass building, Nokkalan Majakka (Nokkala Lighthouse) is a beach café with magnificent views where you can enjoy quality coffees, salads and soups, lunches or evening meals. An instant hit thanks to its unobstructed views over the sea, the 40-seat interior is complemented with a glazed terrace and a gorgeous summer roof terrace. Next to Nokkalan Majakka you can catch a water bus to nearby Iso Vasikkasaari.
The Pentala Archipelago Museum
The Pentala Archipelago Museum is located on an old fisherman’s estate on Pentala Island in Espoonlahti Bay. The museum area consists of fifteen different buildings. The oldest one is a fisherman’s cottage built in the early 1790s. The fisherman’s estate was inhabited year-round until 1986.
Espoo’s maritime side is at its best on Pentala Island. The Archipelago Museum showcases life in the archipelago, from housing and hard work to villas and leisure activities. In the summer, the museum area is full of things to see and do. If you want to experience Espoo’s unique archipelago nature, simply follow a nature trail to Lake Pentalanjärvi and the Diksand beach.
The Pentala Archipelago Museum is one of the five museums of the Espoo City Museum. It will open on 16 June 2018.
Laguuni Water Sports Centre
The Laguuni Water Sports Centre is a new 600 m2 restaurant and activities centre located in Keilaniemi’s beautiful and secluded surroundings. Laguuni provides the opportunity for a laid back summer day spent SUP boarding, wakeboarding, water trampoline hopping, and canoeing and kayaking. Laguuni has space for all ages and all levels of experience and enthusiasm, as well as large groups, and is home to Blägä, a new restaurant by Street Gastro, the offers the best burgers in Espoo.
Located on the island of Hanasaari, the newly renovated Hanaholmen is home to the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre, and features a modern hi-tech conference centre and quality hotel. Located 10 minutes away from Helsinki centre, each Hanaholmen hotel room offers a view of unique maritime nature, with the archipelago islands just outside the window. In Restaurant Johannes you can try Nordic-style dishes, carefully prepared with best local seasonal produce and inspired by surrounding nature, while the new wine bar by the lobby offers an exciting selection of drinks throughout the year. During the summer season guests are welcome to enjoy their drinks on the terrace surrounded with charming sea views. There are two saunas, a relaxation area with a fireplace, and a 17 meter pool in the hotel’s sauna department.
Espoo Line – Archipelago Cruises
Departing from the Nokkala and Haukilahti harbours in Espoo (both within walking distance of Matinkylä metro station), Espoo Line provides guided lunch and dinner cruises aboard their cozy RoyalCat Restaurant boat through the Espoo Archipelago. With 58km of coastline and 165 islands and skerries in the archipelago, an Espoo Line cruise is the perfect way to combine beautiful scenery with great food. There are two lunch cruises operated 3 days a week with a duration of an hour and 40 minutes, and an evening dinner cruise, also 3 days a week, that explores the waters favoured by smugglers, with a duration of two and a half hours. Companies and other groups can book an exciting and customized charter cruise through the entire archipelago area of the Helsinki.
Culture & Museums in Tapiola
The City of Espoo is unique in not having a single centre, but instead having a number of major urban centres. One of these is Tapiola, which can lay claim to being the cultural heart of the city, as it features the Espoo Cultural Centre, home to the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Espoo City Theatre, and two concert spaces in Louhisali and Tapiolasali. Tapiola is also home to the nearby WeeGee Exhibition Centre, which consists of four very different museums: EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, KAMU – Espoo City Museum, the Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä and the Finnish Museum of Horology.
WeeGee Exhibition Centre
WeeGee Exhibition Centre provides a wide range of experiences for visitors of all ages. There are numerous temporary exhibitions in the museums to complement their permanent collections, and guided tours, workshops and themed events are held throughout the year. The centre also houses the museum shop, perfect for picking up souvenirs, and the Cafe WeeGee. Behind the main building visitors will find the visionary Futuro House, while the Studio Suuronen exhibitions are always interesting.
On the northern shore of Laajalahti Bay, in Tarvaspää, lies the Gallen-Kallela Museum, designed and built by one of Finland’s finest artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Tarvaspää’s beautiful surroundings and the museum’s unique architecture provide the perfect setting for a museum visit. Originally a studio and residence, the museum opened to the public in 1961. The temporary exhibitions that present the art and life of Gallen-Kallela are shown alongside present-day works of contemporary art, while a wide range of events and activities are arranged during the year, with the museum acting as a centre for information on the great artist. Tarvaspää Cafe Zoceria is located in a delightful villa next to the museum where visitors can enjoy great coffee, snacks, salads and soups.
Radisson BLU Hotel Espoo
Sitting on the Otaniemi seashore at the southwestern edge of Laajalahti Bay, the Radisson BLU Hotel Espoo provides guests with a tranquil location, memorable views and easy access to an array of attractions and transport options. It boasts 209 luxury hotel rooms, all of which were renovated in 2010, as well as a sauna centre on the top floor with 3 saunas, a swimming pool, an outdoor terrace and of course magnificent sea views. Ranta ravintolarestaurant serves delicious meals in a comfortable setting where travellers dine against the breathtaking backdrop of the Gulf of Finland, its menu tempting diners with sea-inspired fare prepared with an American-Italian twist.