Discovering Natural Wonders in Helsinki Region
Nature in the Helsinki Region – Attractions & Activities
There are few metropolitan centres in the world that compare with Helsinki when it comes to its wealth of open green spaces and surrounding nature – it is a city where you can get easily from its urban heart to the wilderness of a national park in 30 minutes; modest Sipoonkorpi to the east and massive Nuuksio National Park to the west! A little further north lies idyllic Lake Tuusula, with its concentration of historic buildings and museums, most of them alongside one of the most scenic cycling, or walking, routes in all of Finland.
Daughter of the Baltic – Helsinki’s Archipelago
As a city with a longstanding maritime tradition, Helsinki’s nature and natural attractions aren’t confined to the mainland. From Porkkalanniemi and the outer archipelago nature reserves in the south west, to Kaunissaari in the north east, off the coast of Helsinki and Espoo lies a vast archipelago, with over 300 islands. Visitors to the capital can easily explore and experience the archipelago’s rich natural heritage; there are hiking trails, campfire spots, shelters, and camping sites on many of the larger islands. Regular boat services and water buses operate between the islands and harbours in Helsinki and Espoo, and for those that prefer a more relaxed experience, there are numerous archipelago cruises and dinner cruises to choose from! For those keen to experience more remote locations, the HopOn bus service to Kimitöön and the Archipelago Sea provides convenient connections.You can also bookBaltic Sea cruises with Tallink Silja to the Estonian capital of Tallinn, or overnight cruises to Stockholm in Sweden.
Even more frequent connections exist to a large number of islands in the inner harbour, making it possible to go island hopping and experience the rich diversity of a number of different islands in a day. Two particularly worth mentioning are Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (and home to some 800 residents), and Seurasaari, the site of Finland’s largest open-air museum, and a marvelous way to encounter Finland’s folk history.
Espoo’s coast and archipelago
Espoo has a coastline some 58km long, and an idyllic archipelago that boasts more islands than Hawaii! Now, thanks to the new Helsinki metro extension that runs all the way to Matinkylä, the little known charms of Espoo’s coast and archipelago are more accessible than ever before. The coast is barely a kilometre away from many Metro stops, and there are city bikes available to rent at many stations, such as Matinkylä which is two kilometres from the coast. From there it is easy to stroll or cycle to the Waterfront Walkway, or continue your journey on a scheduled water bus to the islands in the archipelago.
Nature Attractions in Nuuksio National Park
Another popular retreat from the city is the nearby Nuuksio National Park, just 30 minutes from the city centre. Here visitors can enjoy typical Finnish scenery, with gorgeous forests, lovely lakes, and rugged paths connecting it all. Nuuksio is ideal for memorable guided excursions in the forest, picking wild berries, herbs, and mushrooms, canoeing and fishing trips, a camping break, or a longer stay in one of the many lakeside accommodations available there
Guided Tours & Activities in Nature and Archipelago
This summer, visitors will find a wider selection of archipelago tours and experiences to choose from than ever before; from basic hop-on, hop-off services between islands, to specially tailored packages for small groups. Explore islands of your own choosing at your own pace, or take a guided tour with an expert knowledgeable in local flora and fauna; take a leisurely cruise around the archipelago while enjoying a fine meal, or strap yourself in and enjoy the adrenaline rush from a speedboat ride on the open waters!
Island Attractions in Helsinki
Helsinki’s location on the coast means that it has plenty of maritime attractions for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. The capital boasts almost 100 kilometres of coastline and more than 300 islands in the archipelago, many of which are easily accessed for recreational use. Among the attractions are the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Suomenlinna, an island fortress that is home to 850 residents and one of the most popular picnic sites in the city. Sunbathers and swimmers can enjoy the long summer days on the beaches of Pihlajasaari and Uunisaari, while history buffs will find the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum fascinating. Summer visitors can sample the unique flavours of the archipelago in 10 restaurants situated on as many different islands, while families with children can enjoy a selection of sightseeing cruises or a visit to Korkeasaari, Helsinki’s island zoo.