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Guide to Helsinki Outdoors

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Finland is full of great places for enjoying nature and wildlife, and many of these spots provide a nice city break or a breath of fresh air during your stay in Helsinki. Get inspired by my top ten spots to experience the great outdoors. Whether you're traveling solo, as a family, or with friends, you're guaranteed to have a great time!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveler
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

10 Places

5 City Tips

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10 Places

Nuuksio National Park

Nature & Wildlife Tours, Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Forests, National Parks

Sea Fortress Suomenlinna

Historic Sites, Military Bases & Facilities, Castles, Military Museums

Korkeasaari Zoo

Parks, Zoos

Seurasaari Island and Open-Air Museum

History Museums, Historic Sites

Pihlajasaari Recreational Park

Islands, Parks

SEA LIFE Helsinki

Aquariums

Observatory Hill (Tahtitorninmaki)

Lookouts, Parks

Malminkartano Hill

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Ruoholahti Canal

Bodies of Water

Toolo Bay (Toolonlahti)

Historic Walking Areas

Barbara A's City Tips

  • From bikes and public transportation (such as trams) to rental cars and taxis, you have plenty of options for getting around. It all depends on your budget and how much time you have.
  • If you want a quieter Helsinki experience, be sure to wander the streets during the week or on Saturdays, because Sunday is the day when everybody is out!
  • Keep your eyes wide open as you wander the city's streets. There are many amazing structures and lots of unique architectural styles to discover — and you don't want to miss all the details.
  • When eating out, try the reindeer and sahti! You won't believe how delicious they are.
  • Since Helsinki is a really expensive city, it is wise to invest in a Helsinki Card which gives you free access to select museums as well as discounts at a variety of attractions.
  • Nuuksio National Park
    Nature & Wildlife Tours, Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Forests, National Parks
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    Nuuksio National Park has something for everyone, from nature lovers to the super active to those just seeking a little peace and quiet. Enjoy some time at the saunas, pick berries in the forest, or explore the hiking trails and canoeing routes. In winter you can even take a reindeer ride. Nothing compares to seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, surrounded by the whitest snow you can imagine.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The park is just an hour away from the city, and easy to reach by bus.
    • Be sure to wear your warmest clothes, and good hiking boots for all the walking you'll do!
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 10 Tours in Espoo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Real forest and over 100 km of trails within 30 min from Helsinki 01/16/2019
    • Stunningly Beautiful Park 01/09/2019
    • Nuuksio National Park
    Address:
    Haukkalammentie
    Espoo
    Finland
    Phone:
    +358 40 1636200
    Other:
  • Sea Fortress Suomenlinna
    Historic Sites, Military Bases & Facilities, Castles, Military Museums
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    Don't even think of missing this UNESCO World Heritage Site! Kids and adults alike will have a great time exploring every tunnel and hidden corner of the fortress, and the museum goes into detail about the history behind this beautiful spot. There are also a variety of hikes to choose from, plus lovely picnic areas if you're visiting during the warmer months.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The fortress is only 15 minutes away from Helsinki, and the ferry ride is lovely.
    • The fortress is open year-round.
    • Be sure to keep an eye out for events that might be happening at Suomenlinna during your trip.
    • Don't forget to pay a visit to the coffee shop for a relaxing hot drink, and maybe a delicious lunch.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Therein much to see 01/21/2019
    • Suomenlinna visit 01/20/2019
    • Sea Fortress Suomenlinna
    Address:
    Suomenlinna C1
    Helsinki
    Finland
    Phone:
    +358 29 5338410
    Other:
  • Korkeasaari Zoo
    Parks, Zoos
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    At the oldest and most visited zoo in Helsinki, you can discover more than 200 different species of animal across a variety of habitats, from Arctic tundra to tropical forest. There are also a number of animals in the zoo's endangered species program, as well as around 1,000 types of plants. This is a great opportunity for kids and adults alike to learn more about the planet and all the living beings that inhabit it.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Open Monday-Sunday from 10am-4pm (or 6pm depending on the season).
    • It is very easy to get here by ferry, bus, or car. Check the website for recommended routes.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Friendly Zoo Keepers 01/13/2019
    • Go for the tiger and roar with the lions! 12/10/2018
    • Korkeasaari Zoo
    Address:
    Mustikkamaanpolku 12
    Helsinki 00570
    Finland
    Phone:
    +358 50 3525989
    Price range:
    $16 - $16
    Other:
  • Seurasaari Island and Open-Air Museum
    History Museums, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    If you are looking to learn more about the folklore, history, and traditions of Finland, then Seurasaari Island is a great place to start. No matter what the season, this traditional outdoor area and museum is always beautiful, and you're bound to enjoy exploring the delights on offer here.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Check online to see what exhibitions are showing on the island during your visit. Workshops are also hosted here quite often.
    • While on the island, don't forget to visit the building that used to be President Urho Kekkonen's official residence (now known as the Tamminiemi Museum.)
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • 🐿 Paradise 01/17/2019
    • A beautiful place to visit even in winter when the opilen air museum is closed 01/15/2019
    • Seurasaari Island and Open-Air Museum
    Address:
    Seurasaari
    Helsinki 00250
    Finland
    Phone:
    +358 9 40509660
    Other:
  • Pihlajasaari Recreational Park
    Islands, Parks
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    Pihlajasaari Recreational Park beautiful spot to visit during the summer. Head to the villa here and take a seat on the restaurant terrace, from which you'll get some of the best sea views Helsinki has to offer. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to take a swim or relax at the beach before or after your meal. There are also plenty of sports on offer, for those looking to get more active.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The villa's opening and closing times change depending on the season. Check online for the latest operating hours.
    • Just 10 minutes away from Kaivopuisto, the park can be easily reached by boat (either your own or the public ferry).
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    • Beautiful Island .. 09/13/2018
    • Like a Astrid Lindgren novel - so beautiful! 07/13/2018
    • Pihlajasaari Recreational Park
    Phone:
    +358 9 630065
    Other:
  • SEA LIFE Helsinki
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    Sea Life Helsinki is a fantastic place where kids and adults alike will have a great time learning all about the marine life of Europe. The aquarium also promotes various conservation programs, making it a good way to get thinking about (or active in) the environment.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It is open daily throughout the year, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • Check for upcoming events on the aquarium website.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #45 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice visit 12/20/2018
    • It deserves your time! 12/15/2018
    • SEA LIFE Helsinki
    Address:
    Tivolitie 10
    Helsinki 00510
    Finland
    Phone:
    +358 9 5658200
    Price range:
    $20 - $20
    Hours:
    Sun - Tue
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Wed
    10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Thu - Fri
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Sat
    10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Other:
  • Observatory Hill (Tahtitorninmaki)
    Lookouts, Parks
    Barbara A Says:

    Another calm and beautiful place to visit year-round, Observatory Hill offers some of the most interesting and beautiful views — and as it is not a touristy area, you're guaranteed a peaceful time here. Enjoy simply walking around the area, and keep an eye out for 'The Shipwrecked,' a beautiful sculpture located in the grounds.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to wear warm clothes and good walking shoes.
    • This is also a nice picnic spot, with beautiful views overlooking the bay.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #84 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    • Great harbour and city views. 11/19/2018
    • For the harbour view!! 11/09/2018
    • Observatory Hill (Tahtitorninmaki)
    Address:
    uphill from Market Square
    Kopernikuksentie 1
    Helsinki
    Finland
  • Malminkartano Hill
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Barbara A Says:

    In the middle of the city you can find this artificial hill, which offers one of the best of views in the city center. It's certainly worth the walk/run/climb up!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are three ways to reach the hill's summit: two are natural paths which you can walk or run up, and the other is via some wooden stairs.
    • This is a nice spot for a little picnic.
    • This is a great place to watch the fireworks on New Year's Eve.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #98 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    • Versatile hill 12/04/2018
    • Good view point 07/05/2018
    • Malminkartano Hill
    Address:
    Naboangsvagen
    Helsinki 00410
    Finland
  • Ruoholahti Canal
    Bodies of Water
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    The canal is perfect for long walks, bike rides, or simply admiring the views, which are as beautiful early in the morning as they are at night. You'll find several spots to grab a drink or a snack along the way.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Be sure to visit Faro, where you can sit on the terrace to enjoy one of the greatest sea views in the area.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #146 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    • Beautiful area in Helsinki 05/27/2018
    • New districts on the sea 12/26/2016
    • Ruoholahti Canal
  • Toolo Bay (Toolonlahti)
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Barbara A Says:

    A perfect spot to visit no matter what the season, Toolo Bay is great for everything from peaceful walks, to running and cycling. And don't forget to pay a visit to the local coffee shops after you've had a lovely time admiring the area!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Birdwatchers: don't forget your binoculars!
    • The Winter Garden, also located here, has hundreds of plants on display.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 272 things to do in Helsinki
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice for walking, running or biking 11/11/2018
    • Runner's paradise (2.2 km around) 10/14/2018
    • Toolo Bay (Toolonlahti)
    Address:
    Karamzininranta
    Helsinki 00100
    Finland
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Other:
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