The peaceful recreational area with its old trees is attractive to many birds, offering visitors the chance to observe birds and squirrels at close range. Seurasaari is also Helsinki’s most diverse bat habitat. In addition to sheltered hunting spots, the area has plenty of uninhabited buildings offering daytime hiding places for bats.
Seurasaari’s shores and islets are used as nesting grounds by a variety of birds. The island’s southern shore and islet are a conservation area; between 1 April and 15 August, visitors are prohibited from coming ashore or moving within 25 metres of the islet. The island houses two protected natural monuments: the second-thickest unbifurcated Scots pine in the Helsinki region, with an anthill at the base that has spread into the cracks in the tree, and the giant’s kettle near the festival grounds.
Seurasaari is known for its Midsummer celebrations, and is one of the most popular destinations in Helsinki for Sunday strolls. For several decades, the island was also the daily jogging destination of former President Urho Kekkonen.
Circle the island of Seurasaari on a Seurasaari tour like President Kekkonen used to do every morning back in his day. Stop every now and then to smell the sea and listen to the birds singing. The tour is approximately 3.1 km in length.
The route includes some stairs, but they can be bypassed by going around if necessary.
The City of Helsinki purchased the island of Seurasaari, which was called Fölis at the time, in the 1870s. Prior to this the island belonged to Meilahti Farm and was used as a cow pasturage. In 1889, a folk park was established in Seurasaari, and in 1909 an open-air museum was established in the north-east part of the island. The open-air museum houses a collection of typical wooden buildings from the different provinces of Finland, from the late 17th century to the 20th century.
In the following years the area underwent significant construction, including a road network, a steam ship pier, an alcohol-free restaurant, wells, stairs and lookout spots as well as two dance halls. The buildings were designed by architect Frithiof Mieritz. The bridge was completed in 1892.
The small island of Pukkisaari located next to Seurasaari also houses an iron age trading village.
Learn more about the nature of Seurasaari at citynature.eu.
How to get there
The journey from Helsinki city centre takes around 20 minutes by bus. Get directions.