Top 8 things to do in Helsinki Autumn

Töölönlahti syksyllä
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The international perception of Finland has long been that of a cold country, with endless winters. Though it might be the stereotype, it really isn’t true. The residents of Helsinki enjoy the seasonal changes and all that they have to offer. Autumn especially is a time of the year when Helsinki transforms into a cozy city with colourful foliage and knitwear weather.

There are excellent opportunities to make the most of the season and cherish everything that the city has to offer during the autumn months.

1. Go hiking and enjoy the foliage at Uutela Nature park

The park comprises of sea shores, forests, swamps and meadows, making it an ideal place for hiking. It is the largest and most naturally diversified recreational area in East Helsinki. Due to the abundance of greenery it makes for an ideal place to appreciate all the varying colours the foliage is capable of exuding. The area also boasts of old summer houses, as well as historically important features and grazing lands of Skata Farm. The nature trail at Uutela consists of two walking tours of differing length forming a figure 8 pattern, and if you needed any further encouragement then guess what the park is an ideal location for birdwatching (the tips might be geared towards for spring but they work just as well for autumn). Of course there is no shortage of places where the foliage can be enjoyed, click here to discover more places!

2. Fishing the Baltic Herring

There is no snobbery against any particular fish in Finnish culture yet autumn in Helsinki is synonymous with the Baltic Herring. One of the longest ongoing event traditions in Finland is the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market. It has been held annually since 1743. If you want you can celebrate herring as a sustainable and tasty food choice by either buying it at the market or then go fishing for your dinner. Herring fishing with a rig is a popular activity on the Lauttasaari bridge.

3. Ever been on a ferry admiring the foliage

The Finnish appreciation isn’t exclusive to Instagram posts but Helsinkians revel in the beauty of this season by taking ferry rides to nearby islands in order to best enjoy the nature. Ferries and water buses to Suomenlinna and Lonna islands depart from the Helsinki Market Square. You might also want to check out various sightseeing cruises that are usually available until the early October. The autumn time in Helsinki's archipelago is an incredibly beautiful and unforgettable experience. 

4. Spend a day by the seaside

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean picnic season must end. The aforementioned foliage, or ‘Ruska’, as we call it in Finnish livens up the city. While the period is relatively shortlived and sandwiched between the heat of the summer and cold possibly snowy months of winter it is the one time of the year when nature becomes the canvas and allows you to spot all the colours of a rainbow at one glance. Thus setting up a picnic alongside a blue sea while the autumn sun reflects on all the reds, yellows, orange leaves is paramount. Enjoy the fresh air, as you honker down and bite into a cardamom spiced pulla and drink some strong hot Finnish coffee. Ideal spots for such an experience include, Töölönlahti, Tokoinranta, Aurinkolahti Beach and Kaivopuisto.

5. Wilderness Canoeing  and cottage retreat at Nuuksio

The Nuuksio National Park is an exceptional nature sanctuary in the Helsinki region. During the summer and autumn months you have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed wilderness canoeing trip that takes you to scenic wilderness lakes and peaceful forests in Nuuksio National Park. If it is an authentic cottage life you would like to experience then how about rent one at Nuuksio. Hawkhill at the Nuuksio National Park allows you to enjoy a traditional Finnish cottage by a peaceful forest lake. Located just 45 minutes from central Helsinki the cottages are located in the vast wilderness in a secluded, private, and peaceful woodland setting. The cottages give you access to saunas with lake views where you can take a dip afterwards. While there, remember to go mushroom foraging and berry picking, treats that you enjoy by the fire side later.

6. Enjoy a hot drink and snuggle up with a book

There are activities that are best enjoyed in autumn or as we call it, sweater season. How does a mug of hot chocolate and a night in with a good book sound to you? There is no shortage of libraries in Helsinki, ranging from modern architecture masterpieces to stately tribute to Art Nouveau. Surely you'll find something to engross yourself in. But if you'd rather enjoy a hot drink by the fireplace and tune into an audiobook, that can be easily arranged too!

7. Unwind and relax in a sauna

There is an array of public saunas all over Helsinki, that cater to varying tastes. Whether you are looking for a marine spa and an oasis of urban culture right at the heart of the city, or a sauna in a modern neighbourhood that serves as a combination of a relaxing sauna and a restaurant, you'll find it all. Public saunas are a somewhat unique experience in Helsinki, and cooling off in a fresh autumn air is something you might not want to miss.

8. Enjoy the carnival of light festival at the Linnanmäki Amusement Park

Every year the summer season at Linnanmäki winds down with a light festival. This year it will be celebrated between 13-23 October. This incredible display of lights, illumination, and fireworks is the perfect send off to summer. During these 10 days the amusement park is lit up with dazzling lights, every inch of the park is decorated and the pièce de résistance are the epic fireworks that illuminate the sky.

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The residents of Helsinki enjoy the seasonal changes and all that they have to offer. Autumn especially is a time of the year when Helsinki transforms into a cozy city with colourful foliage and knitwear weather.