Top tips for admiring the autumn foliage in Helsinki

Autumn leaves in Suomenlinna
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Helsinki is definitely at its most colourful in October, when the trees explode in brilliant yellow, oranges and reds. To admire the foliage in Finland you really don’t need to travel all the way up to Lapland – just open up your eyes and mind and enjoy the urban nature!

The autumn foliage in Helsinki usually peaks during the first week of October, but any sunny day in the first half of the month will be perfect. The sunnier and cooler it is around the end of September, the more impressive the foliage will be. Regardless of the temperature, trees begin to prepare for the winter at the same time each year when the length of the day corresponds to the conditions in their native habitats.

Maple trees are the most dependable when it comes to showing off their impressive colours, but other hardwoods like aspens also have beautiful foliage. The colours last throughout Octobers, and after the final leaves have fallen from the trees you can still admire the red rowanberries and the white catkins of the rare bay willows in the forests.

The best weather for enjoying the foliage is obviously a sunny day, which really brings out the yellow colours, but really you can take a walk among the trees in any weather. Just head outside, look up and discover the colours of nature throughout the city. You can enjoy the foliage throughout Helsinki, but here are our six favourite places!

1. Töölönlahti 

The best places to see the foliage in the city centre are in the parks, especially those around the Töölönlahti bay. Linnunlaulutie, the road that passes through the “Birdsong” district of wooden villas, has lots of maple trees, and from there can continue your walk around the entire bay. 

2. Eläintarhanlahti and Kaisaniemenlahti

In the Kallio and Hakaniemi districts you can enjoy the foliage by walking along the bays towards Kaisaniemi Park and from there under the trees along the Tokoinranta shoreline back to Hakaniemi. Evening walks among the autumn leaves are particularly romantic! 

3. Meilahti Arboretum 

The most impressive foliage in West Helsinki can be found among the exotic hardwoods at the Meilahti Arboretum. The botanical garden was founded on land belonging to Meilahti Manor in a valley that now lies between the roads Johannesbergintie and Meilahdentie. Covering an area of three hectares, the botanical garden has 300 trees and shrubs that present a rainbow of colours in autumn! 

4. Viikki Arboretum

The best place for foliage in East Helsinki in turn is the Viikki Arboretum. This botanical garden can be visited all year round but is especially attractive in spring and autumn. The trees here are arranged geographically, and the Asian section in particular is well worth a visit. While you are in this part of town, it is also worth checking out some of the manor house gardens! 

5. Niskala Arboretum and Haltiala 

To the north of the city centre you can head to the Old Town Rapids and walk along the Vantaa River all the way to Haltiala. There you will find the Niskala Arboretum, and of course along the way you can admire all the deciduous trees along the river banks. The Haltiala Farm too is well worth a visit! 

6. Keskuspuisto – Helsinki’s Central Park 

If you want to admire the foliage in the most authentic Finnish setting, then head for the forests of Keskuspuisto. Walk along the paths and venture off into the woods, where you can also discover the colours of the blueberries, bilberries, grasses and bracken. The forest floor is particularly colourful if there is frost at the start of October!

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Helsinki is definitely at its most colourful in October, when the trees explode in brilliant yellow, oranges and reds.