From a ravine to a rose garden and Venus to a waterfall – you can find both surprising and astonishing places in and around Helsinki that are perfect destinations, even for experienced adventurers. To find these places, however, you have to know where to look. Here’s a list of some of the most amazing natural attractions in the Finnish capital!
Solar system in Pajamäki
In the Pajamäki district you will find the centre of our solar system. An exact model of our solar system has been erected, presenting the sun and all the planets a billion times smaller than their actual size but in the correct proportions and distances relative to each other. In other words, one millimetre in the model is equal to a thousand kilometres. You can explore the sun and nearby planets on foot, but to see the entire solar system it is better to take a bike. You should also bring a pair of binoculars with you, as you can see the sun from all of the outer planets.
Patterimäki Park, Pajamäki (Sun), Google maps coordinates: 60.221, 24.8554
Map of the Solar system
Ravine in Kaivopuisto
Did you know that there is narrow ravine in Kaivopuisto, the popular park on the southern peninsula of the city centre? The natural monument can be found close to the observatory, yet most people walk past without even noticing it. The width of the ravine is between 50 and 70 centimetres, so it is just wide enough for an adult to walk through. Steps have been made in the base of the ravine, so you can climb up through the gap between the rocks to get to the observatory. What makes this place even more special is that the ravine was the first protected natural monument in Finland.
Rose Garden in Meilahti
At the Meilahti Arboretum you will find a splendid rose garden that is open to the public. The Meilahti Rosarium has over a hundred species of Finnish shrub roses and European historic roses. The best time to visit is in July, when most of the roses are in bloom, but there is also plenty to admire in June and August. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to explore both the rosarium and the arboretum.
Waterfall in Strömberg Park
Few people, locals included, know that there is a real waterfall located in Helsinki. The biggest natural waterfall in the entire metropolitan area can be found in Strömberg Park in the PItäjänmäki district. The waterfall has a drop of three metres and can be found in the middle of what is considered one of the prettiest parks in Helsinki. You can climb up stone steps to get to the top of the waterfall, and there is a bridge at the bottom where you can stand and admire the view. The sight is even more spectacular in wintertime, when the ice forms beautiful natural shapes across the falls.
Giant’s kettles in Pihlajamäki
Millennia ago the forces of nature carved out two deep holes in the granite in what is now the Pihlajamäki district. Referred to as “giant’s kettles”, the holes in Pihlajamäki are even more remarkable than most other giant’s kettles, since they were formed much earlier than the last Ice Age – at least 50,000 years ago and perhaps even 100,000 years ago! The bigger of the two giant’s kettles in Pihlajamäki is 8.45 metres deep and the smaller one 3.2 metres deep.
Rhododendrons in Haaga
Rhododendron Park in Haaga is already popular among locals, but it’s a place that others too, even from far away, should definitely visit. Covering an area of eight hectares, the park is full of enormous rhododendron bushes, creating an otherworldly sight when they blossom in early June. At other times of the year too, the park offers wonderful scents and a unique atmosphere – like a slice of the rain forest in the heart of the city.