Helsinki combines peace of nature and urban buzz

Large crowds gather during the evening at Flow Festival underneath dozens of paper lamps. A few large trees surround the area under a deep blue night's sky.
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Interesting urban spaces, diverse nature and a wide offering of events are good starting points for feeling good and having fun in Finland’s capital. Only in Helsinki can you enjoy a breakfast on the archipelago, bike to a forest to pick berries and return in the evening to hear your favourite band at Flow Festival.

Did you know that 34 percent of Helsinki is covered in trees? In all Finnish forests (aside from nature conservation areas) the so-called “everyman's right” holds sway. This means that everyone is free to roam the forests and wilderness regardless of who owns the land. This is no less true in the forests of the capital region. You can read more about the right here.

According to everyman's right, anyone is allowed to pick berries and mushrooms up to a certain reasonable limit, but if you want to camp you need the permission of the landowner. It does not cost anything to roam in the forests, so long as the privacy of residential areas is respected. Fishing is an exception to the right as it requires a licence that can be applied for locally. 

Nearby islands and nature reserves are popular destinations

The city of Helsinki offers plentiful options for outdoor recreation, from parks to sports fields and beaches, forests and the charming archipelago.

The Helsinki waters have many islands of different sizes for day trips. For instance, visitors to Uunisaari will find a sauna and a restaurant right at the heart of the island. Vallisaari has untamed nature surrounded by the sea. If you walk along the beach areas, you can spot the national bird of Finland, the white whooper swan, gliding through the sea with its cygnets in tow. 

Signs showing the way to National Parks
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The national park of Nuuksio is located in Espoo and can be easily accessed from downtown Helsinki. The park is a haven for mushroom picking, hiking and spending a night in nature.

If you love animals, you can head to the Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm, or to the museum island of Seurasaari to see the squirrels in their daily endeavours. The popular Haltiala farm is in Vantaa. There you can encounter newborn lambs, chickens, or cows by a beautiful field of sunflowers. 

Sauna culture is deeply rooted in Finns  

Helsinki is surrounded by the sea to the south, and untouched nature is never more than an hour's drive in any other direction. The distances are short and the city's event offering is lively: it is possible to enjoy the silence of clean nature and a city festival in the same day. 

To shake out your tired legs after roaming the forests, head to the outdoor pools and sauna of the Allas Sea Pool by the Market Square, or the architectural treat Löyly, a public sauna complex in the western downtown area. The city also has other public saunas that are worth a visit and open to all. In winter, ice swimming is a popular activity. If you can summon up the courage, you can have a go at this in, for example, Katajanokka, Marjaniemenranta or Munkkiniemi.

 

To find out more about Helsinki's gorgeous nature click here!

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Interesting urban spaces, diverse nature and a wide offering of events are good starting points for feeling good and having fun in Finland’s capital.