You don’t have to venture far from the Finnish capital to find animal farms and nature trails. On the outskirts of the urban area, and even in the middle of it, you can find places to escape the traffic. Here you can enjoy the peace of nature, cute farm animals and lovely old buildings, as well as attractive cafés and restaurants. In fact, you can easily spend an entire day taking it all in.
Finland is famous for its forests and nature, and Helsinki is no exception. Long walking trails lead to and from many farms, along which you can enjoy the scenery in all seasons. Many of these destinations also have cafés or restaurants that are open all year round.
Most of these farm and nature experiences are also free of charge. In addition, courses for children and adults are often organised at farms and nature centres, providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy the animals and learn about them at the same time!
Enjoy a day trip in the middle of your busy week
Farms and nature destinations are lovely places to visit any time, and in Helsinki they are so close that you can enjoy a relaxing day trip even in the middle of your busy week. It’s also a great chance for the kids to play outdoors and meet all the animals on the farm and in the nature.
Many of these destinations also have nice swimming beaches, lovely lawns for picnics and invigorating walking trails. It’s worth finding out about all the opportunities in advance so that you can bring with the right supplies. Even if you don’t pack a picnic, many places also have a café or restaurant in case you get hungry.
All of the farm and nature destinations listed below are easy to get to by public transport, on foot or by bicycle; most farms have plenty of parking not only for cars but also for bikes.
Haltiala Farm is the perfect place to enjoy the genuine Finnish countryside not far from the city. It also has lots of farm animals to entertain the kids, including cows, sheep, pigs and chickens.
From summer to autumn, the farm animals can be seen outside in the farmyard. At other times of the year, the sheep, pigs and chickens spend their time indoors, where they can also be visited from time to time.
Many events are organised at Haltiala Farm, especially around Christmas, Shrovetide and Easter. Visitors are also served all year round by the Wanha Pehtoori restaurant.
In addition to traditional grains, Haltiala Farm also cultivates flowers that can be picked free of charge in July and August. The sunflower field is particularly popular and very pretty at the end of summer.
Helsinki Farm is owned and operated by the City of Helsinki. Admission is free of charge to visitors during opening hours, and it can also be rented for private events.
Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm
Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm is another countryside destination where you can enjoy the rural scenery, beautiful nature and traditional farm animals. You can say hi to the horses, sheep, rabbits, cows, chickens and even miniature pigs, but only young people participating in organised activities get to feed and pet them.
Fallkulla is situated in Malmi, and in summertime visitors can buy snacks and refreshments from the Kilikuppila café. There are also picnic tables in the farmyard where you can enjoy your own snacks in a pleasant setting, as well as a pretty playground where kids can play among the miniature log buildings.
Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm is a service location of the City of Helsinki Culture and Leisure Division’s Youth Services, where young people between the ages of 9 and 17 can take part in courses and activities. They can also help out with the farm work, taking care of the animals and gardening.
Tuomarinkylä Manor is a farm and riding centre where you can admire the pretty surroundings and horses. Helsinki’s Central Park also begins nearby, offering endless walking opportunities. There is plenty to explore for adults and kids alike, including Lystikukkula, a hill with historic trenches and home to many bird species. The Tapaninvainio swimming beach on the Vantaanjoki river is also not far away.
The Annan Kartano restaurant serves visitors to Tuomarinkylä Manor all year round, and in summertime it also has a lovely terrace. The buildings in the area also house a number of boutiques and Klementinan Galleria, which hosts exhibitions.
Seurasaari is a favourite recreational island for locals and visitors, and it is also home to the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum. You can get to the island by crossing the pretty white pedestrian bridge, from where you can admire the swans. The swimming beaches at Seurasaari are popular, as are the walking paths that circle the island and, of course, the nature. At the centre of the island, you will find the pretty Festival Ground.
Seurasaari is open all year round, but some of the museum buildings are open only in during the summer season. At the Suomenlinna Open-Air Museum, you can get a feel for the traditional Finnish way of life. The buildings are from the 17th to 20th centuries and come from all over Finland.
Café Mieritz serves visitors near the entrance to Seurasaari, and there is also an open-air swimming pool and saunas. The Festival Ground has public grilling areas, where you can grill your own sausages and enjoy a picnic. You can also purchase grilling supplies from the adjacent grill.
Many events are held at Seurasaari, including Easter and Midsummer bonfires, as well as a popular Christmas Path.
The island of Mustasaari is a lovely destination, especially with kids. You can admire Helsinki’s maritime scenery on the short ferry ride to the island, and when you get there, you might even see sheep running freely.
Mustasaari is open to the public from the beginning of June to the middle of August, and it can also be booked for private events at other times of the year. You can get to the island by ferry from Taivallahti or your own boat. The ferry ride is a fun experience in itself, especially if you can get a seat on the upper deck!
Visitors to the island can enjoy lunch, coffee and snacks at the Kanttiini café. In summertime, you can also pet the sheep, bunnies and chickens on the island. If it gets too hot, you can cool off at the shallow beach, which is also suitable for small children. You can relax by the sea on the nice big lawn, and the kids can play on the climbing frame. There is even a public sauna, but remember to sign up in advance.
Mustasaari is also open on in May and August for events and groups, as is the public sauna.
Lammassaari (and Kuusiluoto)
The island of Lammassaari is known for its duckboards, high reeds and beautiful walking paths. The island is especially pretty in summertime, but even on cold winter days, the frozen nature soothes the mind. Although the name Lammassaari means “Sheep Island” in Finnish, sheep can't be found here but on the nearby Kuusiluoto island instead (in summertime). Lammassaari itself is a great spot for birdwatching.
Lammassaari is situated near the Vanhankaupunginkoski rapids in Arabianranta. You can get to the island by walking along the duckboards, along which you can read about all the different bird species in the area. There are several birdwatching towers on the island that you can climb up to enjoy the views. You may very well bump into birdwatchers, and if you own a pair of binoculars, you should definitely bring them with you.
Many migratory birds nest in the area, and you might be able to see grey heron nests in the trees on the adjacent island. In the summer of 2020, you could even see white-tailed sea eagles – a rare sight so close to the city centre!
Lammassaari is a protected nature reserve, so remember to respect the bird habitats and nature. There are also private cottages in the area, so stick to the marked paths.
The adjacent Kuusiluoto island is home to sheep in summertime. The local Vanhankaupunginlahti Culture and Ecology Club (VKEK) organises activities on the island, or you can simply go there for a picnic and to spend the day among the sheep.
You can also enjoy great food nearby at Koskenranta. In addition, several food stalls can be found in summertime on Jokisuuntie, close to the start of the duckboards leading to Lammassaari