The Helsinki Central Library Oodi, which has been named the world’s best new public library, is also a great place to start and end your run. Afterwards, you can recover with a light snack and refreshments on Oodi’s amazing terrace. Here are five urban jogging routes of varying distances and styles that will take you from the front of the library to the shores of the Baltic Sea!
Around Töölönlahti bay, approx. 3 km
The easiest route from Oodi is to jog past Finlandia Hall designed by legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and run all the way around the Töölönlahti bay – a distance of a little more than 2 kilometres. If you circle the bay counterclockwise, you will tested by the steep hill in the Linnunlaulu “Birdsong” wooden villa district, whereas in the clockwise direction you get an easier but longer challenge descending the hill. If one loop of the bay feels too short, you can repeat it as many times as you like; ten loops is equivalent to a half marathon and 21 to a full marathon.
Tip: Look for the albino duck that lives in the Töölönlahti bay; it can often be spotted in the reeds near the corner of Finlandia Hall
Route: Oodi, Finlandia Hall, Töölönlahti bay, Oodi
Over the Linnunlaulu bridge to the Tokoinranta shoreline, approx. 5 km
You can enjoy a nice five-kilometre jog by heading past Finlandia Hall and turning right when you get to the Töölönlahti bay towards the lovely steep uphill in the Linnunlaulu district. After the hill, take a sharp left and up a small incline towards the bridge that crosses the railway lines. On the other side of the bridge there is a nice descent towards the Tokoinranta shoreline, after which you turn right and follow the waterfront to Siltasaari. You then get to the legendary Pitkäsilta bridge that separates the Kallio district from the city centre. Turn right after the bridge and job along the water and railway lines back towards Linnunlaulu. Climb the steep hill up to the bridge over the railway lines and retrace your footsteps back past the bay to Oodi.
Tip: From Siltasaari you can get a good view of the grenade scars on the Pitkänsilta bridge dating back to the final phases of the Finnish Civil War in April 1918
Route: Oodi, Finlandia Hall, Töölönlahti bay, Linnunlaulu district, Linnunlaulu bridge, Tokoinranta shoreline, Siltasaari district, Pitkäsilta bridge, Kaisaniemi shoreline, Linnunlaulu district, Töölönlahtibay, Oodi.
Through the lively district of Kallio, approx. 10 km
Jogging through the Kallio district is a great way to see lots of life if you are not bothered by a few traffic lights and the asphalt. In addition to experiencing authentic Helsinki attitudes, you can also enjoy the waterfront.
Head from Oodi to Finlandia Hall and then either clockwise or counterclockwise around the Töölönlahti bay to the Linnunlaulu district, cross the bridge over the railway lines and along the Kaisaniemi shoreline towards the Kruununhaka district. When you get to the Pitkäsilta bridge, you will have to cross Unioninkatu at the lights, but after that you can jog for several kilometres along the Baltic Sea without having to stop. Follow the Siltavuorenranta shoreline and then cross the Hakaniemi bridge. Jog along the Merihaka shoreline to Sörnäisten rantatie, which you can cross by bridge right after Merihaka or at the lights by the old Suvilahti power station. From Sörnäisten rantatie, turn left to the long uphill on Pääskylänkatu, then cross Hämeentie at the lights after the hill and jog along the lively street Aleksis Kiven katu from end to end, crossing both Fleminginkatu and Sturenkatu at the lights.
From Aleksis Kiven katu, jog through the underpass to the railway line and follow it to the Alppipuisto park and all the way back to Töölönlahti and Oodi.
Tip: The legendary karaoke bar Populus on Aleksis Kiven katu is now open around the clock, and there is always a fun atmosphere and colourful singer on the terrace regardless of the time!
Tip 2: The Kulttuurisauna “Culture Sauna” in the Merihaka district is a great place to stop for a sauna and even a dip in the Baltic Sea!
Route: Oodi, Finlandia Hall, Linnunlaulu district, Linnunlaulu bridge, Kaisaniemi shoreline, Siltavuorenranta shoreline, Hakaniemi bridge, Merihaka district, Sörnäisten rantatie, Pääskylänkatu, Aleksis Kiven katu, Tallikatu, Alppipuisto park, Töölönlahti bay, Oodi
By the water in Kaivopuisto, Katajanokka and the Market Square, approx. 15 km
From Oodi, head off between the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Helsinki Music Centre to the Baana pedestrian and bicycle corridor, which will take you through the underpass under Mechelininkatu all the way to the corner of the Ruoholahti and Jätkäsaari districts. Cross the street at the lights at Jätkäsaarenlaituri and head along the Hietalahti shoreline towards the rapidly developing Telakkaranta district and onwards towards the Kaivopuisto park. Depending on the construction work, the route will take you either through the Punavuori district or along the waterfront towards the Eiranranta shoreline and Kaivopuisto. Continue along the water all the way around the park and past the Olympic Terminal and Old Market Hall towards the lively Market Square. Thread your way through the tourists towards Allas Sea Pool and the Katajanokka district, where you can jog for another 3 kilometres along the water past the Viking Line terminals, the icebreakers and Katajanokka Kasino towards the converted redbrick warehouses at Kanavaranta. Cross the Rakkaudensilta “Love Bridge” and turn right along the Pohjoisranta shoreline. Do a lap of honour around the tiny island of Tervasaari, then continue under the Hakaniemi bridge along the Siltavuorenranta shoreline and across Unioninkatu towards the Kaisaniemi shoreline. Continue along the railway lines and up the steep uphill to the Linnunlaulu bridge, after which you can job the last stretch along the bay and back to Oodi.
Tip: The mailboxes that serve the fleet of icebreakers in Katajanokka are well worth a photo, and you are very much allowed to stop for refreshments at one of the cafés at Kanavaranta or Allas Sea Pool.
Route: Oodi, Baana, Hietalahti district, Telakkaranta shoreline, Eiranranta shoreline, Kaivopuisto park, Olympic Terminal, Market Suare, Allas Sea Pool, Katajanokka district, Kanavaranta, Pohjoisranta, Tervasaari island, Siltavuorenranta shoreline, Kaisaniemi shoreline, Linnunlaulu bridge, Töölönlahti bay, Oodi
Along the coastline past the Sibelius Monument and President’s Official Residence, approx. 20 km
This long 20-kilometre coastline route takes you past the official residences of the Finnish Prime Minister and the Finnish President, the Sibelius Monument and pretty forested areas and tiny islands.
From Oodi, head off between the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Helsinki Music Centre to the Baana pedestrian and bicycle corridor, which will take you through the underpass under Mechelininkatu all the way to the Ruoholahti district and Itämerenkatu. Jog through the underpass under Porkkalankatu and continue towards the historic Lapinlahti Hospital designed by C. L. Engel, the original architect of Helsinki. Jog along the shoreline past the Hietaniemi Cemetery, Hietaranta Beach and the mini-golf course in Taivallahti to Merikannontie. Continue past Café Regata and Sibelius Park towards Kesäranta, the official residence of the Finnish Prime Minister, and then through the Humallahdenpuisto park towards the villas in the Meilahti district and the recreational island of Seurasaari. Turn left on Seurasaarentie and jog down the hill through the trees to Mäntyniemi, the official residence of the Finnish President, and onwards to Tamminiemi, the former residence of Finnish President Urho Kekkonen. From there, turn right towards the Munkkiniemi district to Meilahdentie, then cross the bridge and turn left to the Ramsaynranta shoreline. Continue to jog along Kuusisaarentie past the foreign embassies to the island of Lehtisaari, then turn immediately after the Pyhän Laurin puisto park onto the forest path to Lehtisaarentie and onwards to the island of Kaskisaari. Lehtisaarentie turns into Kaskisaarentie, which you follow over the bridge to Katajanharjuniemi and along Luoteisväylä towards the Lauttasaari sports field. Then follow the gravel road along the shoreline towards Maamolahdentie, which takes you over the Länsiväylä highway. Then turn left onto Pohjoiskaari and continue onwards to Lauttasaarentie, over the Lauttasaari bridge and back to the Ruoholahti district. Jog through Ruoholahti back to the Baana pedestrian and bicycle corridor, which takes you back to Oodi. Do one more lap of honour around the Töölönlahti and you will have done a full 20 kilometres.
Tip: In the Humallahdenpuisto park next to Kesäranta, the official residence of the Finnish Prime Minister, you will find a Bronze Age burial site. Café Regatta in turn is one of the most unique cafés in Helsinki. You may well spot the Finnish President and his wife walking their dog along the shoreline.
Route: Oodi, Baana, Ruoholahti district, Lapinlahti, Hietaniemi Cemetery, Hietaniemi shoreline, Taivallahti, Merikannontie, Kesäranta, Meilahti district, Mäntyniemi, Tamminiemi, Kuusisaari, Lehtisaari, Kaskisaari, Laukkaluoto, Lauttasaari sports field, Lauttasaari bridge, Ruoholahti, Baana, Töölönlahti bay, Oodi.