Helsinki, the capital of Finland, boasts unique architecture, rich culture and intriguing attractions. While sights like the Central City Library Oodi and the Ateneum Art Museum should be part of every travel itinerary, here are hidden gems you shouldn’t miss.
Get off-grid at innovative Majamaja
While many know of the beauty of Helsinki’s surrounding archipelago, few are aware of this unique way to experience it. Majamaja Helsinki Experience offers visitors the chance to enjoy an off-grid living experience just outside the city. Launched in 2019 by Finnish architect Pekka Littow, Majamaja is based around premium architecture and resource-optimised wooden buildings, combined with patented off-grid technology for green energy production and water purification. Stay there, and you’ll wake up to the peaceful sounds of seabirds, the rise of the pulsating sea and a gently whispering breeze. At night, Majamaja offers the perfect mix of coastal nature, peace and quiet and harmonious design.
Visit the Paavola oak tree in Lohja
Located just 60 km from Helsinki, Lohja boasts a quaint vintage, lovely cafés and a slower pace of life surrounded by Finland’s natural beauty. Nature trails near town offer 15 checkpoints with plenty of information on the surrounding scenery and breathtaking woods full of oak, lime, and hazel trees. You’ll also encounter a massive oak tree, Paavolan Tammi, which has a circumference of 668 cm and stands approximately 12 metres high. The tree is protected by the Nature Conservation Act, and it’s quite an impressive sight! Please remember to stay on the marked paths to protect this old tree giant.
Escape to your very own island retreat on Sisä-Hattu
If you want to be alone and take in unique views over Helsinki, this tiny island off the coast of Lauttasaari is usually deserted and unexpectedly serene. With no bridges or ferries to the island, only go if you’re prepared to get your feet wet. You’ll need to wade through shallow water at low tide to get there, but it’s worth the effort. Watch boats sail by to the mainland, spot centuries-old rock carvings made by sailors and enjoy a picnic to the sound of lapping waves, knowing you have a little corner of Helsinki all to yourself.
Nuuksio National Park
Wild Woods and Lakes on Helsinki’s Doorstep. Within easy reach of the Finnish capital you can escape into wild natural settings and enjoy typically Finnish scenery, with lovely lakes, green forests and rugged crags. Pack your backpack for a memorable family picnic or campout. The nearby Finnish Nature Centre Haltia spotlights the best of Finland’s natural treasures from across the country. Arrive by car or public transportation. Suitable for the entire family and tourists. Wheelchair access to the Haukkalampi, Kattila and Haltia areas. Marked trails and nature trails vary from easy to difficult (1.5-17km), 30km of biking trails, 22km of horse riding trails. Nuuksio has numerous services all year round: campfire sites, cooking shelters, lean-to-shelters, camping sites, dry toilets, rental huts, conference and sauna facilities and a wide range of activities for people of all ages.
The Silent People
The crowd of almost thousand figures that make up the Silent People suddenly emerges before the passing motorist like some great stroke of magic. In the morning with light behind them, this motionless army appears morose, even menacing. However, as the day progresses their countenance brightens up and with the setting of the sun they present a distincly jolly and colourful picture. When the wind blows their straw hair and clothes begin to flap rhythmically, it is as if they had suddenly sprung into life.
Luostarinmäki is the only continuous district of wooden houses that survived the fire of 1827 in Turku. These houses are over 200 years old and still standing in their original building sites. The houses have been furnished as craftsmen’s homes and workshops, representing over 30 different trades. The museum tells the story of pre-industrial urban craftsmanship. In the summertime craftsmen come to work in the workshops.
Lapland Hotels SnowVillage
Have unique arctic adventures at Snow Village! Here you will see the breathtaking constructions made of snow and ice. If you are brave enough you may spend a night in the snow suite, have a dinner at the top class ala carte restaurant or enjoy a drink served in ice glass. Or you can just marvel at the magnificent sculpture art all around the area.It is located in Western part of Finnish Lapland, in close proximity of Ylläs and Levi ski-resorts and easily reachable from the international airport of Kittilä. You are very welcome to come around and have an experience of life time!
Vanha Kauppahalli is located next to Kauppatori, Market Square, which is the most popular outdoor market in Helsinki. Vanha Kauppahalli is located in a beautiful historic building. Visitors to the city will easily find a great selection of fresh local ingredients to cook with. Need a break from walking around and exploring? Then stop by for a coffee and cinnamon roll. The market is open every day.
Though Very Few Wooden Structures from the Iron Age have survived in Finland, at this site you can see what a trading village from that time might have looked like. It is situated on Pukkisaari, a tiny island in Seurasaarenselkä Bay in Helsinki. The village was built in 1999 by Sommelo ry, a non-profit organization dedicated to the research of Finnish Iron Age history. It is a faithful reproduction of a typical trading settlement from the first millennia. The buildings on Pukkisaari are not restorations of specific buildings that once stood here, but rather representations of the construction techniques used in Finland and nearby areas at the end of the Iron Age. There is a large house with a central stove, a small cooking hut made out of thin spruce logs, a workshop, and more.
Cruise over to the Helsinki Biennial
The Helsinki Biennial is an international art fair that brings outstanding contemporary art to the Helsinki archipelago. While the next event isn’t happening until 2023, 2021’s open-air installations were a big hit with attendees. Time magazine even postulated that Finland, an oft-recognised environmental leader, could become an emerging hotspot for art as well. You can access the island of Vallisaari by ferry from several points on the mainland or by private boat. The JT-Line-operated ferry option from Hakaniemi even offers the chance to engage in a bit of island-hopping along the way, as the boat stops in Hakaniemi, Kruunuvuorenranta, Vasikkasaari, Vallisaari and Lonna during the summer months. Please note that people who use wheelchairs or rolling walkers might want to bring an assistant when traveling to Vallisaari. The next Helsinki Biennial takes place in 2023.
Seurassari is a special location that’s known by both tourists and locals alike. This island plays home to an open-air history museum with a myriad of 19th-century buildings to explore. You can find tradespeople displaying their crafts and giving demonstrations of the simplicity of life during this period of Finland’s past. There’s also a popular restaurant with gorgeous views of the water.
However, if you truly want to experience all that Seurassari has to offer, you must really explore the natural side of the island. On this peaceful island, you can find many quiet places to commune with nature. Try taking a reflective walk along the coastline, or you can also just sit on the rocks along the shore and watch the world float by. This is the perfect place for a much-needed escape!