As a last explosion of sunshine before autumn comes, sunflowers burst into bloom in August. Several cities in Finland grow sunflower fields purely for the joy of their citizens. When the sunflowers bloom, they form bright yellow carpets that certainly cheer up the landscape. Not only are the sunflower fields a feast for the eyes. Citizens are even allowed to pick flowers for free! However, once you see how pretty the fields are, you might not have the heart to cut down these beautiful flowers. Here’s all you need to know when planning your visit to the yellow fields!
A Gift from Helsinki to its People
For over ten years, the city of Helsinki has delighted its citizens by planting sunflowers on large fields in different parts of the city. Once the sunflowers blossom – usually around August, sometimes as late as September – they turn into wonderful splashes of bright yellow, guaranteed to turn any frown into a smile.
The most amazing part is that not only is admiring these lovely floral masterpieces free, you can even pick sunflowers for free!
How to Find Helsinki’s Sunflower Fields
Helsinki’s sunflower fields are located in northern Helsinki, near Vantaa. The most well known one is at Haltiala, a domestic animal farm and petting zoo. The other one is located not far from Haltiala, in Tuomarinkylä.
From the centre of Helsinki it’s a 40-minute bus ride to both. For example buses 614 and 615 stop nearby. Both buses depart from Helsinki Central Railway Station.
If you’re driving, there’s plenty of parking alternatives at both locations. Haltiala has its own parking lot and if you’re heading for the fields by Tuomarinkylä you can park nearby, for example from ABC Tuomarinkylä gas station it’s just a short walk.
Remember that not all sunflower fields you see in the capital region are city-fields. Picking sunflowers is okay on at least these two I’ve listed, but there are several privately owned fields as well. For example the sunflowers on the sunflower field near Urheilupuisto in Espoo aren’t free, but the price is pretty decent. For just one euro you can pick four flowers.
How to Visit the Sunflower Fields
The sunflower field in Tuomarinkylä is basically just a field by a road and visiting doesn’t require a lot of guiding. You just show up whenever you please and can walk about freely. Haltiala is open from 7 am to 11 pm.
Although there aren’t any specific rules or regulations, it’s important to remember to try to be as careful as possible while walking around. It would be a shame to squish those beautiful flowers, wouldn’t it?
As hundreds of people visit the fields you’ll probably spot some paths that have formed thanks to previous visitors. Treading along these will minimise the risk of trampling sunflowers and also be a bit tidier.
The fields are, well, fields. They aren’t tidy. Remember to consider this while selecting your clothing. Odds are whatever you’re wearing will be covered in burrs and bugs when you head home!
When it comes to clothing, the most important part is a smart pair of shoes – wearing high heels is definitely a no-no.
Picking Flowers – Don’t Be Too Greedy
Some might feel they don’t have the heart to cut down those beautiful sunflowers. Others will envision wonderful bouquets cheering up their homes and find it impossible to resist picking the flowers.
If you represent the latter, it’s important to remember that the flowers are absolutely not for commercial purposes and that you should only pick a small amount.
There’s been news circulating about people showing up in large vans and filling them with huge amounts of flowers. This is not cool. The flowers are there to cheer up everyone, not just a handful of people, so make sure you leave some for the next visitors as well.
Don’t forget to bring a pair of scissors with you, as the stems are pretty thick.
The huge yellow sunflowers are irresistible for several different kinds of bugs. A single sunflower can be home to tens – maybe even hundreds – of bugs. Before you hop into your car or the bus, make sure you check the flowers for bugs, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises while for example driving on the highway.
When to Visit the Sunflower Fields
The best time to visit the sunflower fields is obviously when the sunflowers bloom. Usually this occurs sometime during early to late August, sometimes even as late as September.
The city of Helsinki usually shares information about the status of the sunflowers on its social media channels. Towards the end of July, start keeping an eye out for updates about the fields.
Once the sunflowers are at their best, fields can occasionally get crowded. However when we visited the sunflower field in Tuomarinkylä around 8 pm we had the place almost to ourselves.
If you wish to have the field to yourself, I suggest avoiding weekends if possible.
Here are the most important facts in a nutshell:
- Several cities offer the possibility to admire and pick sunflowers for free.
- In Helsinki there are free sunflower fields in Haltiala and in Tuomarinkylä.
- Haltiala is located at Laamannintie 17 and the sunflower fields in Tuomarinkylä are located near the south end of Vanha Tuusulantie (close to ABC Tuomarinkylä).
- Tread carefully so you don’t trample the pretty flowers.
- Bring a pair of scissors if you’re planning on picking flowers.
- A good pair of shoes is also essential.
- Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Watch out for bugs, check your flowers for bugs before hopping into the car or bus.