Offering amazing seaside views, windswept cliffs with crooked pine-trees and great opportunities for bird watching. Porkkalanniemi is definitely worth a visit.
Although located just an hour from Helsinki, you’ll feel like you’ve journeyed much further out into the archipelago.
The area offers various short trails that can also be combined for a longer hike. Visiting is free and the area is open to everyone. Here’s all you need to know to plan your visit!
Disclaimer for the Coronavirus Spring of 2020
As the global pandemic has turned everything upside this spring of 2020 there are a few things to keep in mind, even when you’re hiking.
With so much closed or cancelled, many of the already popular hiking spots are even more crowded than before. So remember to be extra attentive towards fellow hikers in order to avoid contact as much as possible. Make room for those hiking faster than you, wait for your turn if needed and stay at home if you have any symptoms whatsoever for the safety of everyone.
If possible try to time your visit so you avoid the rush hours. More coronavirus guidelines here.
Seaside Hiking in Porkkalanniemi
There are lots of great places to hike, but there’s something very special about seaside trails. Listening to the waves crashing into those weather-beaten, smooth cliffs, spotting various seabirds and admiring those windswept, crooked pine trees are all part of the highlights for me.
Few things can calm a stressed mind like the view out towards the sea and an uninterrupted horizon.
This is why Porkkalanniemi, the Porkkala headland in the southern part of Kirkkonummi, is one of my favourite places to go hiking in the south of Finland.
This area offers three marked trails ranging from 1,4-2,2 kilometres. By combining all of these, you can get a nice half-day hike. We did this and ended up hiking a total of around 9 kilometres.
How to Combine the Trails
As previously stated there are three trails in this area. Two of these aren’t circular, so you have to backtrack if you want to end your hike in the same place that you started. The only circular route is the 2,2 kilometres long Teleberget Trail.
We combined all three trails by starting with Vetokannaksen Taival Trail from the Vetokannas parking area. Where it ended, instead of turning back the same way, we continued along Teleberget Trail. Around halfway along this trail there’s the possibility to turn towards the tip of Porkkala along Pampskatan Pisto Trail.
At the southernmost tip of Porkkala, at the end of Pampskatan Pisto Trail, we had a short break before heading back. On our way back we finished the Teleberget Trail and then just continued along Vetokannaksen Taival all the way back to the parking lot. A perfect half-day hike!
What to Expect When Hiking in Porkkalanniemi
As already mentioned, hiking in Porkkalanniemi is all about that archipelago vibe. All three trails offer at least some glimpses of the sea. But if you have time only for one of the trails and want the best views then go with Pampskatanin Pisto Trail. This trail has the by far best views once you reach the tip of Porkkala.
Apart from offering beautiful nature and seascape this area has plenty in store for birdwatchers. During spring and autumn many migratory birds pass through, meaning lots of chances to spot different birds, like the common eider and the white-tailed sea eagle for example.
The trails go through varied terrain. Some areas you’ll walk along fairly wide gravel roads, others it’s a narrow forest path with plenty of roots to look out for. Because of the terrain, these trails might not be suitable for everyone. There’s not a lot of climbing involved so you don’t have to be super fit to hike here.
The trails are clearly marked so all in all this is a very easy place to go hiking even without previous experience.
What to Wear and Where to Stop
Parts of the trail can get wet so consider wearing hiking shoes that dry fast if it’s been raining a lot. If not, normal trainers should be just fine. As the area is located right by the sea it can get windy, so consider bringing a warm jacket or a windbreaker.
There are plenty of good spots for a picnic. I recommend the southernmost tip of Porkkala for the best views or the cliffs along Vetokannaksen Taival Trail. There are also a lot of cooking shelters along the trails as well as outhouses.
Important to Remember
With such beauty comes popularity. Every year more and more people flock to this wonderful area. Especially this coronavirus spring of 2020 Porkkalanniemi has attracted so many visitors it’s on the brink of becoming a problem.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you follow all rules and treat this natural paradise with the respect it deserves. You’d think this would go without saying, but clearly it doesn’t. Every time I’ve been to this area there have been people littering, dogs running free and so on so I’ll just state all the obvious stuff just in case you’re new to outdoors hiking in Finland.
- Don’t litter: whatever you bring into the area, make sure you take with you when you leave.
- Respect the nature. Don’t pick flowers or harm the any other plants in the area. Avoid disturbing any animals living here, including their nests.
- You’re allowed to hike with a pet, but please remember to keep it on a leash! Pets should always be kept on a leash in these kinds of areas but this is especially important during spring to make sure you don’t disturb nesting birds or any baby animals.
- Stick to the marked trails in order to avoid erosion.
- Campfires are only allowed at sites marked for the purpose and are completely restricted if there’s a forest fire warning. Keep up to date about forest fire warnings here.
- Camping for 1-2 days is allowed at sites marked for this purpose.
- More instructions and rules for visiting Porkkala here.
When to Visit Porkkalanniemi
There’s something very special about the archipelago and spring. Sure, it’s pretty during summer as well, but spring is just magical with all the birds and seeing nature just burst into life after the long winter.
In general, I’d say autumn is the most beautiful hiking season in Finland, because of the lovely autumn colours. However, Porkkalanniemi has more pine trees than deciduous trees, so I’d choose another spot to see the fall foliage at its best. The steep cliffs can also get slippery during rainy autumns and potentially be a hazard.
So in my opinion, the best time to visit this place is during spring or summer.
Weekends and other holidays (like Easter) around midday are very busy, so try to avoid these times if possible. Head here as early as possible and you might be able to wander around relatively undisturbed.
How to Get to Porkkalanniemi
Porkkalanniemi is situated in the southern part of Kirkkonummi. Kirkkonummi in turn, is to the west of Helsinki.
By car it’s around 60-90 minutes from Helsinki (depending on where your starting from). There are several different parking areas: the first one (Vetokannaksen parkkialue) is quite at the beginning of Tullandintie, but continue further along the road for the others. Once you reach the beginning of Tullandinite just follow the signs.
It’s possible to get here using public transportation, but it isn’t as convenient as one might hope. Bus 902 from Kirkkonummi train station stops within walking distance from the area, but it’s only available during weekdays. Using a combination of train and bus and travelling from Helsinki you’re looking at a minimum of 2-3 hours journey.
In other words, in case you have the option, I’d recommend travelling by car for this particular destination.
Fast Facts About Hiking in Porkkalanniemi
The most important stuff in a nutshell:
- Porkkalanniemi, the Porkkala headland, offers amazing seaside views and archipelago vibes.
- Highlights include visiting Pampskatan, the southernmost tip of the headland, spotting seabirds and admiring crooked pines.
- The area is slightly hard to reach by public transportation, so if possible I suggest arriving by car.
- There are plenty of different parking spots in the area.
- You can go for a short hike along one of the three marked trails, or combine them all for a longer hike.
- Camping is also allowed for 1-2 days at marked camping sites.
- You’ll find information boards with rules, guidelines, trails and the exact locations of camping sites, campfire sites and outhouses by the parking areas. Make sure to read them before heading out!
- Remember to respect the fragile environment of Porkkala and brush up on rules and guidelines. You’ll find them here.
- Don’t damage the nature or the animals living here and keep pets on a leash.
- It can get windy so consider bringing a windbreaker.
- I suggest packing a snack – there’s something about the smell of the sea that always makes you hungry!