Even though the most famous hiking trails in Finland aren’t located within the Uusimaa region in the South of Finland, there are still plenty of excellent opportunities to explore the outdoors near Helsinki. Here’s a blog post with a selection of what I think are some of the best spots to go hiking and enjoy the outdoors within the Uusimaa region. From the immensely popular woods of Nuuksio to the archipelago vibes of Porkkala – there’s something for everybody.
Important to Keep in Mind During These Coronavirus Times
First things first. Unlike many other countries, in Finland we are still allowed to enjoy the outdoors as much as we want. The Finnish government made the Uusimaa region a quarantine zone in March. Although many of us, myself included, are isolated within the zone, we can still move around freely within the area.
In order to keep it this way, it’s important to do our part to minimise contact with others to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.
With museums, bars, theatres and gyms closed many of the places mentioned in this blog post are even more popular than normally. So make sure that wherever you’re hiking or going for a walk you keep a safe distance to fellow outdoor enthusiasts.
This might mean having to step off the path, walking in line instead of next to your hiking companion or waiting for a while as others pass. In short – just pay some extra attention to others and be extra polite and considerate. Also remember to avoid cooking shelters during these times as well as public transportation.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of room outdoors so if we all follow these guidelines we can all enjoy these wonderful places in a safe way.
In case you have symptoms please stay at home for the safety of everyone.
The Serene Island of Linlo in Kirkkonummi
This small island nestled in between Upinniemi and Porkkala in Kirkkonummi offers archipelago vibes, great picnic spots and a wide range of narrow trails. The trails aren’t marked clearly, so this place is best for either more experienced hikers or visitors who are fine with just wandering around. The island is small so the risk of getting lost is minimal.
Although Linlo is an island, there’s no boat ride involved to get there as there’s a bridge over.
Linlo has plenty of parking nearby. You can also reach the island by public transportation, but it does involve some walking. However, try to avoid public transportation during these coronavirus times to help prevent spreading the virus.
The island has plenty of great cooking shelters and campfire sites as well as outhouses. These should however not be used during these times for the same reasons as above.
The Forest Trail of Health in Hyvinkää
Located around one hour from Helsinki, Hyvinkää has a lot of great hiking opportunities, in particular in the Kytäjä-Usmi recreational area. The newest addition to Hyvinkää’s outdoor trails is The Forest Trail of Health (Terveysmetsäpolku in Finnish), located within walking distance from the train station.
This trail is just 2,3 kilometres long, but with endless variety including leafy green, forest; babbling creeks and bilberry-lined duckboards it seems much longer. Unlike many trails in this post, part of this route is also accessible by wheelchair, making it a great alternative for those who are looking for an accessible place to enjoy nature.
The only downside is that since it’s so close to the city centre you can still here the sounds of traffic in the distance.
This trail is accessible by public transportation as well as by car as there’s parking nearby. I won’t repeat this every time, I promise: but try to avoid public transportation right now if possible.
The starting point for this trail is at the end of Jousikatu. You’ll find a map of the route here.
Nuuksio National Park in Espoo
The rolling hills, rich forest and beautiful lakes of Nuuksio National Park in Espoo make this place perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Nuuksio National Park offers a taste of the Finnish wilderness practically right at Helsinki’s doorstep. Within just an hour of leaving the city centre, visitors can really get the feeling of being in the middle of undisturbed nature.
Nuuksio is one of Finland’s 40 national parks and covers an area of around 50 square kilometres. You can spend anything from a couple of hours to several days hiking around.
This national park offers a wide selection of different trails, varying from easy and short to longer and more challenging.
The only downside is Nuuksio’s popularity. Being such a unique, beautiful place, yet located so close to the capital, Nuuksio appeals to all kinds of visitors looking for some outdoors fun. The ever-growing popularity has made parts of Nuuksio National Park practically impossible to visit during the most popular weekends. As long as you time your visit right in order to avoid rush hours this is still definitely worth visiting!
More information about the different trails here.
Seurasaari Island in Helsinki
Don’t want to use public transportation or go by car? Stuck in the centre of Helsinki? Fret not. Almost right in the centre of Helsinki you’ll find the beautiful Seurasaari Island.
Given its central location in the middle of Finland’s capital city, don’t expect this to be a crowd-free destination. Seurasaari attracts around 700.000 visitors annually and is especially popular during the summer season.
However, for anyone wanting to escape the concrete jungle without having to travel far Seurasaari is an excellent choice. Whether you want to learn about the history of Finnish way of life at the open-air museum, check out the nude beach or just spot swans and squirrels there’s something for everyone.
The Rantaraitti Seaside Promenade in Espoo
If you’re not really a forest-foraging outdoors enthusiast, but still want to enjoy nice weather outside the Rantaraitti Seaside Promenade in Espoo might be the perfect alternative for you.
Stretching along Espoo’s finest coastline, this 40 kilometres long gravel-promenade is the perfect alternative for those looking for a place to go for a walk with easy access by public transportation and plenty of nice cafés along the way. However due to the corona virus cafés are closed (some sell products to go though) at least until the end of May 2020 and public transportation should be avoided as previously stated. Arriving by car there’s plenty of parking for example in Mellsten in Haukilahti.
This route is also easy to walk with for example a stroller.
Highlights include both checking out the marina in Mellsten as well as the dog beach in Toppelund. I just love watching ecstatic doggies splashing in the water!
The Ponds, Lakes and Forests of Luukki in Espoo
The recreational area in Luukki has a network of different trails. I highly recommend The Trail of the Seven Ponds, an 8,6 kilometres long trail that – as the name implies – takes hikers to seven different ponds or lakes.
This trail is easy hiking, there’s a parking lot nearby as well as bus station and the trail is marked in a very clear way. In other words you won’t get lost!
For more information check out my blog post on this trail here: The Trail of The Seven Ponds – Hiking in Luukki Recreational Area
The blog post about Luukki was published last fall, so please ignore anything written about cooking shelters – as stated here several times these should be avoided right now.
The Seaside Views of Porkkala in Kirkkonummi
Dreaming of beautiful archipelago views and gazing out at the uninterrupted horizon? Then Porkkalanniemi (Porkkala headland) in Kirkkonummi might be the right place for you.
The area of Porkkalanniemi is large and offers varied terrain and amazing archipelago landscapes. There are several different shorter trails that can either be hiked individually or combined for a longer hike.
Highlights include listening to the waves crash against the rocks, spotting seabirds and enjoying a picnic while breathing in the fresh, sea-scented air.
Porkkalanniemi has plenty of cooking shelters and campfire sites as well as outhouses. However, as previously mentioned, these should not be used during the coronavirus outbreak to prevent the virus from spreading.
You’ll find information about the trails in Porkkala here.
Bird Spotting at Suomenoja Bird Pond in Espoo
Although barely even 2 kilometres long, the trail around Suomenoja Bird Pond in Espoo is definitely worth a visit.
In particular during spring, this is a haven for bird enthusiasts as thousands of birds flock to this place. If visitors are lucky enough, there’s a chance to spot several bird species that can only seldom be seen in other parts of Finland. However the in my opinion absolute highlight is spotting one of the many muskrats swimming around the pond.
In addition to spring, autumn is a great time to visit. The trail is lined with leafy trees that burst into wonderful colours by the end of September and beginning of October.
One downside is that the pond is located right next to a massive power plant, which from some angles does take away from the nature experience. However, this place still manages to be a peaceful and wonderful place to visit.
The trail is easily accessed by public transportation as well as by car. There’s parking nearby.
Hanikka Nature Trail in Espoo
Hanikka Nature Trail is around 5 kilometres long and offers both plenty of bird-watching opportunities as well as interesting historical sights and diverse nature.
This trail can’t compete with Nuuksio or Porkkala when it comes to getting that feeling of being completely surrounded by untouched nature. If you listen carefully you can still here the sounds of cars and the surrounding city. But Hanikka Nature Trail is a great alternative when you’re looking for a place to go hiking that’s close to the city centre.
Highlights include checking out the Bronze Age burial cairns.
More information here.
Roihuvuori’s Cherry Park in Helsinki
Is there anything that looks more like spring than hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom? Many people travel all the way to Japan to see this beautiful flower spectacle, but you can see it in Helsinki as well.
In Roihuvuori, located in East Helsinki, you’ll find a beautiful park with over 150 cherry trees. Every spring they burst into gorgeous pink clouds of flowers, attracting thousands of visitors.
Although spring is definitely the best time to visit, the Cherry Park with its adjacent Japanese garden is an enjoyable place to visit during the summer months as well. During autumn the cherry tree leaves take on fiery orange and red nuances – a pretty spectacular view.
The Kytäjä-Usmi Outdoor Recreation Area in Hyvinkää
Within an hour from Helsinki you’ll find the small city of Hyvinkää. At the outskirts of Hyvinkää is Kytäjä-Usmi Outdoor Recreation Area covering 20 square kilometres. Part of this includes a nature conservation area.
There are several different hiking trails to choose from ranging from around 6 kilometres up to almost 20 kilometres.
In addition to beautiful nature and varied terrain, hiking in this area gives visitors a chance to learn more about the fascinating mining history of this place. The gabbro mining days ended during WWII, but plenty of black boulders and rocks were left behind, reminding visitors of the dangerous and hard work that was once done here.
Although the area does attract visitors, it is definitely a lot more quiet than for example Nuuksio National Park, so this is a good alternative for those trying to find a place to go hiking that’s relatively crowd-free.