Best Helsinki Day Trips this Summer

Day Trips from Helsinki

There are plenty of things to do in Helsinki this summer, from City funded events almost every week to plenty of quick and easy city tours to hop onto….

But if you’re looking for the real flavor of Helsinki, the paths that the locals tread, the interesting niches and gems that lie closely hidden from the Main attractions?  Look no further, we’ve compiled a list of excellent alternative Day Trips from Helsinki, that won’t leave you confused at a bus stop staring at the map!

1.  Guided City Tours:  There are a few ways you can do this;

a.  Book a guide for a couple of hours to show you the main sites in Helsinki, such as theSibelius_Finland_experience_800x500 Helsinki Cathedral, Senate Square, Harbour Market and the Sibelius Monument.  You can do this privately or arrange to join a small group tour that takes you to all of these places & can include the 1 hour long musical festival The Sibelius Experience at Helsinki’s famous MusiikiTalo (Music House) near the Helsinki Parliament Buildings.

b.  Take a bike tour with HELtours, hop on a famous Finnish JOPO bike and take the route of cyclists and locals around Helsinki.  You don’t need to be super fit to join in, the pace is tailored to the group and led by great English speaking guides.

roy-roos-porvoo-river-cityhallview

 

c.  Combine Helsinki with the Old Town of Porvoo, a 14th century trade port and of significant historical interest and a great place to get to know local crafts and antiques without the Helsinki prices

 

2.  Get out to Nature: Experience the Finnish National Parks.

Just outside of Helsinki, there are a number of National Parks.  One of the quietest and most protected is Sipoonkorpi National Park, around 35 minutes outside of the city.  There are guided walks through the park itself which is home to a number of bird species, a babbling stream running through it.  This is also the perfect opportunity to sit around an open fire, like the Finns do, and enjoy a sausage, warm drink and Finnish sweet bread “Pulla”.  An authentic Finnish tradition, it is said that just 10 minutes in the forest begins to relax even the most stressed of minds…..

During the right season, it is also possible to visit the swamp areas closeby, frequented by Elk, Deer and there has even been sightings of Lynx in the area for many years.

3.  Archipelago Adventures: Finland’s vast island system is not too far away.

IMG_9915 copy 2The Archipelago begins just outside of Helsinki to the East and the West of the city, but to reach the dense inner islands can be tricky from the city centre.  These guided Archipelago tours start by road and take guests to a rural pier deep in the Archipelago community.  Boat size ranges from a 6 birth motor boat to a 60 birth cruiser, depending on the season and size of the group, but either way, guests are taken through the islands, close to the island shores where it is possible to see the lifestyle of the local people.  Saunas that overhang the small cliff tops, houses with no running water or electricity, small log cabins and wealthy estates sit side by side enjoying Finland’s best views…

Stopping on an island to walk on the berry trail through the forest is a highlight and enjoying a light snack on the shoreside before returning to Helsinki in time for dinner.

It is also possible to include a sauna experience to this Day Trip.

4.  Finnish Food Culture:  Nordic Wild Food Philosophy.

So, many years have past since Finland has been renounced for it’s food and TIMES HAVE CHANGED!  Every culture has its faux pas of food and Finland is no exception, just look at this lovely treat from the Philippines (sorry we love your country…).

A21Dining_lohi-800x500Back to topic, Finland has come a long way and a genuine movement has taken place around food culture.  Organic produce is more readily available and restaurants are stepping up to become some of the best in Europe!  A21 Dining is no different and their newest joint venture joins a day on the Archipelago Food Trail, from Shore, to Net Fishing, to Open Sea, to Island, to Berry Trail in the Forest and back to the shore celebrates the Archipelago’s harvest of food.  Finnish people harvest wild food in their everyday lives, and now it is being celebrated with this wicked tasting menu in their small dining room.

Now you can experience the Archipelago Trail outside of Helsinki for real Experience and then enjoy the fruits of the harvest while dining in Helsinki City Centre.  The “Island to Table Experience” is available all summer long with collection right from city centre accommodation.

5.  Special arrangement Trips: Perfect for small groups, Cruise passengers or special occasions.

Although most of the trips 1-4 are done in small groups, if you’d prefer a totally privatelycongress-extra-Roinila-sailing-boat guided tour that suits your schedule, that is possible too either in Helsinki with multi language guides, including Russian, Spanish, English, German, French, Chinese & Japanese.

From Helsinki guided tours, Porvoo Visits to any of the following; fishing, baking, Art & Design Tours, Sailing the Archipelago, private sauna rental and private boating tours.

Usually these are priced per item, so getting together a small group of likeminded friends or travelers can be a good way to make it loads of fun while keeping the costs down.

6.  Get Hot!  A Sauna can complete the experience.

When one thinks of Finland, Sauna is one of the first things that might come to mind…. seasong-small-saunaFinnish people love to ‘go to sauna‘, it is not only a social activity, but can be done alone and in an almost spiritual way – cleaning the body and the mind, with no distractions.

sarah-and-paula-after-saunaDepending on whether you want a fun, social (normally always single-sex, people may take turns though) sauna where people gather in their bathing suits and towels in between sauna sessions, to swim, talk or drink (!), or whether you’d prefer the quiet reflective moment of a private sauna by the water side – it is possible.  There are city centre saunas, but we can think of better vistas than a courtyard or a road after coming out of the heat!

On an island, in the Baltic Sea Bay, in the forest or by the lake, there are saunas in almost every residential building in Finland and our collection of Manor houses, community saunas and private accommodations offer the best of sauna culture.

For more information: info@kontikifinland.com

About Kontiki Finland

Sarah - Mainly-English-Speaking-Canadian-British-Finn, UAE born. Travel, animals, children, nature, city & food enthusiast. & Tomas - Finnish born world traveller, with a love of fishing, food and fire :) LinkedIn - Sarah Coombes Google+ - Sarah KontikiFinland
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