Nature and National Parks close to Helsinki

One of the best things about living in Helsinki is the proximity to nature. Helsinki is surrounded by forests boasts many city parks, and is close to water – and close to some gorgeous natural parks! Nature is treasured in Finland, with many Finns venturing out to their cabins every weekend during summer. Nature is also a great way to combat any university-induced stress.  A good idea is to bring food and water, and to have a picnic. Nothing beats a relaxing lunch with a scenic view. So grab your friends and your new classmates, check the weather forecast and go explore! I can personally recommend these 3 natural parks, all easily reachable from Helsinki centre. As winter is here and snow will start falling soon, don’t forget to bring warm clothes and proper footwear!

Nuuksio National Park

“How to get there”-suggestion: bus 244 from Espoon keskus or 238 from Leppävaara. Get off at Siikaniemi, and you’re right by one of the entrances to the park! Located in HSL zone C.

Probably the most famous day trip from Helsinki, Nuuksio is a gorgeous natural park just a short ride from Espoo. Nuuksio has a couple of trails, the yellow trail Korpinkierros (roughly 7km) being the easiest to hike. There are a couple of lakes with good picture spots, and the biggest lake has a fireplace and good rocks for enjoying a picnic!

Usually, the trails will be icy a few weeks after the snow has disappeared in the city, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear if you go between the start of the snow (usually December-January) and the “final melting” (anything from early April till mid May). Some of the paths are steep, and going up and down icy trails is not always super fun!

Sipoonkorpi National Park

“How to get there”-suggestion: bus 739 from the Central Railway Station, get off at Kuusijärvi – good place to start! Located in HSL zone C.

More of a hidden gem than Nuuksio. Sipoonkorpi is very big, and has a lot of different trails. Doing research before going to find the best trails and hikes is worth the effort, to make sure you know where to go upon arrival. The park is way bigger than Nuuksio, so if you want to make the most of your visit and cover as many of the beautiful spots, spend some time looking up the places and how to get there. The park has many entrances, and some busses only go to the south, and some only to the north – but everywhere you go, south or north, you’ll have plenty of mushrooms to pick, pretty lakes, and magical fairyland type forests.  

Vallisaari Island

How to get there: Ferry only operates in the summer months, every day from 1 May to 30 September. Ferry leaves from Market Square, next to the route ferry to Suomenlinna.

Many know of Suomenlinna, but fewer know that the surrounding islands are also worth a visit. Vallisaari in particular is very beautiful! The 10€ island hopping pass will allow you to jump on a off the ferry circling to all three island. Many people start at Suomenlinna and then go on to Vallisaari.

Vallisaari consists of two islands, easily explored in a couple of hours. Beautiful nature, the shortest nature trail in Helsinki, a fireplace by the lake and plenty of good spots overlooking the ocean. Definitely worth a visit!

All photos my own  – sunshine not guaranteed! 😊