Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beaches in Helsinki

There are still a lot of people who think that the weather in Finland in general and Helsinki in particular is just too cold for swimming. On the contrary. Helsinki has surprisingly warm summers and with more than 300 islands off Helsinki and a coastline of about 100 kilometres, surely the city has a lot to offer in terms of beaches.

The Finns love the beach. A favourite among locals is the Hietaniemi Beach or Hietsu as the locals say. This is the most popular beach in the city mainly because of its proximity to the centre of Helsinki. There is beach volleyball in the area and other beach amenities. Near the beach is Sibelius Park. Other beaches in proximity to Hietsu are the beaches of Munkkiniemi and Mustikkamaa. A trip to Mustikkamaa beach could be combined with a trip to Helsinki Zoo.

If you are touring Helsinki in a campervan you can park in Rastila Caravan Park and hit the beach of Rastila. Summer and winter swimming is offered in Rastila beach. Facilities include cabins, saunas, showers, children’s playground and restaurants.

Panorama of Aurinkolahti beach
Photo by kallerna, Wikimedia Commons

Suomenlinna is home to a fortress that dates back to the 18th century. There are six small islands and surrounded by rocky shores. The beaches are a mixture of rocks and sand so there really is no place to stretch and sunbathe. However, the views from those rocky shores are worth the trip.

There are beaches east of Helsinki and savvy travellers opt for these peaceful beaches with beautiful ridges. Kallithea and Laajasalo are great choices more so for those who want spacious beaches with a spectacular view of the archipelago.

West of Helsinki is the beautiful beach of Very. The beach has facilities for surfing, volleyball and golfing on top of a great sandy beach for sunbathing. The beach is located on the outskirts of Pori which is about 1.5 hours from Tampere. The beaches of Helsinki are not found in seashores alone as there are four beaches along the Vantaa River one of which is the Pikkukoski. It is interesting to note that dogs are not allowed in public beaches but there are places that do allow dogs such as in Tervasaari Island.
Hietaniemi beach
Photo by Miksa76, Wikimedia Commons

Other beaches in and around Helsinki are:
  • Aurinkolahti
  • Furuvik
  • Hevossalmi
  • Hietaranta
  • Jollas
  • Kallahden kainalo
  • Kallahdenniemi
  • Kivinokka
  • Laajasalo
  • Lauttasaari Kasinoranta
  • Lauttasaari outdoor recreation area
  • Lehtisaari
  • Malmi
  • Marjaniemi
  • Pakila
  • Pihlajasaari
  • Porvariskuninkaanpuisto
  • Pukinmäki
  • Puotila
  • Seurasaari
  • Seurasaari Uimala
  • Uunisaari
  • Tuorinniemi
Helsinki is also famous for its nudist beaches. Nudism is not uncommon in Finland because it is an accepted practice when enjoying the benefits of a sauna or steam bath. Seurasaari Nude beach offers separate beaches for men and women. The Pihlajasaari beach is near Helsinki and is a unisex nudist beach. The beach here is great for sunbathing but a bit rocky for swimming. The Yvteri beach is another unisex nudist beach. The beach here is great for swimming and sunbathing. If you feel that getting naked in a beach is too much for you to handle, there is the Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall right in the center of Helsinki where swimsuits are not required. Swim time for men and women are different.

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