Monday, October 17, 2011

Parks in Helsinki

Helsinki’s geography deems this small country into a green and blue area. If you are not looking out into the blue sea, you are looking out into a green patch. Helsinki could be the “freshest” city in the world for 1/3 of its area is composed of parks. It has been said that one is never far from a park in the city.

Central Park in Helsinki is part of city’s history and townscape. Its area is around 10 square kilometers stretching from to the border of Helsinki and Vantaa in the north and Töölönlahti Bay in the south. The park is not a means to showcase beautiful flower gardens but is mostly woodland with gravel paths. The northernmost part of the park called the Paloheina forest is the city’s foremost centre for outdoor activities.

Central Park, Maunula outdoor hut with cafe
Photo by Paju, Wikimedia Commons

Kaisaniemen Puisto (Kaisaniemi Park) is 100 years and has been planned around a centrally located lake where most of the gardens are found. The park is famous for its beautiful landscape as aside from the plants and blooms in the park are various statues that complement the blooms and other plants. A coffee shop is situated at the park. The park is located along Kaisaniemi. The park is open every day. Admission is free.

Kasvitieteellinen Puutarha or the University Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular garden parks in Helsinki. The garden park is around 200 years old and is currently home to hundreds of botanical species showcased in flowerbeds. What make the botanical garden more attractive are the historic glasshouses. A gallery is situated between the small and large glasshouses and this is mainly used for short-term nature-related exhibitions. The park is open from 7am to 8pm from May to September and from 7am to 5 pm from October to April. Admission is free except for the glasshouses where €3 to €6 tickets are required. Located at 44 Unioninkatu.

Kaupungin Talvipuutarha (City Winter Gardens is located in 1 Hammarskjöldintie, Helsinki. Founded in 1893, the exotic winter garden has over 200 species of plants. Palm trees, camellas and Norfolk Island pines are found in the palm room. The cactus room has an explosion of different kinds of cacti on display. Christmas and Easter flowers bloom in time and the winter garden is never in need or want of flowering and towering plants the whole year. The rose garden outside is in full bloom during autumn and summer. The garden park is open Monday to Saturday from 12pm-3pm and on Sundays from 12 pm to 4pm. Admission is free.

Meilahden Arboretum is within walking distance of the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum and quite close to central Helsinki. As the name implies, the park houses some of the most impressive groupings of mature Finnish shrubs and trees. Bulbs and roses peak during the summer months. Location is at 2-3 Meilahdentie. Admission is free.

If would be great to rent a campervan and drive to other nature parks in Helsinki. Feeling a bit adventurous? Here are some nature parks that are worth a visit.

  • Nuuksion Kansallispuisto (Nuuksio National Park) in Nuuksio
  • Uutelan Luontopolku Park in Vuosaari
  • Kaivopuisto Park
  • Sibelius Park
  • Töölönlahti Bay

Remember to “dress” for a walk in the park!

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