When you think of Helsinki, the first thing that comes to mind for most people are the top sights. The white cathedral, the rock church or the fortress island Suomenlinna attract the crowds, and of course there are good reasons for that. But it is worthwhile to go on a discovery tour through the Finnish capital off the beaten track. Below, I present my top 4 Helsinki Hidden Gems – hidden gems that not everyone knows about yet, but are guaranteed to enchant you.
The small islet of Katajanokanluoto, located between the Katajanokka peninsula and Suomenlinna, immediately captivated me on my first visit. You can get there by private boat transfer from Kauppatori (best to book online in advance). On the rocky islet, a pretty wooden building painted red and yellow awaits you, which was once a pilot house. Today you can enjoy delicious pizza from the stone oven here, or just make yourself comfortable with a cool drink on one of the benches outside on the rocks and watch the passing boats and ships. Learn more about Katajanokanluoto
Fancy almost untouched nature in the Helsinki city area? Then let’s go to Lammassaari! Just a few steps away from the rapids of Vanhankaupunginkoski, where the city of Helsinki was founded, you can explore a unique little paradise via boardwalks. Along the way, viewing platforms invite you to get an overall view. Birdsong gives an idea why this corner is also very popular among ornithologists. Lammassaari is the perfect destination if you want to take a break from city sightseeing. Learn more about Lammassaari
3. Haltialan maatila and Wanha Pehtoori
Along the Vantaanjoki River, on the border with Vantaa, Helsinki also shows its rural side. And this is presented in an exceedingly charming way on the Haltialan maatila estate, which with its red wooden houses is a popular destination for city dwellers. Visitors young and old can enjoy sheep, goats, chickens and other animals here, and well-deserved refreshments await them afterwards at the Wanha Pehtoori café-restaurant. Under the shade of the trees, the house burgers, a traditional salmon soup or cinnamon buns (korvapuusti) are sure to please. Learn more about Haltiala
4. Café Torpanranta
In the western district of Munkkiniemi, right on a bay, stands one of Helsinki’s most legendary hotels, the Hilton Kalastajatorppa. In the immediate vicinity, the Café Torpanranta with its beautiful terrace with sea view invites you to enjoy moments of pleasure. The seats are much sought after in the summer and even at the counter can sometimes form long queues. In return, guests are rewarded with a uniquely authentic atmosphere, because still not too many tourists stray here. The menu offers a great mix from delicious salads to cakes and snacks. Add to this a coffee or a craft beer of the house and the moment is perfect. Learn more about Café Torpanranta
Discover more Helsinki Hidden Gems in the book “Glücksorte in Helsinki” by René Schwarz.
From 24-27.10.23 the author is on tour in North Rhine-Westphalia with his Helsinki Evening. All info about the dates and ticket reservation.
Bring even more Helsinki vibes to your home with the brand new Finland 2024 calendar from FinnTouch. Now pre-order and until 22.10. secure a whopping 17 % VVK discount!
Text: René Schwarz
About the Author:
René Schwarz is half Finnish and grew up bilingual. The self-employed copywriter and author travels regularly in his second home country and loves to share his passion for Suomi with others. Since the beginning of 2016, he has also been doing this on his blog FinnTouch, where you can expect more Finland travel tips, interviews with Finnish artists and very personal stories, among other things. Take a look!