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Tips for a perfect summer in Helsinki

Surely you know Finland as the picturesque Winter Wonderland that it is during the winter days. However, the Nordic country and its vibrant capital truly come to life during summer. The capital and luscious nature go hand in hand.

Finns enjoy the summer days even more after a long and cold winter, and develop a strong urge to spend time outside! Join them and experience some of Europe’s most beautiful sights in nature, take a dip into refreshing lakes surrounded by wilderness or visit legendary open air festivals.



This island is one of Finland’s cultural treasures and part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1991. Constructions of the fortress date back to 1748. What makes this maritime fortress even more special? Over the course of history, it has served in the defence of three realms under Finland, Sweden and Russia.

This unique monument of military architecture is especially enjoyable during summer days. Take a ferry from Helsinki to Suomenlinna and explore the island. Whether you’re looking to spend a fun weekend with your friends, go for a jog or learn more about Finland’s history – here you’ll find it all. During the warm summer nights, it is even possible to stay on the island until rather late at night. 

Island hopping

Thailand and Greece might come to your mind when thinking about island hopping. However, Helsinki is surrounded by a belt of more than 330 islands, each of them unique pieces of nature. Take a ferry from the market square and while you're still catching a glimpse of Helsinki's skyline, you will already have reached the first islands within a matter of 20 minutes.

Hike around Vallisaari and Lonna and pluck some of the wild raspberries, sit on the beach and relax or take a kayak tour from Pihlajasaari and Kaunissaari - the natural areas around Helsinki are the perfect versatile recreation areas and options are practically endless!

Seurasaari’s Open-Air Museum

Open air museum in Seurasaari

This museum was originally opened in 1909 and is a fun way to explore Finland’s history for visitors of all ages. The museum lies on the island of Seurasaari and consists of old, mainly wooden buildings that were relocated in the landscape full of forest from various parts of Finland, which is why the museum is often called ‘rural Finland in miniature.’

The museum displays the traditional lifestyle of rural Finland. The houses, farmsteads and manors as well as the renovated parsonage and its garden allow you to immerse yourself into the country’s history. Take a guided tour through the museum and taste some of Seuraasaari’s traditional foods at the Seurasaaren Kruunu restaurant.

During summertime, the museum also hosts several events. Ranging from arts and crafts markets, to independent tours for children and workshops for the entire family, they make Seurasaari’s Open-Air Museum a must-see activity during summer in Finland.

Visit the outdoor pools

Whenever a heatwave hits Helsinki, you are guaranteed to find the Finns taking refreshing dips into many of the natural swimming pools and spending the warm days of summer at the beach. And the pools are just as versatile as the islands around Helsinki!

One of the most popular beaches in Helsinki is Hietaranta Beach. Here you can find everything from playgrounds to beach volleyball and basketball courts. Since it is so popular, early birds will get to enjoy the beach in splendid peace and quiet.

The Kumpula outdoor swimming pool was originally built as a practice pool for the 1952 Olympics and is hence the third oldest outdoor swimming pool in the country. Kumpula district is full of idyllic greenery and surrounded by its famous wooden houses.

Are you looking for a more serene and quiet place? Discover the hidden lake of Espoo, Myllyjärvi. Around Espoo you can find several refreshing lakes surrounded by wilderness. Myllyjärvi is directly located in a nature reserve, so it is not only peaceful but also very clean and definitely worth the little hike.

Korkeasaari Zoo

Tiger in zoo

Uniquely located on the island of Korkeasaari in the Baltic Sea, this zoo is one of the top summer attractions in the city. While the zoo is open all year round, summer is certainly a wonderful time to visit here when the Finnish archipelago is covered in vibrant green nature. The zoo was established in 1889, making it one of the oldest zoos worldwide. It is only a short distance away from the city centre of Helsinki and can be easily reached by bus or ferry.

Korkeasaari Zoo is home to 150 animals and almost 1000 plant species. While you are enjoying the peace and quiet of Finnish nature around you, you can discover large Amur tigers, indigenous Finnish animals like elks, reindeers and bears or the agile snow leopards. The zoo's goal is to be a testament to the diversity of nature by conserving biodiversity and protecting endangered species.