Mustikkamaa, the land of blueberries. One of the most popular recreational areas in the Finnish capital area is right at the heart of Helsinki. Jogging and skiing tracks with lights, beaches and playgrounds, seascapes and heath forests – they are all at Mustikkamaa for your leisure. There are even tennis courts free of charge for those who enjoy the sport!
There are several places where you can start your tour of Mustikkamaa. A beautiful new bridge called Isoisänsilta (Grandfather bridge) was opened in 2016 from the mainland to the island, making the access significantly faster than before. We walked from the Kalasatama metro station to the bridge and across to Mustikkamaa. The lovely skyline of Helsinki is visible the entire time while you walk on the Rantaraitti (Beach route) there.
We decided to walk around the entire island counter-clockwise from the bridge: first towards the zoo entrance, then past the Edible Garden, an open community garden project. Moniheli (a multicultural integration platform) maintains it and states this about the garden: Edible Park/ Syötävä Puisto is an open community garden in Mustikkamaa, Helsinki. The Park is offering experiences in natural environment with the tastes, smells and colours of a garden. The Edible Park is an organic garden with a vegetable and herb garden and a small orchard.
Alongside the seashore are magnificent leafy trees directing the gaze on this boulevard. Forests to the left, sea to the right, and straight ahead one of the beaches dotted on the island.
It’s definitely worth your while to go walk on the sandy beach – you don’t see a lot of them in Finland. There is an actual beach meant for swimmers with lockers, lifeguards in the summer, and a cafe. The cushy-looking cliffs overlooking the beach are also popular places to spend warm summer evenings, laying on the sun-kissed smooth rocks.
When you reach the western-most tip of the island, you can see the magnificent Kulosaari Casino across the water. There is a handy bench there but once again, the rocks are popular and often more inviting, than man-made seating when you are enjoying beautiful naturescapes.
From here, the path turns inland, rising higher into the heath forests and the famous blueberry shrubs. You pass by the Mustikkamaa summer theatre, a restaurant, and a summer kiosk.
We strolled past the tennis courts and carparks to reach the northernmost tip of the island overlooking Kalasatama metro station by the water. The famous Mustikkamaan kalliot (Mustikkamaa cliffs) are on the northern side of the island: they are packed with people in the summer enjoying the warmth.
Directions to Mustikkamaa
Address: Mustikkamaa, Helsinki
How to get there: The best way to get to Mustikkamaa is to use public transport. There is some parking available for cars but due to the popularity of the area, it is best to leave your car at home.
- Car: Type Mustikkamaan parkkipaikka on your navigator. This will take you to the entrance of the island.
- Bicycle/walking: You can cycle or walk from Helsinki city centre easily by going on Unioninkatu, passing Pitkäsilta, then crossing over to Sörnäisten rantatie until you reach the cylindrical gas containers by the sea. Then walk along the seashore on Parrulaituri road until you reach the Isoisänsilta bridge.
- Public transport: There are a few places which you can use to arrive via public transport:
- Korkeasaari bus stop (bus from Kulosaari metro station) – check for timetables here.
- Isoisänsilta (map below)
Accessibility: Mustikkamaa is fully accessible to those hard of walking, people travelling with children’s buggies or those in wheelchairs.
Facilities: There is an accessible toilet at Mustikkamaanpolku 8, and a shower at the swimming area (usually open only during summers). There are sports equipment free to use by the beach. There is a special kids play area as well.
When to go: Mustikkamaa has something to offer at any time of year. There are street lights all over the island so you can enjoy it at any time of the day.
What to wear: Take your swimwear with you in the summer.