Talosaari is located at the Östersundom district of Helsinki, about 18km from downtown. It has four different protected nature areas, and the recreation area itself was created on the lands of an old manor. The area has varying terrain from green meadows and leafy trees to lichen-covered jagged rocks and deep forests. There is also a beachy area where you can dip your toes into the Baltic Sea or bask in the sun on billowy beach rocks. Those who enjoy bird-watching can appreciate the wetlands by the Torpviken bay.
We checked out Talosaari on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The longest route took two adults about 1h 15min to complete. There were simply too many mosquitoes so we couldn’t stop. We are sure we would have been sucked dry if we had.
Three routes to choose from
Talosaari has at least three hiking routes. They all start from the same trailhead by the stables and follow the same road for 1km by the sea shore. It is easy to choose which route to take depending on who you are with. As Talosaari has a riding stable, some of the trails are used by riders but you can also walk on them. Just make sure not to freak out if a horse suddenly appears in front of you. Also remember that there is a possibility for snakes and ticks in this area. Another reminder regarding the horses: do not touch the horses or go near their pens.
Accessible and flat 2km route
The gentlest route is the “yellow route”, which goes along a beautiful meadow. It is a flat and well-surfaced gravel road, and you will definitely enjoy the lovely leafy canopy of mature trees. The route is P-shaped, ending at a beachy area by the sea. There are flat rocks you can use for a picnic spot and some boat-spotting. There is also a more forested area with better views over the bay.
Moderate 3km hiking route
The shorter moderate route is the “orange route”. It veers off from the yellow route in two places. First there is a big sign pointing uphill, which is definitely the easiest way to find the correct route.
The other way is to go all the way to the sea where the orange route dives into the woods. This route is more demanding because it has lots of roots and requires hikers to climb up and down a few times. There are also some pebble beaches you may have to walk across depending on the condition of the trail.
The route turns back by four wooden posts but the route seemed to be quite muddy. From this end, it was also slightly difficult to find the correct path in the forest. It may be easiest to take the first turn uphill on this track from the signpost mid-way to the sea.
Moderate 4km hiking route
The longer moderate route is the “orange and green route”. Same as before, you follow the yellow route to the sea and then dive into the woods. Instead of going back by the wooden posts, you walk forward.
Even after no rain, the trail is muddy so be prepared to be creative if you want to keep your shoes clean. There are areas with some simple duckboards in place.
The simple trail goes up and down in the forest, and even crosses some lovely meadows. The problem with meadows by the sea is that there are usually a lot of ticks there. Make sure you check for ticks as soon as you get out of the forest.
Eventually, it joins up with a wider riding trail across a tiny ditch. We didn’t feel like jumping over the ditch and just continued on the forest trail until it joined the riding trail further on. If you still have energy, you can do another loop around to the sea before heading back down towards the stables.
Torppa villa, birds, and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
No matter which route you choose, you will pass by the Torppa villa. Torppa actually means a croft house, so this villa is too fancy to suit its name. The original villa dates back to the mid-19th century. Torppa was rented by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation in 1986, and it can be rented out to members.
The area around Torppa villa is great for bird-watching. There are a multitude of birds in the area. Especially various woodpecker species call this home: there are grey-headed woodpeckers but also black woodpeckers and great spotted woodpeckers. There have also been sightings of white-backed woodpeckers which are rare in Finland. Hawks and ospreys have their territories at Talosaari, too.
How to get there: Talosaari recreation area starts at Talosaarentie 280, Helsinki.
- Car: Type Talosaaren ulkoilualue on your navigator.
- Bicycle: You can cycle to the site but you have to share the road with cars.
- Public transport: The closest bus stop is Talosaarentie. The buses to Talosaari depart from Itäkeskus, check out timetables here. You will have to walk about 2,8km from the bus stop to Talosaari recreation area.
Accessibility: Talosaari is open at all times. The easy route is suitable for all ages.
Facilities: There are no facilities in the area. There is a large free parking area by the stables.
When to go: We recommend visiting this place at any time of the year.
What to wear: Sensible shoes and mosquito repellent are good on the moderate trails. The easy trail doesn’t require any special equipment.
While you are in the area, check out the Mustavuori area or the Kasakallio Bronze Age heap tombs.