As we are writing this blog post, the world is struggling with a pandemic caused by COVID-19. The currently worst affected place in Finland is the Uusimaa region in the south: it is probable that Uusimaa will be cut off at least for a while and travel to/from restricted. So, what to do when kids are out of kindergarten or school, you are stuck with bored teens, and you want everyone to release their stress outdoors? Fear not! We have collected some outdoor places at Uusimaa for you to try out.
Where is Uusimaa and what to do there?
Lean-tos and cooking facilities
Porkkalanniemi: Visiting Porkkala is the perfect way to get to know a lot about Finnish nature as well as Finnish history in Kirkkonummi municipality. The recently improved hiking areas and cooking areas have even more accessibility for more people to enjoy a place where beautiful seaside cliffs and pine forests meet the glistening sea.
Uutela: Uutela is an urban outdoors area in the eastern part of Helsinki easily accessible to everyone. Whether you look for more challenge on your trail running or hiking, if you want to go bird-watching, or whether you just want to barbecue some goodies for yourself on an open barbecue area, Uutela is the place to go.
Kaitalampi: Kaitalampi in Espoo is the perfect forest area to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital area in Finland. Only about 35 minutes from Helsinki, Kaitalampi lake in Luukki recreation area provides nice trails and cooking shelters for spending a day outdoors.
Rissla: Fiskars is a village in Raseborg in western Uusimaa. The Rissla forest trail is approximately 4 kilometers long, going from the village to the Rissla waterfall and back. There is a nice lean-to shelter along the nature trail near the Rissla dam. Another shorter and easier nature trail called Tree Species Path departs behind Fiskars’ Wärdshuset. It highlights different tree species that are found in forests and parks.
Hiking, trekking, and adventuring
Sipoonkorpi National Park: One of the more popular areas in Uusimaa, Sipoonkorpi has two great hikes. The Byabäcken nature trail (marked with orange diamonds) in the north part of the national park is 1,4 km long and easy trail highlighting the main features of this heritage landscape. Kalkinpolttajanpolku nature trail (marked with green and white) is 4,8 km long circle trail in the south part through demanding terrain and past Kalkkiruukki lean-to shelter and campfire site.
The Kopparnäs-Störsvik recreation area: At Kirkkonummi, about 50 kilometres west of Helsinki, is one of the biggest outdoor destinations in the Western Uusimaa region. Over 15 kilometres of unbuilt shoreline make it a perfect destination for day trips by the sea. The Western part and the more popular Kopparnäs is a combination of often dry pine forests, rocks and cliffs with a beautiful view to the archipelago.
Hanikka glacial erratic: The humongous Hanikka glacial erratic stands, as it has for the past 12 000 years, firmly in place among some pine trees. The boulder can be explored and the nearby woods offer some great access to easy paths and even some duckboards.
Högberget erosion cave: This womb-like cave was created during the last Ice Age when melting waters rushed in and carved this unique vertical giant’s cauldron into the granite. The cave itself is not huge, about 6,5m long, 2m tall, and about 1m wide. It’s possible this place has been worshiped due to its Mother Earth-shape so if you visit, respect the wonder of nature.
Mustavuori: A shorter trek that requires adults to supervise their children a bit more carefully. Mustavuori (Black Mountain) is a place where history and natural wonders have been forever mixed together. It is one of the most exciting places outdoors Helsinki has, and it is perfectly suited for adventurers of all ages. It has to be said at this stage that children must not run around in the area because the super-exciting caves and trenches do appear out of nowhere.
Talvia giant’s kettles: Talvia giant’s kettles in Lohja are easy to reach by car as these glacier potholes are located approximately 400 meters from the parking lot. Be aware that these giant’s kettles are not fenced so be careful when visiting the location with small kids.
Short, easy walks with loads to see
Myllykoski: Myllykoski rapids and Koskikara nature trail in the Nurmijärvi municipality are the perfect day trip destination near Finland’s capital area especially if you are into birdwatching. The Myllykoski rapids in Vantaajoki river are impressive, and there are several longer and shorter routes that are accessible to children of all ages. Great markers point out species of flora and fauna around you.
Vattuniemi: Vattuniemi (Raspberry headland) is a peninsula at the southernmost tip of Lauttasaari island, and a very popular urban recreational area for the locals. There is a sandy beach, trails for walkers and joggers, perfect spots for fishing, and plenty of historical sights to admire. You can even do some ship-spotting if you’re interested in it!
Espoon Rantaraitti: Rantaraitti in Espoo, Finland’s second biggest city, literally has it all: possibilities for cycling, running and walking, the sea and forests, gentle paved and accessible paths as well as demanding trails in the adjoining forests, fishing and bird watching opportunities, benches for a quick break but also cafés for longer pauses. The Rantaraitti streches 40km (25mi) along the shores of Espoo but you can enjoy any part of it, short or long, and arrive by car, public transport, bike, and even by boat!
Mustikkamaa: 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! Lots of places for children and easily accessible to all.
Gallträsk lakeside: Kauniainen, Finland’s smallest municipality, only 6km2 (2,3mi2) in diameter, has a lovely small lake area that is perfectly suitable for a lazy stroll to enjoy the absolutely huge spruce trees and leafy green oak trees. The path winds down past beautiful century-old art nouveau villas, which are historically and culturally very special. Walking around lake on the the 1km path is best done quietly, enjoying the massive old trees.