Many outdoor activities in Helsinki such as paddling, bird-watching and fishing can be found as near as a 15-minute ride from the city centre by public transport. One-third of the city’s land is green areas including forest, parks, nature reserves and the large Central Park that stretches from the city centre north and far beyond the Helsinki city limits. The city controls large water areas and maintains many islands open to the public and seaside recreational areas.
The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Bicycling and Outdoor Map shows many of the area’s outdoor opportunities. The print-version of the map is available from public libraries and City of Helsinki information points including Virka Info at the City Hall.
Helsinki offers many unique outdoor experiences:
The Harakka Nature Centre is located on a protected island just a short distance away from the shores of the Kaivopuisto park. This island is a bird nesting area and home to a wide variety of flora.
The Winter Garden is a greenhouse with many exotic plants. It is open to the public throughout the year. Outside, a rose garden blooms in the summer.
Allotment gardens are areas divided into small lots with cottages and gardens. The lots are private property, but the areas are open for everybody to visit and walk around.
Many of Helsinki’s residents are dogs. The City maintains more than 80 dog parks, where dogs can run and play freely. A few beaches are dedicated to dog swimming.