What does Viikki offer?
You can move around Viikki on foot, by bicycle or, in winter, by skiing along the hiking trails. You can find the cartographic information boards of Vanhankaupunginlahti along the hiking trail on the Citynature.eu -website(Link leads to external service)
Explore the Viikki arboretum's plant collections along the trails. You can find the map with the trails on the arboretum website, under services and accessibility.
Hiking trails through the Herttoniemi Sports Park
Skiing trails through the Herttoniemi Sports Park
In the Viikki arboretum, in front of the birdwatching tower in Keinumäki, there are tables where you can sit down to eat. There are also tables with benches near the Hakala and Purolahti birdwatching towers.
Eateries and cafés
Unicafe Tähkä is located next to the Viikki Research Farm, near the Viikki university campus.
The former Gardenia premises now house a brewery restaurant.
Cooking shelters and fire places
There are no cooking shelters or other fire places near the Viikki bird area.
In the Viikki arboretum, near the birdwatching towers, there are toilets available from May to October. The toilets are not accessible.
Things to do in the area
Vanhankaupunginlahti is an oasis for birds in the middle of Helsinki. Watch birds from numerous observation spots. On this page, you can find a compiled list of observation spots built on the eastern side of Vanhankaupunginlahti. Other good places to observe are the sand roads bordering Viikki's field areas and the Mölylä cliff.
The Keinumäki, Hakala, Purolahti and Fastholma birdwatching towers provide a view of the landscape to the waters of Vanhankaupunginlahti. The birdwatching towers are not accessible.
Birdwatching platforms and observation decks
You can observe the life of the birds in the waters of Vanhankaupunginlahti from the accessible observation deck of Hakala. The smaller Purolahti birdwatching platform provides a view of Viikki's fields and remediated ponds for waterfowl. Birds are easy to observe even without binoculars from the storm water basins of Säynäslahdenpuro. The storm water basins are located along Viikintie, opposite Maaherranpuisto.
Fishing in the Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve is completely forbidden.
Management of waters
You can view signs of the restoration and management of the water areas for birds from routes along the edges of Vanhankaupunginlahti and from birdwatching spots. The overgrowth of habitats is prevented every year through the mechanical mowing of lake reedbeds. Animals grazing at coastal meadows also contribute to the prevention of overgrowth. In Viikki's Purolahti, you can observe the life of birds in ponds dug along Viikinoja and the hiking trail. Helsingin seudun lintutieteellinen yhdistys Tringa ry (Helsinki Region Ornithological Society) organises mowing work in the area at the end of summer.
The Viikki arboretum, which covers approximately 23 hectares, was founded in 1969 for research and educational purposes. The arboretum serves as a research and learning environment as well as an outdoor and recreational area. Admission to the arboretum is free.
Viikki Research Farm
The Viikki Research Farm serves the University of Helsinki's agricultural and forestry research and teaching. Groups, such as daycare and school groups, can visit the farm by agreement. The cows of the Viikki Research Farm are let out to graze in early May. The grazing cows can be admired from the fields next to the research farm. Viikki Research Farm also organises public events.
The Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve is the largest protected area in Helsinki. The area is a significant nesting area for aquatic and wetland birds and a resting place during migration. The reserve is also part of the Vanhankaupunginlahti Natura area.
Viikki’s fields and natural forests are an important part of the ecological whole of Vanhankaupunginlahti. The diversity of habitats enables the area to have a very rich variety of species, which is also partly complemented by the Viikki arboretum.
In addition to birds, Vanhankaupunginlahti has special value as a location for amphibians and reptiles, among others. Viikki is one of the few areas in Helsinki where moor frogs can be found.
There are several nature reserves in the Vanhankaupunginlahti area. In order to protect nature, the use of the areas has been restricted through statutory protection regulations. Read more about the restrictions in the Rules and recommendations section.
The Citynature website presents the nature of Vanhankaupunginlahti
Read more about nature and history. You can also see the map for the nature information boards and map boards added along the Vanhankaupunginlahti hiking trails.
Vanhankaupunginlahti’s latest bird sightings
See the latest bird sightings in Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti
Species observations in Viikki and Vanhankaupunginlahti
The iNaturalist application allows you to easily record your species observations on your phone. The artificial intelligence and other application users can help you to identify the species. The confirmed observations are recorded at the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF), where they serve researchers, authorities and nature enthusiasts.
Rules and regulations for nature reserves
There are several nature reserves in the Vanhankaupunginlahti area.
When in Vanhankaupunginlahti’s nature reserves, observe the following rules
- Do not move in the open water and reed areas during the snow-free season
- Do not move in the Saunalahti area between 1 March and 30 November, or at any other time by motorised means of transport
- No fishing – fishing in the Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve is completely forbidden
- Do not let dogs, cats or other pets roam free
- Do not make a fire, barbecue, or camp
- Do not damage the plants, fungi or lichens
- No motorised vehicles. You can use electronic mobility aids on the Luonnon syli nature trail and the Lammassaari boardwalk (applies to people with disabilities).
- Do not cycle on the Lammassaari boardwalk
- Do not cycle in the Mölylä forest outside of the routes
- Do not disturb wildlife or damage nests
- You are allowed to pick mushrooms and berries
See all protection regulations for nature reserves
- Conservation decision on Mölylä’s forest (in Finnish, pdf, inaccessible) (Link leads to external service)
- Conservation decision on Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti (in Finnish, pdf, inaccessible)(Link leads to external service)
In all outdoor areas, observe Everyman’s Rights and rules and move responsibly in nature:
You can move around Viikki by the Vanhankaupunginlahti bay along the hiking trails. During winter, skiing trails run along some of the hiking trails. The routes do not have lighting. Accessibility information for the area’s nature services is still incomplete. Links to accessibility information will be available here when the analysis is completed.
Services of the outdoor recreation area on the map
There are several birdwatching towers and birdwatching platforms in Viikki. Vanhankaupunginlahti can be traversed on foot, by bicycle or by skiing.