Viikki nature area

Viikki's diverse nature area is a combination of valuable bird wetlands as well as field and forest areas. Birdwatching spots offer stunning views of Vanhankaupunginlahti. The area is enlivened by the University of Helsinki's urban research farm and the arboretum with its plant collection.
Lintubongari kiikaroi lintutornista avoimelle ruovikkoiselle vesialueelle
Photo: Mira Lainiola

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)

Viikin arboretum

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. 

Viikiki arboretum(Link leads to external service)

Hiking trails through the Herttoniemi Sports Park 

Herttoniemi Sports Park jogging trail 2.2 km, location on map (Link leads to external service)

Herttoniemi Sports Park jogging trail 3.2 km, location on map (Link leads to external service)

Herttoniemi Sports Park jogging trail 4.9 km, location on map (Link leads to external service)

 

Skiing trails through the Herttoniemi Sports Park 

Herttoniemi Sports Park skiing trail 3.2 km, location on map (Link leads to external service)

Herttoniemi Sports Park skiing trail 4.9 km, location on map (Link leads to external service)

 

 

Picnic spots 

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. 

Viikki arboretum, location on map (Link leads to external service)

Hakala birdwatching tower

Purolahti birdwatching tower

Eateries and cafés 

Unicafe Tähkä is located next to the Viikki Research Farm, near the Viikki university campus.  

Unicafe Tähkä(Link leads to external service)

The former Gardenia premises now house a brewery restaurant. 

CoolHead Brew(Link leads to external service)

Cooking shelters and fire places  

There are no cooking shelters or other fire places near the Viikki bird area.  

Toilets 

In the Viikki arboretum, near the birdwatching towers, there are toilets available from May to October. The toilets are not accessible.  

Viikki arboretum, location on map (Link leads to external service)

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.  

Birdwatching towers 

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.  

Keinumäki birdwatching tower

Hakala birdwatching tower

Purolahti birdwatching tower

Fastholma birdwatching tower

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.  

Hakala birdwatching platform, accessible observation deck

Purolahti birdwatching platform

Fishing 

Fishing in the Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve is completely forbidden.  

Fishing areas and restrictions in Helsinki(Link leads to external service)

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.  

Helsinki Region Ornithological Society (in Finnish)(Link leads to external service)

Viikki arboretum

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 arboretum(Link leads to external service)

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.  

Viikki Research Farm (Link leads to external service)

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. 

Nature reserves 

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. 

Nature reserves, location on map (Link leads to external service)

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 location page(Link leads to external service)

Vanhankaupunginlahti’s latest bird sightings  

See the latest bird sightings in Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti 

Updating observation page (in Finnish)(Link leads to external service)

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.  

Species observations in Viikki and Vanhankaupunginlahti (inaturalist.laji.fi) (Link leads to external service)

Species observations in Vanhankaupunginlahti (laji.fi) (Link leads to external service)

Suokukkoja Purolahden lietteellä
Photo: Kalle Meller
Harmaahaikara lentää ruovikon yllä
Photo: Kalle Meller

Rules and regulations for nature reserves 

There are several nature reserves in the Vanhankaupunginlahti area.

Nature reserves, location on map (Link leads to external service)

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 

General rules 

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. 

The Hakala birdwatching platform is accessible

Viikki arboretum accessibility information(Link leads to external service)

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. 

Viikin ulkoilualueen palvelut kartalla. - Open larger map(Link leads to external service)

Photos of Viikki

Hakalan lintutornista kuvattua ruovikko- ja avovesimaisema
Photo: Mira Lainiola
Lintubongari kiikaroi esteettömältä lintulavalta kohti ruovikkomaisemaa
Photo: Mira Lainiola
Two skiers are looking at the snowy bird bay from the top of the cliff.
Photo: Raisa Ranta
Aikuinen ja lapset pyöräilevät ulkoilureitillä
Photo: Kalle Meller

Loppi, the island of fishing birds

Loppi, the island of fishing birds

A white-tailed eagle nested for the first time at the Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve in Helsinki in 2020. On the small island of Loppi, there is also a colony of grey herons and great cormorants. The video goes through the Viikki bird areas and discusses the nesting of species close to each other. Will the white-tailed eagle return to its old nesting place?