SPORTS AND OUTDOOR RECREATION
The Central Park has about 100 km of hiking trails and jogging paths; some of them are used in winter as ski trails, while others are cleared hiking trails. The lighted trails run from Laakso through Pirkkola and Paloheinä all the way to Pitkäkoski. North of the extensive Töölönlahti sports complex – Töölö Sports Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Swimming Stadium, Football Stadium, Helsinki Icehall – is the actual “gateway” to the park. Through the Central Park, you can reach many other districts of the city by walking or cycling.
From Töölönlahti, the Central Park continues to the Olympic Stadium, the heart of Finnish sports. The surroundings of the Stadium, the playing fields and the sports halls offer many opportunities for different types of sports. A new football arena has been built behind the old ice hockey arena, and the renovated Swimming Stadium is a great place to swim in the summer. Records are still being broken at the old Eläintarha sports field. Reaching a height of 72 metres, the tower of the Olympic Stadium offers superb vistas over the Central Park towards the north.
– City Winter Garden
– Swimming Stadium
Stadium (In Finnish)
– Olympic Stadium
The Laakso riding field is located close to Aurora Hospital on the
northern side of Nordenskiöldinkatu.
Next to the riding field is a children's traffic town run by the Helsinki City Youth Department. Riding tracks from Laakso and Ruskeasuo criss-cross the terrain.
– Children's Traffic Town
At the Ruskeasuo sports park you will find a field for ball games that is used as an ice rink in winter. The sports hall at Ruskeasuo has facilities for handball, badminton, tennis, table tennis, boxing, and fitness training. There is also archery range at Ruskeasuo. The Ruskeasuo Sports Park’s services also include riding fields and tracks as well as a stable.
– Ruskeasuo sports park
Maunula Hiking Lodge
The Maunula hiking lodge is situated on the north side of Metsäläntie. Helsingin Latu ry runs the lodge and its café.
– Maunula hiking lodge (In Finnish)
A 1.5 km sawdust jogging route runs near the lodge. In winter, the route serves as a trail for classical and freestyle skiing.
Covering 66 hectares of wooded terrain with hiking trails, sports fields and buildings, the Pirkkola Sports Park is located near the midway point of the Central Park and constitutes its functional centre.
The Pirkkola sports park is a sports and recreation centre in a natural setting; the facilities include an indoor swimming pool, a large hall for ball sports, two indoor skating rinks and spacious physical fitness facilities.
The Pirkkola swimming hall is open for swimmers as well as those wishing to take a sauna, and it’s nice to pop into the cafe. Marked hiking trails and jogging tracks – linking Pirkkola with Laakso, Paloheinä and Pitkäkoski – protect the natural surroundings from wear and tear.
– Pirkkola sports park
- Ball courts: handball, basketball, volleyball and badminton
- Ice rinks: ice hockey, figure skating, rink bandy, ringette
- Swimming hall and fitness facilities. Summer sunbathing possible in connection with swimming.
- Sports field:
fields for ball games, used as ice rinks in winter
- Jogging tracks:
- sawdust surface 2,930 m / in winter ski trail (classical and freestyle)
- cinder surface 2,930 m / in winter cleared hiking route
- Children’s open-air swimming pool and Pirkkola “Plotti”
The northernmost part of the Central Park begins at the Paloheinä hiking lodge and continues all the way to the border with Vantaa. The lodge is an excellent support base for park users.
Near the lodge, there are a cross-country ski centre, sawdust surfaced jogging trails (1.8 km, 3.0 km, 5.2 km, 7.5 km, in winter used for classical and freestyle ski trails), a trail for skiers with dogs, roller ski track, public golf course, and an artificial hill (rising to 57 m above sea level) with a children's ski land and lighted ski and sled slopes.
At the cross-country ski centre, Suomen Latu ry has a ski rental, repair, and waxing service point.
The nature of the Paloheinä and Haltiala areas can be appreciated along the Haltiavuori Luontopolku and Metsäpolku nature trails. A full-sized cinder surfaced football field has been completed for the area.
Paloheinä is also a popular competition venue; many contest events are held there each year in cross-country running, orienteering, and skiing. In the winter, Paloheinä has a ski slope and the city’s best sledding hill. The fell-like slope is 120-m long and 38-m high.
– Paloheinä hiking lodge and other services
– Suomen Latu Service Point
The entire Haltiala district is like a picture-postcard of the traditional Finnish rural landscape. In winter, the fields of the Haltiala Farm are criss-crossed by ski trails; in summer they are filled with planted flowers that city residents can pick for their own use.
The Haltiala primeval forest, the Niskala Arboretum (founded 1906–1917) and the rapids and deciduous woods at Pitkäkoski and Ruutinkoski are nature protection areas. Besides fishing sites, there is a canoe route on the River Vantaa.
A guided nature trail traverses the primeval forest area of
Haltiala. A new wilderness trail was completed in spring 2011.
– Haltiala nature trails (In Finnish)
There are a hiking lodge and a café at Pitkäkoski, and
café-restaurant Wanha Pehtoori is located at the Haltiala farm.
The Pitkäkoski hiking lodge and cafe (In Finnish)
Wanha Pehtoori, the café-restaurant at Haltiala Farm (In Finnish)