Ilmakuva Pihlajasaaresta

A sign of the upcoming summer – Helsinki’s islands are once again open to visitors

The archipelago areas and seaside recreational parks of Helsinki and its surroundings offer a wealth of opportunities for all kinds of outdoor recreation that you can enjoy safely despite the coronavirus situation. These seaside areas are open to everyone, and water transport services to and from the islands of Helsinki are just starting up. 

Aava-Lines has already started regular service to and from Uunisaari, while Suomen Saaristokuljetus provides transportation to Korkeasaari and Vallisaari. JT-Line started regular services to and from Pihlajasaari on Saturday 8 May. The water bus will initially provide transportation to Pihlajasaari from Merisatama and Ruoholahti on Saturdays and Sundays and then daily from 22 May onwards. Due to water pipe damage, running water will not be available on Pihlajasaari for the first few weekends, though visitors will have access to compost toilets. Restaurant Pihlajasaari is scheduled to open on 22 May. 

Pörtö Line started regular service to and from the beautiful island of Kaunissaari in the outer archipelago of Sipoo on 12 May. Please note that the departure location to Kaunissaari has changed this summer: the boat now departs from Aurinkolahdenlaituri at Aurinkoranta 7. 

This year, cash will no longer be accepted as a payment method on Pihlajasaari and Kaunissaari. 

Last year, visitors were able to reach Vartiosaari by taking an electric water bus over Reposalmi, and the service will also be offered this year. The Vartiosaari electric water bus will operate from 15 May onwards on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:00 and 21:00 in May, and daily from June onwards. The departure dock is visible from the car park at the end of Reposalmentie. The island-side dock is called Reposalmi, päälaituri.

The maritime season of Helsinki is rounded out by the new water transport connections to Hakaniemi and Kruunuvuorenranta starting up later in the spring, the short terrace boat cruises starting from Parrulaituri in Kalasatama, the free-of-charge Vasikkasaari guest marina and, of course, the Helsinki Biennial. 

“This summer promises to be a veritable celebration of marine Helsinki. Services have been renewed, updated and improved, and I believe that the exceptional maritime services of Helsinki will go a long way to promoting people’s well-being amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the demand for these types of services is now higher than ever. This summer’s most anticipated new event is the Helsinki Biennial opening in mid-June on Vallisaari, which can be reached not only from Market Square, but Hakaniemi as well,” enthuses Minttu Perttula, the maritime strategy project manager of Helsinki.

Future themes in the maritime development of Helsinki include the development of more ecological and customer-oriented water transport services, the development of the recreational use of the eastern archipelago and the improvement of services for canoeists, starting with the marking of locations for going ashore.  

Please observe currently valid COVID-19 guidelines and the etiquette for responsible outdoor recreation when using water transport services and visiting islands and beaches. 

Here are some tips for ensuring that everyone can enjoy the outdoors safely:

  1. Now is the perfect time for outdoor recreation. Enjoy and refresh yourself, but be sure to always follow the instructions and orders issued by the authorities.
  2. If you feel even slightly ill or are still recovering from an illness, stay home.
  3. Avoid social contacts. Enjoy the outdoors alone or with family members.
  4. Use ordinary local forests for outdoor activities and recreation. Stay away from the most popular locations – you can always visit more impressive nature sites after the pandemic.
  5. Avoid outdoor recreation sites, such as outdoor gyms, children’s playgrounds and lean-to shelters.
  6. Wear gloves if you have to touch apparatuses, door handles or other surfaces.
  7. Blow your nose into a tissue even when jogging, do not spit on the ground. Carry a personal waste bag with you.
  8. Maintain a distance of at least two metres when passing by and greeting others.

Water traffic to the recreational islands is divided into line traffic and small cruise lines, which are managed by private operators. Regular water transport services and timetables are subject to change. You should always check the transport service provider’s website for the current timetables, any changes and other information.

More information about water transport >>