Women standing at rock.

The sea belongs to everyone also during exceptional times

Helsinki’s proximity to the sea is especially important for its residents in the current exceptional circumstances. Helsinkians have the luxury of an easy access to the archipelago during the summer. Water transport has begun in stages during May and will resume more broadly in the beginning of June with familiar and even slightly unknown destinations. For example, Vallisaari, Isosaari and Lonna all offer their own personal packages of maritime atmosphere. Helsinki’s beaches will open according to normal summer schedules on 1 June considering the current exceptional circumstances with guidelines from the Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation.

“Water transport to the islands will be launched responsibly and safety distances among the passengers will be respected. The timetables will be featured in the HSL route planner also this summer. Until the services on the islands are opened, it’s a good idea to pack your own lunch for an outdoor picnic. The islands and coastal areas offer a place for recovery for both the local residents who want to enjoy outdoors as well as the businesses,” says Minttu Perttula, project manager for the Helsinki Maritime Strategy Project.

New entrepreneurs and services

The services on the islands have remained roughly the same as before. Signs and guide maps have been renewed on many islands, and there’s even forest yoga organised on Vallisaari island. New water sports can be tried out in the new water sports centre that will start operating in the Hietaniemi beach area. In addition, there are new entrepreneurs in Uunisaari, Pihlajasaari and Kaunissaari, as well as in the port of Katajanokka. These new services and fresh moods are guaranteed to be worth trying. The rental of the popular saunas and cottages in Kaunissaari and Pihlajasaari will start on 1 June at 10 am, and this can be done conveniently online at varaamo.hel.fi/.

Camping is an option for the cottages. For example, in Pihlajasaari it is possible to camp every day of the week starting this summer. Isosaari offers a perfect location for families to camp and Vallisaari’s particularity is the tentsile camping, i.e. tents that are attached to trees.

Ahti offers tips for navigating waters, islands and beaches

Ahti, a new and evolving mobile service, will be offering tips for navigating waters, islands and beaches this summer. Ahti helps in finding a nice maritime café, ice cream stand or restaurant on your smartphone. You could even find a beach or a sauna by the sea on Ahti.

Those who will be visiting Helsinki with their own boat will be delighted by a new experiment in which a Helsinki resident can sublease their own boat berth to a short-term visitor. The experiment will pilot at the berths of the City of Helsinki in Tervasaari in cooperation with the Helsinki Motor Boat Club (HMVK).

During the summer, equipment for maritime activities, such as kayaks and sup boards, will be added to the Ahti service for rent. The test version of Ahti will be available on 27 May at https://ahti.test.kuva.hel.ninja/ and the final version of Ahti will be published just before Midsummer on 16 June at the official address of the service: ahti.hel.fi

Helsinki’s maritime strategy outlines the development of the service supply and attractiveness of the archipelago and the waterfront until year 2030. The goal is to develop the maritime services and the accessibility of the maritime locations, to promote maritime events and to stay on course opening up the nearby archipelago for recreational use. The Helsinki Biennial that was planned for this year will take place next year 12.6.–26.9.2021 on Vallisaari island and on the mainland. According to current information, all the artists that were announced for 2020 will take part in the biennial also in 2021. Virtual experiences will be part of the event.

More information

Helsinki Maritime Strategy
Minttu Perttula, Project Manager, tel. 040 183 1552, minttu.perttula@hel.fi

Mobile service Ahti
Mia Marttiini, Project Manager, tel. 040 725 1666, mia.marttiini@hel.fi

Water transport
Helsinki Maritime Strategy
In islands

Foto: Maarit Hohteri