Happy Midsummer or Hyvää Juhannusta, as the Finns would say! Apart from Christmas, Midsummer is the biggest celebration of the year. If you’re in Helsinki you’ll undoubtedly notice how quiet the city is, as many of the locals are away at their summer cottages in the woods and islands around Finland. Here are a few of the best ways to enjoy the midsummer in Helsinki if you are in the city.
Bonfires and Festivities
The sight of huge bonfires is synonymous with midsummer in Finland. The most traditional bonfire celebration takes place at Seurasaari, where there are several bonfires, along with the main bonfire which will be lit by the chosen Midsummer bridal couple. Folk dancing and other festivities also take place at the Seurasaari midsummer bonfire festival and it is suitable for all ages. Additionally, bonfires are lit at a number of other locations, such as on many islands around Helsinki. Keep in mind, however, that weather and safety conditions can affect the lighting of bonfires.
You can combine your bonfire hunt with a spot of sightseeing under the white nights of midsummer. Several cruises operate along the Helsinki coastline, such as Strömma, Royal Line and JT-Line, from which you can enjoy the views along with traditional midsummer food. These last around three hours, but for a slightly longer cruise, you can hop on board the J.L.Runeberg, a classic steamship which sails from Helsinki to Porvoo.
Lots of midsummer dances and parties have begun popping up in the city over the last few years. Look out for We Love Helsinki’s Midsummer Ball which is held at Kuudes Linja and Kaiku between June 20 to June 22. At Kivinokka beach, there will be live music and – you guessed it – bonfires, from 18 to 23 on 21.6. Several midsummer dance parties are held at nightclubs in the city, including Tavastia and Bar Loose.
Traditional dances can be enjoyed at Linnanmäki Amusement Park (there is no charge for entry to the park) or also at Lonna island. This tiny island, which is just between the Helsinki Market Square and Suomenlinna also has a public sauna, where you can unwind in the most traditional Finnish way possible.
Happy Midsummer everyone!