Picture: Nikolai Alin / Visit Finland
With all this talk of boats, it might seem that they are a must. Not so.
There are plenty of beaches that can be enjoyed without taking to the water to get at them. Hietaranta, or “Hietsu” to the locals, is right downtown, and is the city’s most famous and most popular beach.
Expect a lot of company on hot July days.
Outside the city centre proper there are also any number of attractive and unspoilt beaches that are worth checking out as the mercury rises.
In particular the beaches in the eastern districts of the city make it difficult to imagine you are in a metropolitan area with a population of around a million people.
Try the one at Kallahdenniemi for starters, down at the end of a gravel path fringed with spruce trees. Buses no. 560 and 816 will get you there from the Vuosaari metro station.
You can also find the beach of Aurinkolahti in Vuosaari (metro station: Vuosaari).
Aurinkolahti is informally known as the “Riviera of Helsinki” and is a nice place to visit on a sunny day.
A 700-meter swimming beach and a marina are two of Aurinkolahti’s best features.
However, ironically enough, Helsinki’s most interesting beach is not by the sea at all, but on the banks of the Vantaa River, in the district known as Oulunkylä.
You can get there from downtown on bus 21 BX. After walking down a steepish hill, the visitor is rewarded with an impressive sight: the river makes a small bay in the shelter of a high rock outcrop.
The boldest jump into the water from a platform built on the top of the sheer cliff!
In case you desire a refreshing swim in the city centre, you might want to head to the Helsinki Swimming Stadium, an outdoors swimming venue near by the Helsinki Olympic Stadium or to the Kumpula Outdoor Swimming Pool (Allastie 1).
If you are looking for something special, try the Allas outdoor sea pool complex (Katajanokanlaituri 2) located a stone’s throw away from the Helsinki marketplace.