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08 December, 2019

Helsinki Summer Tips - Soak up summer like a Helsinki local

Helsinki is known for being a winter wonderland, but summer is when the city truly heats up. It’s easy to see why, with almost round-the-clock sunshine, the sea around every corner, and a thriving terrace scene. Read top summertime tips for Helsinki! 

Read what to do in Helsinki in the summer and how to spend it like a local

Making the most of a sunny summer is a big part of Finnish culture. We talked to four locals - Suvi Saloniemi, Max Seek, Toni Rantanen and Tuire Havia - who know the city inside and out to discover their top summertime tips.

1. What makes Helsinki summer special?

Suvi Saloniemicurator of Design Museum: The nightless nights. People are out 24/7 and are more relaxed,friendly and adventurous.

Max Seeck, writer: It’s hard to believe for those who visit Helsinki in winter that not only is the city very much alive in summer, it’s probably one of the most outgoing places. When the sun eventually comes out and the temperature climbs to +25 Celsius, everyone goes outdoors to socialise and have fun.

Visit Oodi, the new central library,grab a random book from a shelf and enjoy the awesome architecture. – Max

Toni Rantanen aka Lil’ Tony, founder and artistic director of Flow Festival: Sea, open air parties, block parties, islands, the people, Helsinki seaside and islands.

Tuire Havia, performance coach at Hintsa Performance: You can see the town in a completely different light. The markets come alive, people enjoy the sun in our many parks, people play music and sing – so much to see!

The new central library Oodi hosts not only a library, but also eg. studios, space for workshops and events, restaurant, cafe and a cinema. Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo (c) Helsinki Marketing

2. What’s an essential Helsinki summer experience?

Suvi: The islands near Helsinki. Take a 1-minute boat ride from Merisatamanranta to Liuskaluoto. Continue by foot to Liuskasaari, and all the way to Uunisaari for sunbathing on a little sandy beach.

Don’t miss the immersive exhibition of Aamu Song and Johan Olin – The Secret Universe - which is open all summer at Design Museum. – Suvi

Max: Enjoying the many outdoor terraces and having amazing food and drinks at trendy new restaurants and bars.

Toni: Flow Festival, the leading music and art boutique festival in Europe. Come for live music, international cuisine and an unforgettable experience.

Tuire: Suomenlinna. Whether you want to explore the surroundings, enjoy beautiful nature or visit museums and restaurants, the island offers something for everyone!

The exhibition of Aamu Song and Johan Olin – The Secret Universe - is open all summer at Design Museum.
The exhibition of Aamu Song and Johan Olin – The Secret Universe - is open all summer at Design Museum.

3. What’s your favourite place to hang out in the summer?

Suvi: The no-frills tent cafés of Hakaniemi Market Square, where live musicians play Finnish tangoevery Saturday.

Max: Suomenlinna, the sea fortress just in front of Helsinki, and Kaivopuisto beach, which has great restaurants and bars.

Check out the Vallila Underground Movement Open Air at Ääniwalli terrace. – Toni

Toni: Gula Villan restaurant, on the island Iso-Vasikkasaari in the Espoo archipelago, is worth a visit. Lonna and Suomenlinna are amazing experiences, too.

Tuire: Humallahti Rocks, close to Seurasaari, is a beautiful spot. Nature, sun and sea, what more do you need?

 World Heritage Site Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure and a place, where locals love to spend time in the summer. Photo: Jussi Hellsten, Visit Finland
World Heritage Site Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure and a place, where locals love to spend time in the summer. Photo: Jussi Hellsten, Visit Finland

4. Where’s the best summer terrace?

Suvi: Once per summer I visit the champagne terrace of Restaurant Savoy, designed in 1937 by the world-famous Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto.

Max: Löyly, or Stockmann’s new rooftop terrace in the very heart of the city.

Toni: Siltanen for a cool Kallio vibe and Löyly to soak up the sun on the waterfront.

Tuire: Cafe Regatta, a cozy little red cottage by the sea in Töölö. Go there for coffee and a cinnamon bun (korvapuusti).

Ihana Kahvila is a container café located in Kalasatama, Helsinki
Ihana Kahvila is a container café located in Kalasatama. Photo: Riku Pihlanto (c) City of Helsinki

5. What’s your most cherished memory of Helsinki summer?

Suvi: The summer season culminates with Flow Festival. The scenography and the wonderful artist lineup are truly worth seeing.

Max: The parties we used to have at Hietaniemi beach when I was a little younger. I’m not old now but the parties still used to be more fun.

Try outdoor activities around Töölö Bay, such as stand up paddling, kayaking and outdoor yoga. – Tuire

Toni: Watching the sunset over the sea at the Ihana Kahvila, near Sompasauna.

Tuire: Helsinki Cup is one of the biggest junior football tournaments in Europe, every July. I used to play as a teenager and still enjoy watching the games.

Experience Helsinki summer and stay in the very heart of the city. Hotel St. George is located next to the Old Church park, only a few steps away from everything that Helsinki has to offer. Book your stay here. 

Published: 7.6.2019

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