Winter in Finland – YES, it does get cold! But: Finns do not suffer and survive winter, they live and enjoy it. Even if the thermometer reads -29° C, it does not feel as cold as you might think. This is due to the dry continental winter climate that does not feel as cold as the damp cold winter weather of Central Europe for example. Besides, Finnish people are used to the cold winter weather, so life and all things run more than smoothly.
For some travellers winter visits might be totally out of question because of the cold. However, if you are brave enough to encounter the crispy winter weather, you will most likely have an experience of a lifetime and surely you will enjoy the white winter wonderland to the fullest! Winter is also a great time of the year to admire the amazing colour combinations of nature provided by snow, sunshine and clouds.
So, cold weather is no reason to stay indoors – just gear up right and make the most of the fresh white season. In Helsinki, the capital of Finland, you get to experience the real white winter wonderland just outside the city centre where you will find pure nature, small islands and forests right by the sea.
Kaivopuisto Park by the sea is a very popular place to go for a walk whether it is summer or winter. There are two great cafes, Café Ursula and Café Carusel, along the seaside promenade to stop by for a hot chocolate or lunch. If available, try a “laskiaispulla”, a traditional Finnish sweet dessert especially popular in wintertime. Laskiaispulla is a sweet bun spiced with cardamom, cut in half and filled with strawberry or raspberry marmalade and lots of whipped cream. Perfect source of energy for cold winter days!
During the last few weeks we have experienced incredibly cold weathers in Helsinki, all the way down to -30° C, so by now the sea is covered by a very thick layer of ice. This makes it possible to walk over the frozen sea. What a great sense of adventure and excitement! Suddenly the small islands off shore become a lot closer, just a short stroll away, no boats or bridges needed.
The islands of Liuskasaari and Liuskaluoto offer the most stunning views over the frozen sea and cliffs absolutely perfect to watch the sunset. Here you can admire colourful boats waiting to be undocked as soon as spring arrives. The islands host a yacht club and two restaurants, Boat House and Skiffer, but unfortunately they are both closed for the season.
From the island of Liuskasaari you can reach the neighbouring island of Uunisaari also by bridge if you feel uncomfortable walking over the frozen sea. Here you can have coffee and local delicacies in historical settings as the red buildings hosting Uunisaari cafe and restaurant date all the way back to the late 1800’s.
On the island of Seurasaari a couple kilometres outside Helsinki city centre you can experience a true winter wonderland with plenty of clean nature and fresh sea air. Seurasaari also hosts an open-air museum where you get to explore traditional Finnish cottages, manors and farmhouses from the old days. My favourite place to explore the frosty winter outdoors is at Uutela Nature Park in Vuosaari. Located in the eastern parts of Helsinki, Uutela Nature Park is surrounded by the sea on three sides and provides a variety of landscapes from tall cliffs to lush forests and meadows. The frozen sea offers a huge playground for outdoor activities and people are extremely happy to take the opportunity to go skiing, skating, hiking and walking the dog on the ice.
Have you had a chance to explore the snowy winter wonderland and enjoy winter activities in the fresh outdoors?
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