The peaceful urban park of Töölönlahti Bay is a true green oasis in Helsinki city centre. Many of Helsinki’s best attractions, landmarks and cultural institutions can also be found in this area. Having said that, Töölönlahti Bay makes a perfect place to enjoy nature, sports and cultural activities.
The other day I went on an expedition around Töölönlahti Bay and found so many attractive spots to explore, quiet corners to relax and so much more!A leisurely walk around Töölönlahti Bay takes no more than an hour. If you wish to explore the area and attractions you should reserve at least half a day or why not even one full day to complete it.
The area is easily covered on foot but most spots can also be reached by public transport or car/bicycle.I started my sightseeing stroll around Töölönlahti Bay from Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art next to the main Post Office in Helsinki city centre. From here I could already see the large green park area of Töölönlahti Bay Park (Töölönlahden Puisto), which has during the past few years experienced a facelift and today accommodates playgrounds for children and inviting green areas perfect for sunbathing and picnicking.The newest building on the block between the Parliament House, Kiasma Museum of Modern Art and the green park is Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo), which is a super modern concert hall and home to Sibelius Academy and two symphony orchestras.Designed by a famous Finnish architect named Alvar Aalto, the congress and event centre of Finlandia Hall is the white shiny pearl of Töölönlahti Bay.On the other side of Finlandia Hall I found a cute little villa, Hakasalmi Villa, which accommodates a museum (free entrance) together with idyllic Cafe Huvila. This villa with a well maintained garden and colourful flowers is a sight for the eyes in all seasons.Right across the main road of Mannerheimintie stands a very castle like building. This is the National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo) that presents Finnish history from the Stone Age until today.Then I arrived to the waterfront to at Töölönlahti Bay to find golden frames hanging down from a birch tree next Hakuna Matata SUP rental shop. And naturally I took millions of photos of the breathtaking view over Töölönlahti Bay. This must be one of the prettiest vistas of the blue waters of Töölönlahti Bay. Absolutely picture perfect! A paved pathway with two lanes runs around Töölönlahti Bay for 2.5 km. The outer lane is for bikers and the inner one for those on foot.
At this point I needed to decide whether to do the walk clockwise or anticlockwise. I heard from someone that locals always walk around the bay anticlockwise. However, as a local I do not recognise this statement. To be honest, I always prefer doing my stroll clockwise. This is because towards the end of the walk there are a couple of nice coffee shops with fantastic sea views and delicious cakes so I rather enjoy treats at the end of the stroll. So clockwise we go.After Finlandia Hall I walked through Hesperian Puisto Park that offers plenty of green space to enjoy and benches right by the water to take a break and do bird watching. From here views over Töölönlahti Bay are fantastic and you can see all the way to Linnanmäki Amusement Park across the bay.At Cafe Tyyni right on the water’s edge you can relax and enjoy the views on a small sunbathing platform.Soon I came across a striking white building on the left, the Opera House, which is home to the Finnish National Opera.At the northern end of Töölönlahti Bay just across the road Helsinginkatu I stumbled upon Helsinki Olympic Stadium, which is the largest stadium in Finland, mainly used for sports events and concerts. Back in 1952 the XVth Olympic Games were held here. The Sports Museum of Finland is also located here. The stadium tower at 72 meters offers definitely the most panoramic views of the city. Unfortunately the stadium, tower and museum are all currently closed until 2019 due to renovation. But it is definitely worth admiring this architectural masterpiece from the outside too.East to the Olympic Stadium sits another interesting attraction, Helsinki Winter Garden. This summery oasis of exotic plants with barbels splashing in the pools is a delightful place to explore all year round. In the indoor garden you can enjoy a picnic under palm trees in lush picturesque settings. During the summer months you get to admire the beauty of the well maintained outdoor rose garden. You can read more about my visit to the tropical paradise of Helsinki Winter Garden here.From Helsinki Winter Garden it is a short walk up the road to Linnanmäki Amusement Park and Sea Life Aquarium. Entrance to Linnanmäki Amusement Park is free but you will have to pay for the rides. They actually do offer 10 free rides (mostly for children), out of which I enjoyed the Panorama Sightseeing Tower the best as it offers a 360-degree view of the city. You can read more on free things to do in Helsinki here. In October as autumn evenings turn dark and nights long the spectacular Linnanmäki Carnival of Light is a must-see.Back at the northeastern end of Töölönlahti Bay, a couple of paddle boarders launched themselves out onto the water as I walked pass.The east bank of Töölönlahti Bay is a peaceful, leafy green area called Linnunlaulu (Bird song) and home to a series of villas built 120 years ago. From here views over the bay and Helsinki’s most famous landmarks such as the Opera House and the Finlandia Hall are breathtaking.This is also a perfect place to make up for lost calories with a cup of tea and a slice cake at one of the cafes. I have become a regular at Cafe Sininen Huvila (Blue Villa) and Cafe Taideterassi.From Linnunlaulu it was just a short walk downhill back to my starting point at Töölönlahti Bay Park, where I was welcomed by endless flower meadows. This is something I have never in seen in Helsinki city centre before, what a pretty sight for the eyes and a great way to end my sightseeing stroll around Töölönlahti Bay.
What do you enjoy the most about Töölönlahti Bay? Please leave your comments in the box below!
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