OK, so you’ve been in Helsinki for a few days now. You are done with the museums, bought the whole Marimekko summer collection, and enjoyed Scandinavian cuisine far too much. You have just woken up in your fluffy hotel bed, feeling slightly guilty for all this overindulging. Suddenly, your are overwhelmed by the urge to burn off the one too many fried herrings and Finnish vodka snaps, you had the night before. It is about time to re-connect your tortured urban soul with nature. Do something different. But what? Go where? The answer is “Pihlajasaari” (Finnish for “Rowan Island”), a little gem a stone’s throw from Helsinki. A perfect destination for people traveling with or without kids.
To get there is easy as pie! You only need to take tram number 3 from the center (direction Eira) and remember to get off at the Eiran Sairaala (Eira Hospital). Don’t doze off on the way, it’s not that far! Walk then along Laivurinkatu Street towards the sea. On the way you might want to play “spot the art nouveau building” with your partner . There are loads of them in the area. There is also a small playground, where you can let the children run (…for their lives :-))
By the time you reach the seashore, you are either an art nouveau expert or even better, you have deliberately lost your way into a nice café called “Carusel”(recommended for people-watching), right next to the pier . But no. This is not what we are here for. Remember? Stay focused and climb on that little boat! (Note for fathers: This is your last chance to ditch your family and head back to the hotel’s bar!).
A 10-minute ride and voilà! You and your exhausted credit card will be met by pristine (ok, this is the Baltic Sea we are talking about, but I like the definition) beaches, jogging tracks, children’s playground, plenty of sand to make you own version of Versailles, camping facilities (in case you might want to spent the rest of your holidays or life here), wildlife (mainly ducks), nudist beach (for those who want to scare off the wildlife), picnic spots, and the most important: no Marimekko outlet! Enjoy!