Helsinki Card
Helsinki Card

Kaivopuisto Park & the Seaside

20.5.2014 Text: Annaliina Niitamo Photos: Robert Lindström / Helsinki Marketing

Helsinki is a city best experienced by the sea. Idly walking along the shoreline, stopping at cafés and taking in the beautiful Art Nouveau architecture is something anyone in Helsinki should do. For centuries locals and tourists alike have enjoyed the maritime and elegant atmosphere of these corners.

Head south of the center to the beautiful and prestigious districts of Eira, Ullanlinna and Kaivopuisto Park for some peace and a harmonious stroll. Although known for its embassies and extravagant apartments, the southernmost tip of Helsinki offers the best of itself for all. This neighborhood is a beloved classic – Kaivopuisto Park and the sunny waterside rocks attract picnickers and sun-worshipers from afar. 

The epicenter is the Kaivopuisto Park and the restaurant Kaivohuone on the edge of the park. This is a good spot for starting your tour. Walking through the park takes you to the shoreline and harbour, which is dotted with cafés, icecream kiosks and great picnic spots and viewpoints. Try Café Ursula for their cinnamon buns and Mattolaituri for a chic glass of bubbly while doing some serious people-watching. Café Carusel has a great sheltered terrace and a wide range of tasty lunches and breakfast. Rumored to serve the best pizzas in Helsinki, restaurant and boathouse Skiffer sits on Liuskaluoto, a three-minute ferry ride from a pier between Café Carusel and Kompassitori on Merisatamanranta

In the evening you’ll easily stumble upon some great restaurants. Il Bucatino (Tehtaankatu 38) for instance is a cozy and refined Italian trattoria, serving hearty pasta dishes. Mange Sud (Tehtaankatu 34) serves Mediterranean flavours and is a stern classic amongst the stylish locals – ask for the “Culture Menu” (includes a taxi ride to a culture event of your choice). Restaurant Sea Horse (Kapteeninkatu 11) just might be the most well-known of the traditional “Helsinki” restaurants. It opened in 1934 and has ever since drawn in artists, ministers, students and other locals in search for their legendary crispy fried baltic herring and beef steak à la Sea Horse. Restaurant Central (Pietarinkatu 15) is a beloved neighborhood hotspot with great burgers and a homey atmosphere. Maxill (Korkeavuorenkatu 4) & Lungi (Korkeavuorenkatu 2) serve modern bistro-styled dishes in trendy and relaxed atmospheres. At Maxill, try the social media sensation avocadopasta or salmon-wasabi salad! 

For a buzzing nightlife this district is quiet, but head on towards the center along Korkeavuorenkatu and do not miss Latva Bar (Korkeavuorenkatu 25) – they have some of the best cocktails and drinks always with a seasonal twist! Enjoy some sapas (Finnish tapas) with your drink. Approaching the center you’ll find bars, pubs and clubs all along the way (Grotesk, Liberty or Death, We Got Beef, Teatteri, Ahjo to name a few). Come next morning – after a night out –  you can start your tour again from the beginning at the Kaivopuisto seafront with a splendid breakfast picnic watching the sailboats glide by! 

Top 5

  • Mattolaiturit: Come wonder at this age-long tradition of locals washing their carpets at small wooden piers right on the water. People socialize here too: meet up for drinks and sunbathing! 
  • Island hopping: There are multiple ferries that leave for the small and stunning islands right by the coast, for example Uunisaari and Pihlajasaari. See full article “Island Guide”.
  • Jogging by the seaside: The morning could not start any better than with an early morning run along the shoreline. 
  • Picnic in Kaivopuisto Park: Pack up fresh products from the Market Square and walk along the water to Kaivopuisto Park or the seafront rocks. Clean up yourself and beware of seagulls! 
  • Restaurants & bars: Start with dinner at one of the high-quality restaurants and bar-hop your way to the center. Kom theatre’s bar, Lungi, Latva and Grotesk are our favourites!  

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