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Things are warming up in Helsinki (the high temperature for today, June 14, 2010, is a relatively toasty 68 °F). As summer comes to the Finnish capital, there are plenty of reasons to be outside.
Where to go, you ask? Well, read on, because we’ve got you covered with some Cheapo-friendly ways to soak up the sun in Helsinki.
Open year-round (last ferry leaves from Suomenlinna at 2 a.m.)
The Suomenlinna sea fortress, a popular tourist attraction year-round, is ideal for a summer outing. Once a military base used by first the Swedish and then the Russians, today the sea fortress is best known for its museums and its open-air theater. However, you don’t need to spend a euro to enjoy Suomenlinna’s expansive views of the Baltic.
Take a ferry or waterbus to reach the fortress and then wander around among the stony walkways and look out at the sea. Bring a picnic to enjoy outside or stop by one of the restaurants or cafés on the island.
Getting there: Take the Suomenlinna ferry (€3.80 for a 12-hour ticket) from Market Square or the J-Line waterbus near Esplanadi Park (€6.50 for a round-trip ticket).
Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
Hours: Varies throughout the year; see site for details
Admission: €6 (€ 5 reduced)
Seurasaari Island is a green, peaceful area located a few kilometers from the city center. The island’s main attraction is the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, which boasts 87 well-preserved Finnish cottages from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Among the museum’s highlights are a wooden church and a manor house from south-western Finland. A leisurely stroll past these rustic buildings, combined with the mild summer weather, is a perfect way to escape the urban environment for a few hours.
Seurasaari Island and throughout Helsinki
Seurasaari is also known for the annual Midsummer bonfire held off its coast. Midsummer in Finland falls on the first Saturday after June 19 (for 2010, June 26). If you’re lucky enough to be in town on this date, make sure to head out to the island to take part in the celebration.
The Swimming Stadium
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (pool open May 10-September 19)
Tram: 3B, 3T, 4, 7A, 7B, 8, 10
We love the indoor Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall for its 1920′s architecture and its authentically local vibe, but we think Helsinki’s outdoor pool, located on the north side of town near the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, is the perfect summertime option. The Swimming Stadium is part of a larger athletic complex, and it offers plenty of lanes for some leisurely laps.
Have you been to any of these attractions? Tell us about your experience — or recommend another budget-friendly activity in Helsinki.