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Finland: Seurasaari

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Seurasaari | Finland | Europe

[Visited: May 2008]

Finland is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe and is known among other things for its forests, lakes, and space. It is not necessary to travel far from Helsinki to sample this typical Finnish nature; you can find a place within the city limits of Helsinki. Seurasaari is an island on the western outskirts of the city where you can wander the forest, discover lakes, and enjoy the surrounding sea on one of the rocky beaches. Furthermore, it has a large outdoor museum with typical Finnish houses from all over the country. Seurasaari is also used for midsummer celebrations, when a huge bonfire is lit by a newly wed couple.

Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Finnish girls feeding seagulls on Seurasaari island

Although it is possible to walk to Seurasaari from the city, I decided to go by bike. A pleasant ride, first going through the city, then passing the major Hietaniemi cemetery and then following the coastline with its small harbours, I reached the road leading to the bridge connecting the mainland to Seurasaari island. Here, I had to leave the bike, and continued on foot. When the island was developed as a public park in 1890, it could only be reached by boat; soon, the bridge was constructed. When I reached the island, I walked clockwise around it. In the forest, I saw wooden houses that are part of the open-air museum of Seurasaari. The path continued southwards over Seurasaari island, with the inner sea on my left and the forest on my right. Where there had been many people at the entrance, I soon found myself walking alone.

Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Seurasaari island: path leading through the forest

Until I reached the festivity ground, where youngsters were having an activity day. Continuing my walk over Seurasaari island, I reached the southern tip of the island: with small rocky beaches, sea with algae and lots of birds. From here, I had a good view of the bay. I passed an inner lake in the forest of the island, and reached the nudist beach - strangely enough, with separate areas for men and women. I had a quick dip in the water which was still pretty cold, before going on and taking the path leading right over Seurasaari. I spotted quite a few squirrels playing in the woods - they appeared not at all shy and actually curiously came to me to discover the intruder of their silent forest. I again came across several wooden buildings, one of them a typical Finnish sauna, belonging to the open-air museum. The tranquillity of the forest, the absence of noise and the twittering of birds almost gave the impression of a desolate place - until I came closer to the bridge again.

Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Beaches of Seurasaari are rocky
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Finnish wooden house on Seurasaari island
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Squirrel on Seurasaari island
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Seurasaari island and bridge
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Trees pointing to the sky on Seurasaari island
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Trees casting their shadow over Seurasaari island
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Young Finns enjoying nice spring weather at Seurasaari
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Wooden house and forest on Seurasaari
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Small lake on Seurasaari island
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Coastline of Seurasaari island
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Nudist beach at Seurasaari is segregated
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Seurasaari island on the left, connected by a bridge
Picture of Seurasaari (Finland): Woods waiting to become a bonfire for midsummer at Seurasaari

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