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How to spend a winter day in Helsinki?

When the celsius drop far below zero, the sun comes out to play in the late morning and the sea is completely frozen – some might want to stay home under warm blankets, but us Finns find it the best time of the year to go enjoy some outdoor activities.

 

The magic of Helsinki is it’s perfect way of combining a city with nature only a hop away from the bustling city center. Your perfect day in Helsinki can just as well mean shopping with friends and going to your favourite cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee or hiking by the seaside on the city’s several islands.

 

Myself, I’m the kind who feels most home by the beach in the heat of the sun drinking a fresh coconut, but trust me when I say, this city is at its most beautiful in the coldest of winter day. There’s something so exotic and enchanted in our Helsinki home mixed with a bit of east and west.

Find all our options for what to do in Helsinki on a winter day here.

So, what exactly to do in Helsinki on a cold winter day?

The thing with the cold is that the colder the day, very often the sunnier the sky. Here in Finland we l like to say there is no bad weather, only the wrong kind of clothing. So ensure to have enough layers, warm shoes and a hat to be ready to hit the ground.

There is obviously a lot to do on a winter day in Helsinki, but I want to share a few of my favorite options for you!

1. Take a dip outside at Allas Sea Pool

If you could select only one place to admire Helsinki from, I’d say let it be Allas Sea Pool – yes, even in the cold of winter. Allas Sea Pool has both fresh- and seawater pools, complete with saunas and other services open every day all year round. The warm water pool is filled with heated tap water. The temperature of the water is c. 28°C (82° Fahrenheit) all year round. In the seawater pool you are able to swim comfortably in the Baltic Sea! The water in the pool is pumped from farther away in the sea, from cleaner currents, and it is filtered and treated using UV technique. You are not swimming directly in the harbour water. The temperature in the sea pool is the same as in the sea.

Upstairs of Allas Sea Pool, you’ll also find a cozy restaurant to dine in and enjoy the view of the city.

2. Go walking on water if it’s cold enough

Some winters are cold enough for walking on water, but ensure to check with an expert before you go explore on top of the sea on foot. Usually in January-February the weather drops low enough for the sea and bays to freeze, actually even enough to drive a car through.

Töölönlahti Bay in the city center usually freezes pretty fast and the locals start trekking through the ice to go places. A walk on and around the bay is a lovely way to spend a day in Helsinki, and mind you.

Another option is to walk all the way to Uunisaari on ice and go enjoy a local sugar donut as a reward with a cup of hot chocolate – the perfect weekend past-time for us locals.

Walking on Water

3. Jääpuisto – go ice-skating in the heart of the city

The Ice Park is centrally located in the heart of Helsinki, right next to the central railway station.

Enjoy the urban culture with skates on. Relax with a hot drink in the atmospheric café, listen to music or meet friends. Ice Park offers fun winter experiences for urban residents from December until end of March.

Before skating you will buy a ticket from the ticket booth and put it on your jacket. If you need skates, you can rent them from the Ice Park. Helmets and helping sleds can be borrowed free of charge.

Ensure to snap your Instagram photo in front of the My Helsinki neon sign next to the park!

4. Historic Walking Tour of Helsinki

Discover fascinating and unconventional Finnish history on our 3-hour Historic Walking Tour. After a full debriefing of the early history of Finland we will take a picturesque walk through time. Starting with the Russian Empire influence at the Senate Square and ending the tour at the present-day, modernist part of the city. During the tour you will be travelling by foot with our expert guide.
Remember to dress warm with comfortable shoes!

Book your historic walking tour here.

Helsinki Harbour

5. Something out of the ordinary; Redrib Ice Experience

You know what, us Finns are known for being a little quarky, especially when it comes to spending our free time. If you are in for something very unique during your time in Helsinki, I would suggest jumping into a red suit and then to the sea to bathe in the ice-cold sea.

Sound like fun? Well, I get it might not. But it actually is. You just have to trust me again.

Over breaking ice or snow, we leave from the east side of Helsinki into the empty archipelago deep frozen. Wearing the red survival suit you can experience how it feels floating among ice rafts staying warm and dry.

Running on floating ice rafts is great fun too! Barbecue lunch on open fire is a perfect end to a perfect day. Departure point may vary due to weather conditions.

Read more about the toor and make your booking here.

Want to find more options on what to do in Helsinki? Find all our options here.