Helsinki’s unique blend of activity, creativity, and tranquility makes this city a charm. It may be small but it’s full of surprises, and one of them is the plethora of great places to run. The air is clean, there is an extended network of pedestrian paths that stretch along the coast, and there are also a number of inland parks where you can get some kilometers under your legs. Not to mention, many of the city’s 500,000 residents are incredibly active. They will probably be running right along with you – and even right past you.
The center of activity stretches from one end of Mannerheimintie Street, along the green walkways of the Esplanadi, to the harbor and craft stalls at Market Square. Prominent on the cityscape and skyline are the Uspenski Cathedral, the Swedish Suomenlinna Fortress, and the Helsinki Cathedral (Helsingin Tuomiokirkko) – all testaments to Finland’s multicultural past, and all sights to make your run unforgettable.
- Nightfall: Helsinki is one of the northernmost capitals of the world and by mid-December the city gets barely six hours of daylight. In an average winter it will also go fifty-one consecutive days without seeing the sun, have 101 days of snow, and spend 169 days below 0°C (32°F).
- Daylight: If you are visiting Helsinki in the summer you can expect 18+ hours of sun per day. The weather may be beautiful, but it can also make sleeping difficult, and running is easier after eight full hours of shut-eye.
- Fit Finns: Sport is here to stay in Helsinki. These people are in shape, and possibly in better shape than you!
Did you know? Although better known for its fish, its cold, and its impossible language, today’s Finland, particularly Helsinki, boasts an innovative populace. The city is home to northern Europe’s largest tech campus, one-third of Finland’s GDP is generated in Helsinki’s metropolitan area, and the capital is one of the wealthiest in Europe.
*Get up on your skates!!
Too cold to run? The winters get very long in the Nordic lands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. Try trading in your running shoes for a pair of ice skates. The waterways in the city freeze over enough to allow for miles of untarnished ice to explore. Alternatively, grab a pair of cross-country skis. The forests of Finland are best explored when you’re strapped to two sticks and working to elevate that heart rate. Both winter weather activities, by the way, will make your post-sport sauna that much more rewarding.