It is really worth to see what lies beyond Helsinki. Therefore, if you happen to have more than a couple of days in Helsinki, don’t hesitate to take a trip out of town.
1. Why should you visit Nuuksio National Park?
Apart from boasting the world’s largest archipelago, Finland is also known as “the land of a thousand lakes”. If you look at the map of Finland, the green forested landscape dotted with various patches of blue water is completely dominant. Lakes, along with deep green forests, has a significant impact on the making of Finnish identity. Thus, if you visit Finland, you must immerse yourself in the Finnish nature in order to know this country and its people better.
Among many beautiful national parks that Finland is blessed with, Nuuksio National Park is the most popular and nearest from Helsinki, making it a perfect day trip for both locals and tourists. It is an excellent getaway to relax and take in the stunning Finnish natural surroundings.
2. How to get to Nuuksio from Helsinki via public transport?
Stretching across 3 different municipalities: Espoo, Vihti and Kirkkonummi, Nuuksio is approximately 30km away from Helsinki by car. However, it is totally convenient to get there from the Helsinki with public transport. Since Nuuksio is a vast area, there are many gateways to enter this park, and in this post, we will guide you to the most popular gateways.
Step 1: The first common step to is to get to Espoon Keskus (Espoo Center).
- By bus: Bus 213 from Kamppi or bus 235 from Elienaukio. However, please note that the buses take at least 50 minutes to reach Espoon Keskus.
- By train: Train U, E, L, Y from Rautatienasema (Central Railway Station). Trains take around 30 minutes, so we recommend taking the train if you leave from Helsinki center.
Step 2: Once in Espoon Keskus, it’s time to decide which gateway to Nuuksio you want to take.
- Haltia is reached with bus 245/245A and the stop is Haltia (E6938). The ride takes around 25 – 30 minutes.
- We recommend dropping off here if you only have a few hours. Haltia is the Finnish Nature Center, which is complete with exhibitions, a restaurant with great views to the Nuuksion Pitkäjärvi lake and a short wheelchair-friendly hiking trail.
- Staying on bus 245/245A for a few more minutes, you will get off at Haukkalammentie (E6956) and continue walking down Haukkalammentie road for about 2km to reach Haukkalampi center.
- This is our favorite and the most popular gateway as most of the main well-marked trails in Nuuksio start from here. It depends on your health and preference to decide if you are up for a long or short hike. During summer, it is possible to do some water-sports here.
- To reach here, you have to go by bus 245A until the last stop Kattila (E6935), which takes around 35 – 40 minutes.
- Being the northernmost gateway, Kattila has services catering for big groups, such as sauna, accommodation and events. However, it is possible to hike from here.
- Option 1: From Espoon keskus, you will take bus 244 to Naruportti (E6901) or Siikaniemi (E6915).
- Option 2: You will get to Leppävaara Station first, take bus 238 from there and get off at Naruportti (E6901) or Siikaniemi (E6915).
- From Siikaranta, we recommend hiking to Haukkalampi as you will pass many scenic points along the way. We did the other way around and it was just as nice.
3. What to do in Nuuksio on a day trip?
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.
Hike the well-marked trails
Nuuksio has many trails that allows you to take in the beauty and solitude of the Finnish forest, admire the mirror lakes and observe the flora and fauna.
Though all the trails are well-marked, we advise taking along paper or digital map if you happen to be the adventurous type who always gets off the path like we are.
Enjoy your lunch by the lake
Nuuksio has many lakes, in different sizes, scattered around the forest. If you prefer staying on higher ground, there are a couple of lakeside rocky hills where you can savor you backpacking lunch while soaking in the beautiful nature.
On the other hand, why don’t we do we it the Finns’ way? Pack some sausages, slices of bread and sauces and have a little BBQ at the provided fire pits.
Embark on a fatbiking adventure
Riding a fatbike is a fun way to explore Nuuksio, which is possible during summer. You can join a guided tour or rent a bike and explore the forest on your own. Two companies that offer fatbike rental service are Bike Rental Finland and Natura Viva.
Stand up paddle (SUP) or row on the lake
Summer is a wonderful time to bring yourself closer to the water. Both SUP and rowing are easy, well-beloved summer sports in Finland. We loved SUPing in Haukkalampi as it was so windless that we could paddle smoothly. We did even jump into the water for a swim, which was extremely refreshing on a warm summer day.
Fill your basket with delicious mushrooms and berries
If you happen to visit Nuuksio in late summer or autumn, don’t miss out on foraging for nature-blessed sumptuous foods. Though you can see blueberries literally everywhere, it takes a bit of searching and getting off the beaten trail to find mushrooms. On a good year, we wouldn’t leave the forest without a basket full of porcinis and chanterelles.
Let there be sauna
We mean it in a total admirable manner: There are way too many saunas in Finland. Thanks to that, you get to enjoy a sauna in the forest of Nuuksio as well. Therefore, if you fancy a sauna session amidst nature, it is possible to book online in advance or just walk-in for the public sauna at Haukkalampi.
4. Packing list for your day trip
We haven’t been in Nuuksio during winter, so we can only give packing tips for late spring till autumn visits.
- You will no doubt need very good hiking shoes to ensure comfort. On a warm summer day, you can get by wearing shorts and T-shirt though you have to cover yourself then with insect- and mosquito-repellent. We tend to always get off the marked trails scouring the forest floor for mushrooms, so we always wear waterproof shoes and long pants.
- If you plan to use a digital map on your phone instead of a paper one, it is worth bringing power bank along.
- Do not go anywhere without your trusty snack bag. It is important to always have food and drink with you, even when you plan to eat in a restaurant. You don’t want to be lost in the forest dehydrated with an empty stomach. Therefore, we strongly advise to pack enough water and some favorite snacks: chocolate, nuts, small pastries, chips, etc.
- If you intend to pick berries, you may bring a small bucket or an empty bottle. In case you want to collect mushrooms, a basket and a small knife are essential. You can make with plastic bags but it is not a very good way to store mushrooms.
- Should you fancy a swim or sauna, swimsuit and a small towel would prove useful.
5. Overnight stay in Nuuksio
We totally recommend staying overnight in Nuuksio because it is the only way to enjoy nature to the fullest, and it is also a very Finnish thing to do.
Renting a log cottage could be fun as you can experience how a Finnish “cabin life” would feel like. However, it can be extremely costly as most of the cottages are catered for big groups. The cheapest option for small groups is to rent a “retkimökki” at Nuuksio Reindeer Park.
Nonetheless, we believe camping is the more-than-perfect way to spend the night in Nuuksio. During summer, it is a norm that Finns flock to Nuuksio for a weekend camp with friends or family. If you are interested in going camping in this enchanted forest, check out our complete guide here.
In a nutshell, we hope that we have given you sufficient information to plan your perfect trip to Nuuksio. And trust us, a day trip to the forest will make to fall in love with “the land of a thousand lakes” even harder. As for us, we have been dreaming of living in a lakeside cottage amid the woods for so long…