Back to Vallisaari – kayaking and fatbiking

The spring is finally turning into summer. I was in Vallisaari just a few weeks ago, but now it looked really different; much more green! This time, instead of taking the ferry boat, we kayaked to the island.

On the way to Vallisaari by kayak

As we got to our starting place the sun was shining. Pretty quickly it started to rain. And after a few minutes the sun was shining again! The best thing was, that it was warm anyway.

Kayaking in Helsinki

The kayaking route from Stansvik to Vallisaari is nice and sheltered. There is a lot of nature around, but in the background you have the city of Helsinki. I like the combination.

Fatbikes in Vallisaari, Helsinki

At Vallisaari we went fatbiking with our friends from Bliss Adventure. Fatbikes are a great way to see the island and you also get to visit the forbidden southern tip of the island. This is only possible on the guided fatbike and walking tours.

Fatbikes at the southern tip of Vallisaari, Helsinki

The scenery towards the open sea is spectacular. Too bad we didn’t have so much time to relax.

Sunshine and fatbiking

The fatbiking routes are easy to ride. Technically it is not demanding, but it is a great way to explore this beautiful island. The guides have a lot of knowledge and information about the island.

Kayaking in Helsinki

After the tour and ice cream at Paja kiosk we headed back to our kayaks. A great day to be outside and do something active! Thanks again to Bliss Adventure for the tour. We are planning a tour combining kayaking and fatbiking, but for now, you can just take the ferry and do the fatbike tour.

 

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Evening paddle in Eastern Helsinki

The kayaking season has now started. I’ve been kayaking a few times and my leg feels pretty good already. It doesn’t hurt, but it is still really stiff. Last weekend, we had our first guided overnight trip of the season and the weather was great. I wasn’t guiding the group, but I paddled to the island they were camping at in the evening.

Kayaking in Eastern Helsinki

It was a bit windy during the day, but by the time I got on the water, it was already calm and really peaceful.

A kayak and a goose in Helsinki archipelago

This time of the year there are birds everywhere. It’s nice to see all the different species. I am not an expert, but I try to learn a few new bird species every year.

Evening sun at Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki

I got to Pihlajaluoto where the group was staying just as the sun was going down. Not a bad evening to enjoy the Helsinki archipelago.

Clouds and evening sunshine

The calm sea, the clouds and the evening sun shine. A perfect combination to just sit on the rocks and relax. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay the night on the island, because I had a course to guide early next morning.

Sunset in a kayak, Helsinki, Finland

I got back to the paddling center just as the sun was setting. A short, but very enjoyable evening paddle. I certainly try to get out for short trips more often this summer. Now it is really cold again. Let’s just hope it gets a bit warmer really soon!

Vallisaari – the paradise island

I had a chance to visit Vallisaari before the real season kicks in there. The island opened to public last spring and already during the first summer there were about 90 000 visitors. It used to be a military island and big parts of the island remained untouched. This means the flora and fauna of the island is something special. There are about 1000 different species of butterflies on the island and a lot of plants you don’t find anywhere else in Southern Finland.

At sea in Helsinki

It is just a short boat trip from the market square and regular traffic to the island has already started for the season. It was a calm and sunny day and the boat trip was very enjoyable. It has been really cool for the last month, but now it actually felt warm.

View from Aleksanterin patteri to the sea

We didn’t have a lot of time on the island, so we almost straight headed to Aleksanterinpatteri. This used to be a fortification for the military because it rises high above the archipelago. This is the view south to the open sea.

View towards Helsinki from Vallisaari

The view towards Helsinki is also nice. There are no leaves on the trees yet, so it is going to look different in just a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can find time to visit the island again.

Small pond in Vallisaari

It’s hard to believe there is a place like this so close to the city centre of Helsinki. Just a few minutes by boat. There are three ponds on the island.

If you don’t have a lot of time in Helsinki and still want to experience the Finnish nature, going to Vallisaari is an easy option. It really feels like paradise on the island! Next time, though, I think I will kayak to the island. This makes the trip even more special.

Reflections on the water

I took some photos of the reflections on the water at Kiikunlähde. It was a beautiful place and I really like how the photos turned out. Not much to explain about them. Let me know what you think about the photos!

 

Easter in the Finnish countryside

We don’t have our own cottage as most of the Finns do, but Henna’s parents live about 3 hours from Helsinki. The place is close to all the services, but coming from Helsinki it still feels like coming to countryside.

Spring at Isojärvi National Park

And it is only a 30 minutes drive to Isojärvi National Park. We went there on Friday with some friends. We only walked to the closest fireplace. It was our babygirl’s first trip to a national park! The path was still icy and it took time to walk the few hundred meters with the strollers.

Grilling sausages at Isojärvi National Park

We made a fire to grill some sausages and marshmallows. It was a good time, but still pretty cold. Especially the gusts of cold wind made everyone feel cold since we were not moving a lot.

Snow and ice at Isojärvi National Park

The weather has been changing really quickly. In a couple of minutes sunshine turns into snow fall. It still feels to me, that spring is coming.

Länkipohja, Finland

The next day we went for a a walk and the weather was exactly the same. It was snowing and sunny at the same time.

The ice is melting at Längelmävesi, Finland

During the day, the ice is melting quickly, but it has still been really cold during the nights, well below zero, so it might take some time before the lakes are free from ice.

 

Kiikunlähde – a natural spring in Hollola

After seeing a few pictures of this place, we decided it was worth a visit! Kiikunlähde is one of the biggest natural springs in Finland. It is only about an hour’s drive from Helsinki, close to the city of Lahti.

Snow falling from a tree

We found the parking lot and from there it was only a few hundred meters to the place. It was sunny, but a bit windy. Waiting for Henna to change, I took some pictures of snow falling from the trees.

Kiikunlähde in Hollola from the road

After walking for just a few minutes the spring was on the right hand side. So even with my crutches it was easy to get here. But getting all the way down to the water was really steep and icy.

Kiikunlähde in Hollola, Finland

I tried walking down first, but pretty quickly realized that the safest way was to slide down. Once I got down I knew it certainly was worth it! It was just an amazing place.

Kiikunlähde natural spring

The color of the water was beautiful. The turquoise color is something you normally see somewhere in the Mediterranean, but not in Finland. There are 14 spots in the pool where the water comes up from the ground. And it’s a lot of water, approximately 7000 cubic meters per day. It is part of the biggest ground water deposits in Southern Finland.

Winter day at Kiikunläde in Hollola, Finland

When the water comes out of the ground it is about 5 degrees Celsius. So even in the winter the whole pool doesn’t freeze. The pool is about 400 metres long and 100 meters wide.

Reflections at Kiikunlähde natural spring

I also read that there are a lot of trout living in the pool. However we couldn’t see any of them now. Some people swim here in the summer, but I wouldn’t recommend it since some of the nearby houses take the drinking water straight from the pool. Parts of the shores are also private land. So only go down to the pool on places, where there is no fence or signs.

Turquoise water at Kiikunlähde natural spring

It was really beautiful here in the winter, but I think we need to try to visit the place in the summer too. Here is a link to the parking lot and the place, if you want to visit it.

I was happy to get out again. Let’s see if I can find more places like this to visit until my leg is better!