In Southern Finland, the beautiful Vantaa River meanders for 101 km from lake Erkylänjärvi in Hausjärvi to the Gulf of Finland at Vanhankaupunginselkä in Helsinki. My favourite thing about the river is the picturesque track that runs along both banks, perfect for cycling, running or walking. Along the way there are numerous places to swim, as well as some other attractions to make the journey more interesting. Here are a few of my favourite things I’ve discovered along the river.
Vantaa river opens at Vanhakaupunki (old town), where the river splits into two and empties into the Gulf of Finland
On one side of the fork, the river has been damned to create a Hydropower Plant (in 1876). While the station is still operational, there is also a museum at the site. On the calm banks just below the station are great spots for fishing, while the the other side of the fork has a river-side cafe with views over gentle rapids.
Further up the river there are numerous spots for swimming and rock jumping, with the most popular being Pikkukosken uimaranta.
The opposite bank to Pikkukosken beach has a beautiful meadow- great for picnics and sun-baking
Smaller sandy swimming spots are scattered along both sides of the river bank
These sites often have a toilet, change cubicle and shower, with many also including beach volleyball courts and kids play equipment.
On the left bank of the river, five kilometers up river from Vanhakaupunki, these stretches of communal gardens are where Finns spend summer weekends and afternoons growing veggies and flowers and enjoying their harvest with friends in the sun.
A little further along are brilliant yellow canola fields
And if you need to wash your floor mat the Finns even have a dedicated place for this!
End your journey with lunch at a converted 18th century manor house
A little further along, on the left side of the river, up a short field-lined lane-way, you’ll find Annan Kartano restaurant. Located in the old Tuomarinkylä Manor complex, this restaurant exudes country style and is the perfect end destination to your ride or wanderings. Serving seasonally based food and handmade pastries and treats, the restaurant is open Tuesday – Thursday 11am – 6pm, Friday and Saturdays from 11am – 9pm and Sunday from 11am – 6pm. The manner complex also has two beautiful boutiques, ByPias selling clothing and Country White offering decor and some clothing.