Day 11.  Villa Elfvik and Laguuni Water Park

Villa Elfvik is located in Espoo close to the centre of Helsinki and it was from there that we started our countryside walk.  It’s an art nouveau villa on the edge of the Laajalahti Nature Reserve, inside we found exhibitions relating to the diverse nature of Espoo as well as a children’s adventure area ‘Badger’s Wood’.  In the villa’s attractive dining room there is a cafe called ‘Satakieli’ but this is only open at weekends.

Villa Elfvik, Espoo

Nature trails begin at the villa and are clearly signposted.  There is a short (700 metre) boardwalk trail to a birdwatching lookout tower which we took first and from where we had some far reaching views across the wetlands.  Laajalahti Nature Reserve is one of the best bird watching areas in the Helsinki area.

Laajalahti Nature Reserve, Espoo

The nature reserve consists mostly of open water and boardwalk trails alongside the reed beds, shore line and meadows.  Near this trail we looked in the old boat shed which is now an exhibition centre with photographs of birds which populate this area.  From the ceiling a large wooden bird hangs and children can pull a cord to let it rise and fall and see its wings flap.  A little boy was doing just that, and having lots of fun.

Inside the old boat shed

Leaving there, we embarked on the longer 3 km boardwalk trail to Maarinlahti.  The boards are well maintained but are very narrow down to one plank width in places.  I remarked to my husband that you wouldn’t want to be walking along them after a few drinks and then a couple of minutes later and not having had a drink, I obviously wasn’t concentrating and fell over the edge!  Fortunately I landed in a dry area and after being pulled back up I continued along the trail no worse for my slight mishap.

The Maarinlahti Bird Watching Tower

There were fine views from the top of the birdwatching tower and as we only had a pair of binoculars with us some very friendly Finnish ornithologists let us take a look through their spotting scopes to view a wide variety of waders and terns.

Old summerhouse near Villa Elfvik

The nature trail ends here but we continued along the coastal path to Otaniemi which is also a scenic forest walk alongside the water.  A little further on we passed the large Aalto University campus which overlooks the bay.  The students are very fortunate to be able to study in such a tranquil environment with stunning scenery on their doorstep.

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Wakeboarding with paddleboarders behind

Later in the day we had a walk over to the Laguuni watersports centre at Keilaniemi just a short distance from where we were staying.  Laguuni has only recently opened and it was fun to watch people wakeboarding, holding onto a rope attached to a cable mechanism.

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A wakeboarder successfully jumping over one of the ramps

The cable follows a circuit laid out with ramps and other obstacles anchored into the bay.  Some people seemed to be experts whilst others were trying their best to stay on their feet but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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Preparing to flyboard

I’ve seen cable wakeboarding before but flyboarding was a new experience for me to observe.  The flyboard rider stands on a board connected by a long hose to a boat.  Pressurised water is then forced through nozzles into the rider’s boots enabling them to fly up to 15m in the air.  Spectacular to watch but not something I would try myself!  It was then back to our apartment after an evening watching these thrill seekers.

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Flyboarding high over the water

32 thoughts on “Day 11.  Villa Elfvik and Laguuni Water Park

  1. Wow. Great photos. It is always bemusing to me to see people doing water sports in wetsuits. In my environment, where it is summer almost all year, we shrink away from the water sports in our short winter! When really we could just wear a wetsuit!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laguuni looks like a lot of fun, I have not had a chance to go there yet, thank you for the introduction! I have finally arrived back home to Helsinki after 2 months in Turkey, will definitely check out your Finland posts as soon as I am settled back home 🙂 Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Marion.

    Sorry for “delayed” comment. Yesterday we drove again to Oulu 8½, slow due to roadworks, to spend some days there. This part of Espoo is quite unknown to me, because we lived short time in Eastern part of Espoo before moving to Nurmijärvi. Your post offered gorgeous photos and interesting information. Do You know what is the difference between summerhouses and Gazebos? When I looked at my old post from 2010: Here:

    Mäntyharju with its gazebos,

    I noticed that Gazebos seems to be more “elegant” than summerhouses. 🙂

    Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like a wonderful day – some serenity followed by thrills. Couldn’t ask for much more. That area is beautiful. Thanks for the pictures! I have never heard of flyboarding. Do they just stay in one place or do they move across the lake?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Those nature trails with the boardwalks look so lovely for a walk – glad you didn’t get hurt or wet when you fell off Marion!! We’ve seen someone flyboarding in Liverpool – didn’t know what it was called but it was fascinating to watch. Don’t think I’d try it myself either…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad no-one else was around to see me when I lost my footing on the narrow plank. The boardwalk was mostly over swamps and mud so I was very lucky that I tripped over in a dry bit. I was more concerned about my camera than myself as it was in my hand. Fortunately it didn’t touch the ground and after my husband dusted me down we carried on!! I would never try wakeboarding or flyboarding but it was fun to watch. It’s interesting you saw it in Liverpool. I saw it in Turku as well on the day we visited the Tall Ships but nowhere else yet. Thank you for your much appreciated thoughts Joy. M.

      Liked by 1 person

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