Finn’s love their coffee, consuming the most per capita in the world. As you might expect, there’s a vibrant coffee culture and to experience the best that Finland has to offer you really need to try an authentic cinnamon bun (korvapuusti). Versions of these buns have been around since the 18th century and it has become a firm national favourite. The Finnish language has a special term for coffee and bun ‘pullakahvi’ and there’s even a Cinnamon Bun Day to celebrate this delectable treat which takes place on 4th October each year.
I’ve visited Helsinki numerous times and decided that it would be a good idea to put together a list of my favourite seaside cafes that you might like to call into when visiting the city.
This quaint small red cottage has a large outdoor terrace overlooking the sea. You can even buy sausages in the cafe and grill them on the barbecue outside. The cafe is extremely popular on sunny days and there is often a lengthy queue of people waiting to be served, but be patient as it is definitely worth the wait.
Address: Cafe Regatta, Merikammantie 8, 00260 Helsinki. Take Bus 24 or 25 from Kamppi Bus station (journey time around 15 minutes) and alight at Sibelius Park.
Admire the Sibelius Monument consisting of more than 600 hollow steel pipes welded together to form a wave like pattern dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Continue through the park towards the sea from where you will be able to spot Cafe Regatta on your left. Rather than returning to the city centre by bus you can walk along the picturesque coastal path to the west passing Hietaniemi Beach. The path leads to Ruoholahti from were you can return to the centre easily by metro or tram.
Munkkiniemi is an affluent suburb easily accessible from the centre by public transport. Enjoy a peaceful walk along the sea shore to the beach which is well equipped with showers and changing rooms. Retrace your steps and relax with a cup of coffee at Cafe Torporanta. There’s a cosy interior with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the sea and a spacious terrace from where you can watch the glorious sunsets. The menu includes soup, salads, sandwiches and their signature cheesecakes.
Address: Cafe Torpanranta, Munkkiniemenranta 2, 00330 Helsinki. Take tram 4 to its terminus and you will find the cafe on your left.
This classic Helsinki cafe is located on the water’s edge close to Kaivopuisto Park. It’s a wonderful setting for watching yachts pass by and for views across to Suomenlinna Island. There’s a wide range of food on offer served both indoors and out on the terrace. Walking from the market square to this cafe takes around 30 minutes and is a delightful stroll passing the Olympic Terminal then continuing along the shoreline with views out to the archipelago. For a change of scene, return to the centre through the beautiful Kaivopuisto Park.
Address: Cafe Ursula, Ehrenströmintie 3, 00140 Helsinki
Take tram 2 or 3 to Kaivopuisto Park
Lauttasaari is an idyllic island to the west of Helsinki connected by road bridges and more recently the metro. It’s a haven of tranquility with its many nature trails, yacht harbours, and beaches. The walking path around the island is 6.7 km in length or for a more leisurely stroll I suggest taking the metro to Lauttasaari station, following signposts to the sea and continuing as far as Koivusaari station. On the way you will pass the gorgeous wooden Cafe Paseo which is only four years old yet blends in with its surroundings beautifully. Indoors, there’s a cosy fireplace to sit around and enjoy a drink plus a shady terrace with pretty coastal views through the trees. The menu includes a wide range of hot meals, cakes and pastries.
Address: Cafe Paseo, Itälahdenkatu 1A, Helsinki 00210. Take the metro to Lauttasaari station.
This hidden gem is located in Vuosaari at the eastern end of the metro line, taking around 25 minutes by metro. From the station follow signs to the seafront and enjoy a stroll along the Aurinkolahti promenade passing upscale apartments overlooking the waterfront. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to this delightful small cafe which is located beside the marina. There are several tables inside with a large terrace to three sides to enjoy the views. Specialities include creamy salmon soup, pancakes and homemade pastries.
Combine a visit to the cafe with a walk along the Uutela nature trail which commences from the edge of the marina. There are two walking trails forming a figure of 8. We usually take the longer one which is 2.5km in length. The trail passes through woodland, continuing on to the rugged coastline. At the midway point there’s a cooking shelter where walkers can stop for a picnic and cook their own sausages.
Address: Cafe Kampela, Uutelantie 1, 00990 Helsinki. Take the metro to Vuosaari. its eastern terminus
Cafe Sinisen Kahvila (Blue Villas Cafe)
Another, picture perfect cafe located in a small blue cabin overlooking Töölö Bay. This popular outdoor cafe specialises in pastries and coffees. It’s easy to access from a path at the rear of the Central Railway Station which leads to Töölö Bay. The cafe is located on a hill top with delightful views. Combine your coffee stop with a walk around the bay. This footpath is frequented mainly by locals and there are some lovely views of city landmarks and beautiful old villas.
Address: Blue Villas Cafe, Linnunlauluntie 11, 00530 Helsinki. Take a tram, bus or train to the Central Railway Station (many options available)
Located by the water on the southern edge of the city, it’s another of Helsinki’s classic cafes boasting a varied menu served either indoors or out on the large terrace. The cafe has some lovely views and in summer you will be able to watch a constant stream of sailing boats pass by. Just behind the cafe is a public ferry to Pihlajasaari Island which operates during the summer months and is a very popular day out for local residents.
Address: Cafe Carusel, Merisatamanranta 10, 00150 Helsinki, Tram 1, 3 or 6 and followed by an 8 minutes walk to the cafe.
A canal-side cafe/restaurant at the water’s edge in the Ruoholahti district of the city. A large selection of dishes are on offer together with speciality teas and coffees. Its terrace is a great place to soak up the the afternoon sun. Combine refreshments with a walk beside the canal to the newly developed Jätkäsaari district or in the other direction head back into town along the canal towards Kamppi.
Address: Faro, Kellosaarenranta 2, 00180, Helsinki. Metro: Ruoholahti Station
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