Espoo, Finland – the perfect winter break

Espoo lies close to Helsinki in southern Finland and despite not being as well known as the capital city, it is a lovely place to spend a few days.  The city boundary covers the attractive centres of Tapiola and Matinkylä and the beautiful Nuuksio National Park.

Getting there:

Helsinki Airport Rail Station
Helsinki Airport Rail Station

Arrive into Helsinki Vantaa Airport (flights from the U.K. with British Airways, Finnair and the low cost carrier Ryanair).  From the terminal building rail station take one of the I or P trains (every 15 minutes’ to Helsinki Central Station and then transfer to the metro onto to Matinkylä taking just 55 minutes with a single ticket €4.10 (£3.62).


Hotel Matts, Matinkylä, Espoo,, Finland
Hotel Matts, Matinkylä

Hotel Matts is a luxurious, modern 4 star hotel in Matinkylä and is conveniently located with a metro station entrance just outside its doors.

Hotel Matts Restaurant Matinkylä
Hotel Matts Restaurant Matinkylä

The accommodation comprises rooms, suites and apartments and is an ideal base for touring the surrounding area.

Iso Omena Shopping Centre, Matinkyla
Iso Omena Shopping Centre, Matinkylä

Located next to the hotel is the newly extended Iso Omena shopping centre containing more than 100 stores, restaurants and a cinema complex.  It’s open until late each evening and perfect for a wander round after a day of sightseeing.

Suggested activities:

Espoo Coastal Route

Matinkyla Coastal Route, Espoo, Finland
Matinkyla Coastal Route

The Espoo coastal route extends for 27 km along the scenic Gulf of Finland shoreline.  At any time of year pleasant walks along forest coastal paths can be enjoyed.  Take in the scenic views out to sea and pause for a coffee or lunch at a seaside cafe.  There are several inviting cafes to choose from and one suggestion is Nokkalan Majakka, a gorgeous seaside cafe close to Matinkylä.

Nokkalan Majakka, Matinkylä
Nokkalan Majakka, Matinkylä

It’s open daily until 8.00 p.m. (10.00 p.m. at weekends) serving pastries, snacks and full meals.  I recommend their daily soup buffet especially the irresistible creamy salmon soup on offer at weekends.


Haukilahti, Espoo
Haukilahti, Espoo

Haukilahti is another attractive place to visit and can be reached easily by a short bus ride from Matinkylä.  There’s a large marina, beach and cafes to explore and then you can follow the coastal walkway back to the hotel passing some beautiful villas and pretty beaches along the way.


Tapiola was designed as a garden city and constructed during the 1950’s and 1960’s, its name being derived from Tapio, the forest God of Finnish mythology.  The city’s architecture and landscaping combining urban living in natural surroundings brought worldwide fame for Finnish urban planning.

Tapiola metro station, Espoo, Finland
Tapiola metro station

On exiting the orange metro train in Tapiola station, a large white sculpture greets you on the platform.  It’s called “Emma leaves no trace” and was created by Kim Simonsson.  This forms part of an installation of colourful handprints spread around the metro station and is linked to the EMMA Museum of Modern Art which is one of the cluster of four Tapiola museums.

Ice skating at Tapiola, Espoo Finland
Ice skating at Tapiola

Start by taking a stroll around the attractive central lake and fountains just outside the metro station.  In winter the lake is transformed into a winter wonderland ice rink with a 330m skating track around the pool.

A trip through time exhibition, KAMU, Espoo City Museum, Tapiola
A trip through time exhibition, KAMU, Espoo City Museum, Tapiola

It’s just a 15 minute walk to the WeeGee Exhibition Centre which is home to two museums, a cafe and museum shop.  Entrance is €20 (free each Friday after 5.00 p.m.) covering admission to the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA) and Espoo City Museum KAMU.  The WeeGee building was constructed in the 1960’s for the Finnish printing company Weilin and Göös as their new print works.  Next door to WeeGee are two more interesting museums, Leikki – The Museum of Play, popular with young children and the Finnish Museum of Horology and Jewellery – Kruunu which  is dedicated to timepieces and the history of measuring time.  The museum’s collections have their origins in 1944 when the Finnish School of Watchmaking was founded.

Kruunu, The Finnish Museum of Horology and Jewellery, Tapiola
Kruunu, The Finnish Museum of Horology and Jewellery, Tapiola

Afterwards take a look in some of the shops in the attractive, modern Ainoa Shopping Centre including the Stockmann department store then take the lift up to Food Garden on the 3rd floor for a bite to eat.  I recommend Bistro O Mat which offers a delicious lunch menu with salad buffet.

Nuuksio National Park 

Explore Nuuksio National Park which can easily be reached by public transport.  Buses 243 and 244 run from Espoo station to Siikaniemi, taking you to the southern part of the national park.  More detailed directions are available from

Panoramic screen, Haltia Finnish Nature Centre, Finland
Finnish Nature Centre Haltia

Start off at the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, where visitors can learn about Finnish nature in Nuuksio and a little about Finland’s other national parks.  The southernmost reindeer park in Finland lies within walking distance of the centre as does Solvalla (Swinghill) ski centre.  With two lifts and 1 km of slopes it’s an opportunity to go ski-ing, snowboarding or snowshoeing beside frozen lakes and snow capped forests close to the cities of both Espoo and Helsinki.

Nuuksio Lux
Nuuksio Lux festival of light

Lux Nuuksio: This annual festival of light takes place in the national park during January each year.  Enjoy Nuuksio by following candlelight trails lit by ice lanterns illuminating the forests and lakes at the darkest time of year.

Winter barbecue, Nuuksio National Park, Espoo, Finland
Enjoy a winter barbecue

During the festival visitors can watch actors perform fire juggling and other activities and then cook tasty sausages in an outdoor fireplace and warm up with a hot drink.


Senate Square, Helsinki
Senate Square, Helsinki

With the metro link from Matinkylä or Tapiola to the centre of Helsinki taking no more than 25 minutes, visitors to Espoo are also well placed to enjoy the beautiful sights of the  Finnish capital.

Winter at Helsinki seaside
Winter at Helsinki seaside

For suggestions of things to see and do in Helsinki you may like to follow the links below:

Helsinki – a guide of what to see and do

Helsinki – Free things to see and do



37 thoughts on “Espoo, Finland – the perfect winter break

  1. It’s quite amazing that within easy reach of the Finnish capital, you can escape into wild natural settings and enjoy typically Finnish scenery. Therefore I love visiting bustling metropolis that is rich in culture but still firmly rooted in nature. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Espoo seems like a wonderful place to visit year round. Even though I am not much of a winter lover and don’t normally seek out cold destinations, winter in Finland has a romantic appeal. The festival of light sounds like a particularly good time to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The snowy scenery looks lovely. It sounds like there’s a nice mix of indoor and outdoor activities in Espoo. Naturally my interest piqued at the mention of its close proximity to Nuuksio National Park. It’s great that it can be easily accessed by public transit. Visiting during the annual festival of light sounds like it would be a memorable experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How beautiful is the coastal route … with a bowl of salmon soup somewhere along the way … sounds good to me! Oh, a winter barbecue – I would love this (wrapped in the thickest coat I can buy 😉)! Beautiful photos Marion – you sell Espoo very well to potential travellers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So nice that the metro links it all together. That is good planning from start to Finnish. I would likely find it odd to visit during winter, coming from a winter climate, but the chance to see reindeer and Northern Lights might do the trick. Thanks for the post Marion. Have a great Saturday. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

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