Samuli Karjula's Satokausikalenteri ('Harvest Calendar') encourages seasonal eating through information and inspiration. He was selected as the food influencer of the year, and took home the City of Helsinki Food Culture Award in 2015. Samuli's Helsinki is composed of restaurants, urban berry picking, mushroom hunting and everything outdoors mixed with good food.
TOUR DE VANTAANJOKI
Start the trip at the Vanhankaupunginkoski Rapids with a lunch at Koskenranta. The area has many places worth visiting, such as the Museum of Technology. Start walking north on the eastern paths of the Vantaanjoki river. At Savela, take a step away from the riverside to check out the Savela skate park, where you will also find a café. The profits are for a good purpose, and you can enjoy the graffiti while enjoying a cup of coffee.
After this pitstop, the journey continues along the eastern bank of the river towards the Tapaninvainio beach - with an ice cream stand in the summer. When reaching the beach, switch to the western side of the river. The enjoyable fields quiet down after passing underneath the Tuusulanväylä motorway. The Haltiala farm provides a nice stop for supper. You can pet sheep, observe pigs, chickens, cows and other animals. In addition to traditional cereals, the fields also provide peas and flowers, which city-dwellers can freely collect in July-August. The precise timing depends on the ripeness and blooming.
The Haltiala farm also houses the restaurant Wanha Pehtoori, serving excellent donuts alongside hot dogs, burgers and drinks. There is also a communal barbecue grill that visitors can use between the hours 7am-11pm, provided you bring your own wood or coal.
If you are done with walking, the bus 615 takes you back to the city directly from the farm. I highly recommend to keep going, however. The next leg is the same as before, but instead of crossing the river again at the Tapaninvainio beach, you take a turn westward towards the Tuomarinkylä manor, classified as a cultural heritage site. When you get there, you understand why. Nowadays the manor also houses a horseback riding school and a shop, not forgetting coffee.
After the stop, the walk continues along the western bank towards the sea. You can make a stop at the allotment garden of Pakila with its little beach, exercise equipment, plus beach volley ball and basketball courts. Another option is the nearby allotment garden of Oulunkylä, open for public throughout the summer and found just after passing underneath the Kehä I highway and the train tracks. A great spot for a moment's contemplation is the old sauna house and dock at the riverfront by the garden.
The last sight before the final destination is the Pirunkallio rock. There is no official route to reach its top, but a walk along the riverbank and following the path will surely get you on top. Down below you can see the Pikkukoski beach, with a diving tower, basketball court and other beachside amenities. The Oulunkylä train station is a short walk away. Another option to head back downtown is the bus 65.
The whole walk is around 17 kilometres, so be sure to leave enough time for this journey. The path is also suitable for strollers and bikes. You can rent a kayak, canoe or SUP board at the Tapaninvainio beach, so you can take in the scenery also along the water. If you don't like to pay for restaurants, there is a great array of raspberry bushes, mushrooms, currant bushes gone wild, old apple trees and fishing spots along the way. Towards the end of the summer, be sure to bring a bucket. This is the highlight of the Tour de Vantaanjoki. The other good thing is that you don't even need to cross over to Vantaa from Helsinki, regardless of the name.
Pihlajanmäki Skate Park
Restaurant Wanha Pehtoori
Kayak rental, Tapaninvainio
TAIVASKALLIO, KÄPYLÄN MAJAKKA, AND OLD KIOSK
Taivaskallio in Käpylä is the highest natural rock in Helsinki. You can see the apartment houses of Pihlajanmäki, the ski jumping tower of Herttoniemi, the Helsinki Zoo and way out onto the sea. There is also a memorial for young soldier boys and girls volunteering in the war. The rock played a significant role in the capital's air defence during the war. Several old structures can still be found around, and while observing the scenery, it becomes clear why this place was suitable for its purpose.
Taivaskallio is an excellent picnic spot. On a sunny day, the gentle breeze here cools down nicely. For picnic supplies, head to Käpylän Majakka for sushi, or to Café Sose for something sweet.
After your picnic, head over to the old kiosk in Käpylä. There is usually a crowd and music. For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to the park found on the eastern side of the Käpyläntie street, in the Koskela hospital premises. The park is beautiful and soothing.
P.S. Taivaskallio is also a great raspberry spot. Head on the path starting on the northern side, heading towards the Vanhakaupunki water refinery. The whole path is dotted with raspberry bushes. If you follow the powerlines, you can also reach the Oulunkyläntienkenttä playground - with many apple trees and a boules court.
Malmi Many locals have yet to visit the district of Malmi. A friend said that the best Nepalese restaurant in town is found there, and I understand this opinion: Makalu is housed inside the Malmi Nova shopping centre. If in the area, another visit can be paid to Thai - Thai, the best Thai restaurant in town, according to some. The overpass at the Malmi train station has a vegetable stand that has top quality products for a cheap price. The focus is on the Middle East - with aubergines and herbs growing much stronger in taste then the supermarket varieties.
Malmi is also home to the Fallkulla Farm - a petting zoo with farm animals, as well as a cafe with traditional homemade berry tarts and other treats from local products.