Never heard of Espoo Finland? No, I hadn’t either until I visited it as part of Finnair’s “Stopover Finland” project. I visited Espoo after my trip to Finnish Lapland. I pronounced it “Es -poo”, instead of “Es-po”. But after spending a day there sampling what the area has to offer, I’ll never forget it. It gives you a taste of Lapland, just 30 minutes from Finland’s capital, Helsinki.
So whether you only have a few hours in Finland, or a week, there are plenty of things to do in Espoo Finland. From the nature centre, Haltia Nuuksio, to the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, you won’t be bored in Espoo. Here’s my top 10.
Espoo Finland – 10 Things to See & Do
1) Try cross country skiing
OK, so I didn’t do this because I’ve only had one skiing lesson and one snowboarding lesson in my life, but it looks like fun. I’m going to assume that most of you are more experienced skiers than I am, so you’ll be fine! Espoo has over 200km of ski tracks so there’s plenty of different tracks to choose from.
2) Take a dip in the ice cold waters
You can do this one of two ways. Firstly, you can try the classic Finnish post-sauna ritual of the ice-dip. This is a super quick dip into the freezing waters of the nearest lake whilst being completely naked or wearing just your swimsuit. Secondly, you can LAYER UP, including a bright orange dry suit which makes you look and feel like an astronaut, and take a dip in a nearby lake for a prolonged period of time. I loved both experiences, though the dry suit experience with Sea & Mountain Adventures was particularly magical when it was snowing. This should be top of your list of things to do in Espoo.
3) Feed the reindeer
Eh, YES PLEASE. It doesn’t get much more “Winter Wonderland” than this. Sea & Mountain Adventures took me & my group to see Rudloph and his pals. We fed them “reindeer lichen” imported from Lapland. Just make sure you have a firm grip on the lichen or they’ll have it ripped out of your hand in seconds.
4) Visit the Finnish Nature Centre, Haltia Nuuksio
This eco-friendly building is the home of all Finnish nature. Haltia Espoo is a unique, immersive eco-experience. You can crawl into a bear’s nest, is nest the right word? And into a duck’s egg. There is A LOT to see in Finnish nature so give yourself some time for this one. This is one of the most popular things to do in Espoo Finland and definitely deserves to be on your Espoo bucketlist.
5) Get lost in Nuuksio national park (not literally)
Into natural beauty? Then Nuuksio national park in Espoo is the place for you! Take a trip with Feel the Nature and immerse yourself in the otherworldly beauty of this national park. Pick wild berries and mushrooms, go snowshoeing, sip hot berry drinks and take way too many photos of this gorgeous part of the world.
6) Espoo museum of modern art
If you’re the creative type then this might be more your style. I usually prefer a modern art museum to a more traditional one myself. The Espoo Museum of Modern Art, or EMMA, focuses mainly on Finnish artists but also has visiting exhibitions from around the world.
7) Take a hike
Kaitalampi Lake near Nuuksio National Park is the perfect spot for a scenic hike. The southern side of the lake is a bit quieter and less crowded. In summer it’s a great spot for a BBQ and a swim in the lake. There’s ever changing facilities available. In winter it’s wonderful for skiing and skating.
8) Visit Serena Waterpark
Ok, so I know when people usually talk about waterparks it involves a hot tropical country. However, Finland has waterparks too and one of them happens to be in Espoo. It has an indoor and an outdoor section and is open all year round with only small periods of closure around Christmas. I’m a BIG fan of their crazy multicoloured slides. The more loops the better. This is one of the most fun things to do in Espoo for all ages.
9) Take a trip out to the islands
Espoo has 165 islands. Who knew?! Several of them can be reached by scheduled boat service/water bus. This service runs from June to August. The islands are the perfect place to camp for a night. There are also plenty of water sports available in the area. So if you came to Espoo Finland for outdoors and adventure I’d definitely recommend a trip to the islands.
10) Tapiola Ice Park
Skating at the artificial ice rink here is available and free of charge during the winter. It is unusual in that it is not a traditional ice rink. It is more of a 330m ice “track”, like a running track but for ice-skating. You skate around a central pool.
Where to Stay in Espoo
Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the night in Espoo but I’ve asked some of my Finnish friends and there are plenty of wonderful places to stay. To get the best deal I recommend checking out HotelsCombined, which I only recently discovered. Honestly, it’s amazing.
I just searched hotels in Espoo for August and there was a stunning 4* hotel (Sokos Hotel in Tapiola Gardens) for €100 per night. On the official hotel website for the same date it cost €194 and on another big booking website it cost €195. So using HotelsCombined would have saved me €94. Madness! That’s an extra €94 to spend on doing fun things in Espoo! So there you have it, my top tip.
Have you ever been to Espoo Finland? Is it on your list?
It should be.
Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything out on my list.
I’ll add it in 🙂
You can read more about Espoo Finland on their tourism website – here.
**My trip to Espoo Finland was organised via NBEFinland & Stopover Finland. However, all opinions are, as always, my own.