Helsinki: A Runner's Dream

Helsinki: Fresh air, sea views and spacious streets

I saw the beauty of this Nordic city when I ran the Helsinki Marathon in 2017. When I moved to Finland in 2019, I was happy to be able to run on Helsinki's streets again.

Here are four of Helsinki's best locations for runners.

1. Jätkäsaari

The peninsula of Jätkäsaari is located on the southern tip of Helsinki where the city meets the Gulf of Finland. The lively neighbourhood was once just barren land next to a working harbour. Now, impressively large passenger ships set for St Petersburg and Tallinn are seen daily by the residents who call the area home.

With wide, flat pavements that stretch out to the Gulf of Finland and green space that accounts for one-fifth of the trendy neighbourhood, Jätkäsaari has something for every runner. Thanks to its proximity to the sea, the area is home to incredible sunsets and has a cool climate in summer.

2. Kaivopuisto

With extensive flat grounds for sprinting, and large hills for endurance running, the natural terrain of this park will beet the settings on even the most high-tech treadmills.

The park is surrounded by some of Helsinki's most beautiful and iconic buildings, most painted in vibrant pastel yellow and green. You may also see some famous faces on this run, as the park's surrounding neighborhood is home to the ambassadors of the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, and Estonia.

3. Baana

If an experience of how real Helsinki people live is what you seek, then Baana is the route for you. This 1.3-kilometre path leads right into the heart of the city center and is used by around 700,000 commuting cyclists a year.

A wide flat path, shaded by a high wall, Baana is an endurance runner's dream.

It can also be used as part of a slower jogging route. The path leads to numerous great spots in Helsinki such as the Kasia Museum; a tourist hotspot surrounded by restaurants cafés and bars. No need to be thirsty when running on Baana.

4. Helsinki Cathedral

If you've ever wanted to reenact the scene from Rocky while giving your lungs and heart a great work out, then Helsinki Cathedral is the place for you. Based in the heart of the city, the neoclassical cathedral is located in the large and spacious senate square and contains enough external steps to give those calf muscles the work-out of a lifetime.

Running up the cathedral's famous steps will get you out of breath, but don't worry if you see stars when you reach the top. They are part of the beautiful design of the iconic domes.

So, if you want a new running experience then come to Helsinki, breathe some fresh air and enjoy the views.

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