Vasikkasaari Nature Trail

Photo Credit Icon Nomaji Landscape Architects

Vasikkasaari Nature Trail

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In recent years, Helsinki has opened many of its islands, formerly used by the military, for visitors. Vasikkasaari can be reached by a public water bus or by a private boat. New structures have been built in order to facilitate day trips and to protect the delicate nature of the archipelago.

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    Cities and towns

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    National parks

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    UNESCO sites

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    UNESCO global geoparks

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    Main roads

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    Cruise ports

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    Paved road

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    River / Ocean

Architecture and landscape architecture.

Can big cities offer nature experiences?

The Vasikkasaari island was opened for public in 2019 as part of the Helsinki Maritime Strategy. A nature trail and visiting structures were designed to protect the fragile ecosystem of the island. Also new technology is used for surveillance of nature and visitor numbers, and for sharing information about natural features.

Innovative solutions for the good of nature

Vasikkasaari is situated close to Suomenlinna Fortress Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also on Vasikkasaari, there are historical military structures, but the island just a 15 minute water bus ride away from the city centre is worth visiting for its nature, too. In the design work for the visitor structures, extra attention was put on welcoming visitors with as little disruption to the delicate nature as possible. For example, woodchips were used to enforce the path and a bug hotel fence was created from branches left over from the works. Along the trail there is a small shelter and a picnic terrace with a table and a bench for visitors. The structures were designed as a part of the Urban Eco Islands project, which aims at developing ways to monitor and prevent erosion of the natural sites as visitor numbers increase. Vasikkasaari in Helsinki and an island in Tallinn are serving as pilots in the project. 

Key facts

  • Location

    Kruunuvuorenselkä, Helsinki, Region of Uusimaa in Southern Finland

  • GPS points

    N60°09'10.6" E25°00'47.5"

  • Estimated number of visitors a year

    4,000 (water bus connection only during summer)

  • Project Owner

    City of Helsinki

  • Designer

    Nomaji Landscape Architects

  • Year of construction


  • Materials

    Wood (larch)

  • Project budget

    1 M euros

  • Landscape type

    Coastline, waterscape

  • Larger Project Framework:

    Urban Eco Islands – Urban and Smart Island Tourism Destinations, joint EU project of Helsinki and Tallinn

  • Additional Notes

    In the project Urban Eco Islands new technologies are utilised innovatively, like drones for surveillance of the condition of the vegetation, a counter for visitor numbers and a “mobile nature trail” and signage to help notice the natural features of the island and the season.)