The Vanhakaupunki district refers to the Old Town of Helsinki because in the founding year of 1550 the city was originally located here. However, instead of old buildings and narrow alleys, what you will find here today is the whitewater of Vantaa river, beautiful city nature with lovely scenery and maybe some hobby fishermen. But that is basically just what I personally need to enjoy a sunny day when I want to relax!
The area is located a few kilometers north from the Kallio district and is accessible by buses and trams, also from the city center. It offers many interesting options besides chilling out. If I feel like wandering a bit more into the beautiful city nature, I will cross the bridge and take the small paths and the boardwalk to Lammassaari all the way to Kuusiluoto islands. That’s where you will even encounter sheep in the summer and feel completely like being outside the urban center!
A good idea is also to combine the Vanhankaupunginkoski experience with a visit to Iittala & Arabia Design Centre located next to the old Arabia ceramics factory (on Hämeentie) within a short walking distance. Inside, you can find shops, a gallery, a museum and other interesting things related to Finnish design. Before leaving the district, I might also visit the cozy local pub of Oljenkorsi with their incredible selection of craft beers as it is located very close (on Intiankatu) in the idyllic neighbourhood of Toukola and its wooden houses.