This scenic path in the north of Helsinki is extremely popular with runners because it’s well-lit and cleared of snow in winter. The full 5.3-mile (8.5 km) loop laid out by Great Runs starts at Finlandia Hall, goes north up the waterfront past the music centre, continues towards the Olympic Stadium, Töölönlahti Bay, Hakaniemi, and returns through Kaisaniemi Park. Along the way, check out the statue of Finland’s most famous Olympic runner, ‘flying Finn’ Paavo Nurmi, who won nine gold medals in his career.
The city centre may be crowded, but there are still places to run and take in the sights at the same time. This Great Runs route starts at the Swedish Theatre in Esplanadi then enters the Senate Square, passes by the icon of the city, the Lutheran Cathedral, and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Make a loop around the Katajanokka Island and passes through the market square, the Presidential Palace, and the embassy buildings towards Kaivopuisto Park. The trail finishes through the classy districts of Eira and Ullanlinna and returns to Esplanadi. Some parts of this route can be uneven with tram tracks, old, cobbled streets, and crowds gather in certain areas, but it isn’t too difficult to navigate during a quiet weekday.
This route is beautiful in both summer and winter and passes by Hietaniemi Beach, Seurasaari Island, and the harbour with stunning views across the Baltic Sea. During the summer, check out the dazzling light dancing across the ocean and maybe jump in to cool down afterwards. In winter, take in the pristine and frozen landscape and relax in a hot sauna after a run. Some parts of this run can be crowded, full of traffic, and a little hilly, but routes can always be shortened or changed accordingly.