• Midsummer celebrations in Helsinki (c) Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki

Best of the Finnish Midsummer in Helsinki


The streets of Helsinki may fall silent on Finnish Midsummer, but for those celebrating “Juhannus” in the city there is still plenty to do.

Midsummer Eve celebrations at Seurasaari

Midsummer Eve has been celebrated on the recreational island of Seurasaari for over 60 years. The traditional celebrations began at 4pm on 19 June. This year visitors can get to the island also by boat, as a long-awaited waterbus service will operate between Kaivopuisto and Seurasaari.

The Midsummer Eve programme includes lots of entertainment and activities, from Finnish folk dancing and musical performances to the raising of the Midsummer Pole and pony rides. The traditional Midsummer Poles will be joined this year by a new urban Midsummer Pole, the result of an open design competition. The winning design will be selected on Midsummer Eve by designer Stefan Lindfors.

Bonfires are also part of the Finnish Midsummer traditions, and at Seurasaari visitors can compare bonfires from different parts of Finland. Alongside the nine traditional bonfires, a fire sculpture by artist Marika Walldén will be lit. The main bonfire will be lit by the Midsummer wedding couple at 10pm, and the evening culminates with dancing to the accompaniment of folk music. The Midsummer Eve celebrations continue at Seurasaari all the way until one o’clock in the morning.

Tickets cost 20 euros and children under the age of 15 are free of charge when accompanied by an adult. The waterbus operates between Merisatama (Kaivopuisto quay) and Seurasaari between 3pm and 11pm (www.aavalines.fi).

Midsummer Eve celebrations at Pihlajasaari

Juhannus will also be celebrated on the recreational island of Pihlajasaari, where the bonfire will be lit at 9pm on 19 June. Visitors can enjoy food and drinks to the accompaniment of dance music on the terrace of the restaurant; the kitchen will be open on Midsummer Eve until 6pm, after which the grill will be kept hot on the terrace. On Midsummer Day the restaurant will be open normally from 11am to 8:30pm. The JT-Line operates between Pihlajasaari and both Merisatama and Ruoholahti. A round-trip ticket costs 3.50 to 6 euros.

Midsummer Eve celebrations at Kaivopuisto, Kivinokka and Stansvik

Another Midsummer bonfire will be lit off the coast in front of Café Ursula by Kaivopuisto Park at 9:30pm. The restaurant will be open on Midsummer Eve from 9am to midnight, and items from the à la carte menu will be served until 9pm. The programme includes singing and music by accordionist Kari Vesa.

The Dallapé orchestra is celebrating its 90th anniversary and will perform at the Kivinokka dance pavilion, where the band was formed in 1925. A Midsummer bonfire will also be lit at Kivinokka, and snacks and coffee will be available from the buffet. The festivities at Kivinokka begin at 6pm.

Traditional Midsummer Eve celebrations will be held at Stansvik Manor in Laajasolo. A lunch buffet will be served from 10:30am to 2:20pm, while the evening celebrations begin at 8pm with live music. The restaurant will be open throughout the Midsummer holidays.

Midsummer Eve cruises

A great way to view all the Midsummer bonfires is from the sea. Midsummer cruises are offered by Strömma (www.stromma.fi), IHA-Lines (www.ihalines.fi), Royal Line (www.royalline.fi) and J.L. Runeberg (www.msjlruneberg.fi).  

Midsummer dances

We Love Helsinki organises traditional Midsummer dances each year. This year you can dance to Finnish hits and classics from Thursday 18 June to Saturday 20 June at the restaurant Kuudes Linja and Kaiku.

Midsummer Eve will also be celebrated at Linnanmäki Amusement Park, where dancing will take place to the accompaniment of Kaisa-Mari Ruokolainen & FoxPop on the main stage starting at 6pm on 19 June.

Midsummer saunas

Many public saunas in Helsinki will be open during the Midsummer holidays. Arlan sauna (Kaarlenkatu 15) will be open normally from 2pm to 8pm throughout the Midsummer weekend from 19 to 21 June. Kotiharjun sauna (Harjutorinkatu 1) will keep the fires burning from 12 noon to 4pm (5pm) on Midsummer Eve. Sauna Hermanni (Hämeentie 63) will also be open from 10am to 3pm on Midsummer Eve.

Midsummer delicacies

The quiet summer city is perfect for picnics with friends. Midsummer delicacies can be bought from Helsinki’s market halls still on Midsummer Eve, 19 June, from 8am to 12noon and from open-air markets until 3pm. The Market Square will be open also on 20 and 21 June from 10am to 5pm. Restaurants that will remain open throughout the Midsummer holidays include Sunn and Savotta in the Tori Quarter and Kappeli in Esplanade Park. For more tips, see the attached Midsummer bulletin.

Midsummer in the city inspires locals

This spring Visit Helsinki and Radio Helsinki carried out the HelsinkiSecret campaign to find out the city’s secret. Midsummer in Helsinki was mentioned by several locals:

”My Helsinki secret is walking around the city on summer nights when the streets are quiet. Midsummer Eve and Day are also perfect for experiencing Helsinki when it is deserted. You can listen to music on your headphones and sing out loud without anyone hearing. Perfect.”

“I spent Midsummer a few years ago in Kruunuvuori by the sea. We gathered together our friends and acquaintances who had remained in the city for the holidays and cycled in the heat to Laajasalo. We packed with good food and picnic blankets. The biggest surprise was when we got there. Among all the dilapidated summer villas in Kruunuvuori was one old cottage that had a sign on the door: “This cottage is everyone’s, yours too”. Inside was a bunk bed and bed linen, and there were mats on the floor and curtains in the windows. Our hot summer Midsummer culminated in a cottage party by the sea just 10 km from the city centre.”

For more tips: Midsummer bulletin

Find out more about Helsinki’s secrets: www.helsinkisecret.fi

Press images: http://materialbank.visithelsinki.fi/?cart=1438-ieflahlcga&l=EN

Further information: Laura Saksala, Communications and Press Officer, Visit Helsinki/Helsinki Marketing Ltd, laura.saksala@hel.fi , tel. +358 9 310 25855