• The Löyly design sauna will open in Helsinki in spring 2016. (c) Avanto-arkkitehdit
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New sauna culture and more archipelago nature in Helsinki

PRESS RELEASE 21.1.2016

Wellness is a highlight of Helsinki’s offerings in 2016. The new public design sauna Löyly and Helsinki Pool spa complex will both open this year. Visitors to Helsinki can also enjoy even more the archipelago nature when the island of Vallisaari opens to the public this spring.

“Helsinki combines the vibe of a capital city with the peace and quiet of nature in a truly unique way. This year Helsinki will offer many new opportunities to enjoy our maritime urban nature and sauna culture. Visitors spending a city break here will go home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, but also full of new experiences,” promises Maarit Pitkänen, Marketing Communications Director at Visit Helsinki.

The Finnish sauna culture is experiencing a revival in Helsinki. This year visitors will be able to enjoy new kinds of sauna experiences beside the sea in a cool urban milieu. The Löyly design sauna will open in spring 2016 just a short distance from the city centre on the southern tip of the Helsinki peninsula. The modern complex will also house a restaurant serving the finest Finnish cuisine, which visitors can enjoy while admiring the stunning views from the large terrace that stretches out over the sea.

Covering over 1800 square metres including terraces and with a profile height of 9 metres, the impressive building will also be a real design attraction as an example of contemporary wooden architecture that will be of interest to both domestic and foreign visitors.

Helsinki Pool in turn is a new kind of spa complex inspired by the historic spa heritage of the Baltic Sea that will open in the beginning of the summer next to the Market Square. By transforming what was once black asphalt into a green oasis, Helsinki Pool opens up more of the city’s shoreline for use by residents and visitors. Helsinki Pool will combine year-round swimming and sauna experiences with culture and entertainment. Visitors will be able to enjoy great food and city events, visit Centrum Balticum and admire Finnish cleantech expertise in practice. The sea spa will be open all year round at affordable prices, while admission to the restaurants and Centrum Balticum will be free of charge.

Helsinki also still has several traditional public saunas that offer a genuinely local experience. In addition, the first ever Helsinki Sauna Day will be held on 12 March, opening the doors to the private saunas of local residents and companies to all who are interested – friends and strangers alike. This event is being organised by the social innovations group Yhteismaa together with Visit Helsinki. For more information, see www.helsinkisaunaday.fi.

New recreational island of Vallisaari offers even more urban nature

Nature is ever present in Helsinki, even in the heart of the city. Green areas account for one-third of the total area, parks can be found everywhere and there are over 130 kilometres of shoreline.

“No one in Helsinki is more than 10 kilometres away from the shore, no matter what part of the city you are in. This makes Helsinki quite exceptional among European capitals,” Pitkänen says.

The archipelago off the coast of Helsinki will again offer a new attraction this year when the island of Vallisaari between Santahamina and Suomenlinna opens up to the public in May. With lots of unspoilt nature, the island will be the perfect destination for an outing. Formerly used by the Finnish Defence Forces, the island offers visitors the chance to enjoy its diverse flora and spectacular views, as well as its well preserved historic fortifications.

In its first year Vallisaari can be explored along marked trails, and guided tours will also be available. A café will open in the spring, and information boards, rest areas and dry toilets are also planned along with a guest harbour. A ferry connection from the Market Square will begin operating on 14 May 2016.

Visitors to Helsinki next summer will also be able to explore the sights and urban nature on new city bikes. Initially 500 bikes will be made available at 50 bike racks throughout the city, extending from Sörnäinen to the east and Ruoholahti to the west to Taka-Töölö to the north. Plans are for a total of 1500 city bikes at 150 bike racks to be made available in 2017.

Record pace for tourism in Helsinki

Helsinki enjoyed an upturn in tourism in 2015 despite a significant reduction in the number of visitors from Russia.

“We are expecting a new record for overnight stays in 2015. According to our estimates, the number of overnight stays increased by almost four percent last year, topping 3.4 million in total. Even though the number of overnight stays by visitors from Russia fell by almost 40 percent, this was more than offset by rapid growth among domestic visitors and visitors from Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Japan, China and many smaller incoming markets. Major events have had a big impact on tourism in Helsinki,” confirms Tuulikki Becker, CEO of Visit Helsinki.

Hotel capacity in Helsinki Region will increase by over 1000 rooms this year.

“It’s great to see Helsinki’s hotel capacity growing so fast again. We expect this to be reflected positively in a growing number of overnight stays and that it will help attract even more major international events to Helsinki,” Becker adds.

Further information:
Laura Saksala, Communications and Press Officer, Visit Helsinki, laura.saksala@hel.fi , tel. +358 9 310 25 855

Maarit Pitkänen, Marketing Communications Director, Visit Helsinki, maarit.pitkanen@hel.fi, t. 358 9 310 25970