We’ve been enjoying some lovely summer weather here in Helsinki over the last few weeks – most days have been really comfortable with temperatures in the low 20’s. However we’ve also had some “helle” days – this is the term for days when the temperature exceeds 25°C (helle = heat). While Finns are good at appreciating good weather, they generally really relish helle days – the parks are full of people enjoying the sun and the warmth. The city feels like a happier place, and even the media enjoys celebrating the good outdoor conditions.
Yesterday’s weather was nice and hot again (you can see the temperature record below; courtesy of FMI’s excellent website) – so Brigitte and I decided to head off to one of the city’s beaches to cool down (our apartment gets quite hot with the afternoon sun). We had quite a few choices (you can see lists of beaches in Helsinki here and here, and a useful map here if you search for “uimaranta” = swimming beaches), but decided on Hietaniemi beach.
Hietaniemi uimaranta (hieta = fine sand, niemi = cape or peninsula) is one of the most popular beach in the city, and according to Wikipedia is completely fake: “In the beginning of the 20th century the remote area of Hietaniemi was being used as a landfill and was converted into an area for sand storage. Sand was brought in by barges from the bottom of the sea for a number of years. The sand was never really used, however, but was just left there to spread. In 1929, the locals adopted the area as a sand beach.” However, neither we nor the 100 or so other people there late yesterday afternoon seems to mind that the beach was artificial!
The sea water temperature was a chilly 13°C (according to this website), so it was nice and refreshing after the warm day. There was a really nice vibe on the beach, and I would recommend a visit! However, if you want a swim or a quiet walk you should probably avoid Hietaniemi on the 15th of August – there’s going to be a massive concert held on the beach. I’m not sure how everybody and everything will fit in the available space…
And finally, this is not the best wide-angle photo we’ve taken… but it at least gives an impression of the beach (created by stitching together 5 photos in the onlineDermandar app).