This European Country Has A Lesser-Known Island For Unique, Crowd-Free Winter Adventures

When you're looking to enjoy a scenic escape in the wintertime, setting your travel sights on Finland as a vacation destination is always a good choice. The capital city of Helsinki is particularly popular among visitors thanks to its beautiful Gulf of Finland location, an array of fascinating museums to explore, fantastic food to enjoy, and inspiring architecture to admire. Statista reported the former Olympic city of Helsinki welcomed around 764,000 foreign tourists in 2022 adding to a year-round population of nearly 658,500 residents according to the last count at Visit Finland.

The ample seasonal snowfall, glittering terrain, and chilly temperatures that define the Finnish landscape are often reason enough for winter enthusiasts to bundle up and head to Helsinki in the name of fun. However, if you're looking for even more reasons to enjoy a trip in this direction, lesser-known Uunisaari promises to inspire you further. This charming island spans approximately 7.4 acres and is a popular place for visitors and locals alike to enjoy crowd-free winter outings. It's found in southern Helsinki within easy reach of Kaivopuisto Park.

Uunisaari is unique in that it's typically referred to as a single destination but in reality, it's two separate land masses. The areas are separated by a channel, but a small wooden bridge is all you have to conquer to travel between sides. A popular wintertime activity to enjoy here is exploring the many snow-covered roads that maze their way across both sections of the island.

Seasonal activities to enjoy when visiting Uunisaari

The route you take to reach Uunisaari in the wintertime is unique to the season. During the summer months, there's no way to walk to the island when you're looking to enjoy and explore the scenic surroundings. It's only between November and April exclusively that a pontoon bridge is set up between the mainland and Uunisaari. This allows outdoor adventurers to shuffle their way across the snowy bridge and savor beautiful views out over the frigid water. It's good to take advantage of these seasonal island access points that are closed off in the summer as soon as ferry service returns once again.

A highlight for many winter travelers looking forward to exploring Uunisaari is the chance to enjoy the Helsinki skyline from a new vantage point. The island provides just enough distance to set the city up as a great backdrop for a winter photo. You can also admire Kaivopuisto Park's many towering shoreline trees from this location as well as Harakka Island in the distance.

If you're looking to expand your winter trekking adventures, there's a long bridge leading from Uunisaari directly to the neighboring island of Liuskasaari to traverse. The most adventurous of winter outdoor enthusiasts are even known to take to the icy waters in this area and enjoy a winter swim. While this certainly isn't for everyone, visitors might be surprised to find it's a relatively common practice throughout Finland when temperatures plummet.

Expand your winter fun in Finland

Once you've arrived in Finland, it doesn't take long to realize that there are very few activities you can't enjoy in the wintertime in this inviting European country. That even includes time spent on the shoreline when temperatures fall. You're more than welcome to make the most of a beach day when you visit Uunisaari, but you're going to want to be sure you're sufficiently bundled up to enjoy it. There are fire pits and picnic tables on the beach for wintertime use when you bring your own firewood along for the adventure. If you're traveling with a canine companion, dogs are welcome to join you on Uunisaari in the winter as long as they always remain leashed.

When it's time to thaw out, winter adventurers will be relieved to know that Uunisaari is also home to two public saunas specifically designed to warm up cold-weather explorers. You don't need to have a reservation in place to enjoy a session, but fees do vary depending on your group size. Afterward, you can curb any cravings you might have incurred during your excursions at the Uunisaari Restaurant. It's a cozy local place to settle in and enjoy menu options ranging from salmon soup to cinnamon rolls depending on your palate-pleasing preferences.