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Vantaa: My Second Home in Finland
Having lived here for three years now. I admire this beautiful city and call it as my second home in Finland. In fact, I have resided in three different locations in Vantaa namely Tikkurila, Hakunila and recently moved to Korso. Immigrating here wasn’t too difficult for me as the city has a welcoming atmosphere. It is friendly and lively city with a mixed race composing its population. As a matter of fact, according to information from Vantaa website, every tenth Vantaa resident is a foreign national, and besides Finnish and Swedish more than a hundred other languages are spoken in the city. In addition, I love this greenish city with good weather akin to my home city in the Philippines. Only exception for the non-existent extremely cold winter season in my home country.
With much admiration to this beautiful and fourth biggest city in Finland, I would like to share the different beautiful spots that Vantaa has to offer. Regardless if you are a local or foreign tourist in Finland. It is highly recommended to come and see Vantaa. Vantaa is a great stopover location between your flights.
1. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
The moment when you visit Finland you will arrive in Helsinki Airport, geographically located in Vantaa but called Helsinki Airport with due respect of its neighboring city being the capital city of Finland. Helsinki Airport is the leading long-haul airport in Northern Europe. Recently, Helsinki Airport is dubbed as The Best Connected Airport in Northern Europe according to the findings of Airports Council International Airport Industry Connectivity report. This means, Finland’s main airport has very good connections to different nations around the world. Operated by Finavia, Finland’s main airport has currently two terminals and a southern expansion part of Terminal 2 has just been opened with the first flights departed yesterday from there.
Arrival to the airport welcomes you to a non-crowded, pleasant atmosphere. The train station at Helsinki Airport has amazingly good design and no need to worry about getting confused to which way you should head to. As there are just two tracks at the platform, Train I with direction straight towards Helsinki while Train P going to Helsinki via Tikkurila. Near the airport there are also many airport hotels for stop-over passengers.
Departing passengers are advised to read our review about Aspire Lounge in Helsinki Airport.
2. Finnish Aviation Museum
The Finnish Aviation Museum is located near Helsinki Airport in the heart of the Aviapolis area in Vantaa. It is an exciting visiting destination for everyone whether you are an aviation enthusiast or a novice regarding aviation. They have collection of several aircraft related to the history of Finnish aviation including old fighter planes, from early 19th century up to the Russian Mig-21 and Swedish Saab J-35 Draken. I highly recommend to ride the ME 109 simulator if visit here! You can also climb up the Finnair’s old passenger plane and access the cabin.
3. Tikkurila and its Museums and Sightseeing Spots
Helsinki Airport as previously mentioned is located in Vantaa, about 5 km west from Tikkurila, the city’s administrate centre. It is easily reachable by train P from the airport within seven-minute journey. Traversing the ring rail line which was just opened for passenger traffic on July 2015.
Tikkurila Railway Station
Tikkurila Railway Station is a new, modern station considered as the main railway station of Vantaa. Almost all long-distance and most commuter trains stop at this station allowing very good connection to different cities in Finland. Additionally, daily trains to Moscow and St. Petersburg are calling at this station. The bus station also provides important service connections to different areas of Vantaa and to Helsinki Center too in a 24-hr basis.
Dixi Commercial Center near Tikkurila Railway Station
With the newly established commercial center called Dixi as part Tikkurila Railway Station, this station serves as an excellent local connection hub. A second phase of it has just been completed in the spring of 2017 making it a modern venue to stop. Dixi has numerous cafes and restaurants, a wide range of shops and services that provides easy and fast access to station-based customers. That being said, you can have lunch, glass of drink or coffee here before continuing your journey.
4. Vantaa Museum
Vantaa museum is very accessible due to its proximity to Tikkurila Railway station. This museum would be a recommendable next stop after a stopover at Dixi. Vantaa City Museum is actually housed in the Old Station Building of Tikkurila. Despite being small, a two-floor museum, you would learn much of the history of the city of Vantaa with its exhibits, highlighting mostly about the Vantaa River. Vantaa City Museum features interesting glimpse into the ordinary lives of Finns who lived in this suburb. It holds temporary exhibitions presenting different themes for a certain period. The staffs are friendly and admission is free!
5. Heureka: The Finnish Science Center
One of my favourite spot in Vantaa is Heureka. The place is also close to the Tikkurila Railway station about 10 mins by foot and just 600 meters from the Vantaa museum. I have often recommended this to my friends new in Vantaa for its amazing architecture and very informative and engaging exhibitions. If you visit here, remember to book enough time (about 3 hours) that you can have more opportunities to interact with the displays and the objects. Inside the Finnish Science Center, remember to visit Heureka’s planetarium, one of Europe’s most modern digital planetariums featuring high quality exhibitions. They have been showing films of the space and universe last time we have visited there. Moreover, at the outdoor exhibition area is the Science Park Galileo which can be visited annually during summer. The exhibits here are mainly based on physical, mathematical and musical phenomena. You would notice that majority of the exhibits feature water as the primary element. The outdoor park also contains moving works of art, such as the sand plotter and many more. There is a good cafe-restaurant inside the center catering delicious snacks, lunch and refreshments.
6. Kuusijärvi - The Great Swimming Spot in Vantaa
Kuusijärvi is a small lake in north-east corner of Vantaa. It is approximately 14 km from the Helsinki Airport. This lake is the most popular place for swimmers in Vantaa. In fact they are organizing sport events here regularly during summer. The lake is quite small but has clean water. I love to come here during the summer season as the water is warm, about 20C or more, usually even warmer in July and August. The platform provides good access for swimmers so there is not a problem even for the disabled persons. When it is sunny and warm day, you can be sure that there are hundreds of people swimming and sun bathing. This means the parking lot can be full during warm summer days, so I recommend going there by bicycle or take a bus if possible. In the main building of the area is the Kuusijärvi café where one can buy food and refreshments with invigorating fresh and nature landscape by the lake . Adjacent to it are the electronic sauna and changing rooms, separate for males and females. Close to the café is also an area for different kind of sports. It is also nice to spend summer mornings walking/hiking around the lake breathing fresh air from the trees surrounding the area. The beach has life guards during holiday season. I recommend this place during winter too as it is the best spots to go ice swimming. Buy some sausages and come in here, make a fire and enjoy silence of nature while eating hot snacks. The best thing you would experience? - The truly traditional Finnish smoke sauna located few meters away from the main building very close to the lake. You would enjoy dipping yourself in the lake and have a relaxing bath in the sauna in between. The wooden sauna area is gender mixed so remember to have your proper bathers on. You can hire towels from the cash desks.
7. The Church of St. Lawrence
Another must-see spot when visiting Vantaa is the Vantaan Pyhän Laurin kirkko also known as the Church of St. Lawrence. One thing that makes this interesting is, being the oldest building in the city as well as all of Greater Helsinki built in 1450. According from the information provided in its bulletin board, the church has stood its present location at least from the 1460s as proven by latest researches. The church has previously served the Roman Catholic Church not until the introduction of Lutheranism in Finland that it is now part of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. A dramatic fire incident has destroyed completely the church in the late 19th century wherein only the walls and vaults remained. There were plans to completely build a new church but eventually it was decided to restore the old one. The reconstruction plans were drawn by renowned Finnish architect Carl Theodor Höijer. As a result of his design, the church of St. Lawrence is a combination of two styles: Medieval and Non-renaissance style. This makes both the interior and external structure of the church to be stunningly beautiful. Around the church you could enjoy a peaceful walk.
8. Jumbo Shopping Centre
The biggest shopping centre in Vantaa, Jumbo Shopping Centre has plenty of shops, services, entertainments and restaurants. You can come here and shop authentic Finnish products as there are many stores to shop inside this fourth biggest mall in Finland. Jumbo Shopping Centre is easily accessible from Tikkurila Railway Station in 18 minutes by bus 562 (Aviapolis-bound). It also has good bus connection to Helsinki Airport with almost the same duration through bus 415, 615 and 617.
9. Flamingo Spa for a Relaxing Massage after Sightseeing
When coming to Jumbo Shopping Centre, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the entertainment centre called Flamingo. It is located just next to the mall at the right corner. Inside the building there is a hotel, bowling centre, several shops and restaurants, a big movie theatre, as well as inside waterpark and spa - Flamingo Spa* . The waterpark area is a good place to spend as family as it includes different water slides, kids’ pool with water-slides, Jacuzzi, and large pools though they are not long enough for distant swimmers. However, the spa area is meant for adults only. Inside the spa are two pools, a spa café and multiple saunas with varying temperature. You can also try massage service as you wish too. In general, it’s a worth of visit on this water spa. So there’s no reason not to come to Flamingo as it close to the Helsinki Airport, just 3 kilometers.
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