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Top 9 Things To See in Vantaa

A restaurant in Kuusijärvi
Kuusijärvi Cafe is a good place to enjoy a delicious meal and a cup of coffee by the lake

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Vantaa is a city in Southern Finland. It is where Helsinki Airport, the main and biggest airport in Finland is located. A friendly city among foreign nationals whereas one in every 10 of its population is an immigrant. Read our article about what things to do and see in this beautiful city.

Vantaa, Finland

Vantaa has a welcoming atmosphere. It is a friendly and lively city with a mixed-race population. As a matter of fact, according to information from the 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.

With much admiration for this beautiful and fourth biggest city in Finland, we want to share 9 different beautiful spots that Vantaa has to offer. Regardless of whether you are a local or foreign traveller in Finland, it is highly recommended to come and see Vantaa. Vantaa is also a popular stopover location for people just transiting through Finland.

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

The moment you visit Finland you will arrive at Helsinki Airport, geographically located in Vantaa but called Helsinki Airport with due respect to its neighbouring city being the capital city of Finland. Helsinki Airport is the leading long-haul airport in Northern Europe. Recently, Helsinki Airport has been dubbed as the Best Connected Airport in Northern Europe according to the findings of the 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 the newly renovated Terminal 2 has just been opened.

Arrival at the airport welcomes you to a non-crowded, pleasant atmosphere. The train station at Helsinki Airport has an amazingly good design and no need to worry about getting confused about which way you should head to. As there are just two tracks on the platform, Train I's direction is straight towards Helsinki while Train P goes to Helsinki via Tikkurila. Near the airport, there are also many airport hotels for stop-over passengers.

Departing passenger may visit Aspire Lounge or another lounge at Helsinki Airport.

Logo near Aviapolis station
The Finnish Aviation Museum is located close to the Aviapolis train station which is only a 1-minute ride away from the Helsinki Airport.

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 a collection of several aircraft related to the history of Finnish aviation including old fighter planes, from the early 19th century up to the Russian Mig-21 and Swedish Saab J-35 Draken. We highly recommend riding the ME 109 or Airbus A320 simulators if visiting there! You can also climb up Finnair’s old passenger plane and access the cabin.

Finnish Aviation Museum in Vantaa
Finnish Aviation Museum has numerous collections of various plane types. Visitors have a chance to see what it looks like inside Finnair's old passenger plane.
Entrance to Finnish Aviation Museum
The Finnish aviation museum is open all year round. Some of the inside halls may not be heated in the winter season so prepare with enough clothes.
  • Price: about 12 euros
  • Address: Karhumäentie 12, 01530 Vantaa
  • How to reach: Train or bus (Google Maps)

If you visit also Helsinki, we recommend buying a Helsinki Card to get free or discounted admissions.

Tikkurila and Its Museums

Helsinki Airport, as previously mentioned, is located in Vantaa, about 5 km west of Tikkurila, the city’s administrative centre. It is easily reachable by train P from the airport within a seven-minute journey.

hsl ring rail in Helsinki area
Train P passing Tikkurila Railway Station on its way from Helsinki Airport to Helsinki Centre.

Tikkurila Railway Station

Tikkurila Railway Station is a new, modern station considered the main railway station of Vantaa. Almost all long-distance and many commuter trains stop at this station allowing a 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 Helsinki Center too on a 24-hour basis.

Shopping Centre Dixi at Tikkurila Railway Station

With the newly established commercial centre called Dixi as part of Tikkurila Railway Station, this station serves as an excellent local connection hub. The second phase of it has been completed in the spring of 2017 making it a modern venue to stop. Dixi has numerous cafes and restaurants, and a wide range of shops and services that provide easy and fast access to station-based customers. That being said, you can have lunch, a glass of drink or coffee here before continuing your journey.

  • Price: free
  • Address:Ratatie 11, 01300 Vantaa
  • How to reach: Train or bus (Google Maps)

Vantaa City 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 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 the Vantaa River. Vantaa City Museum features an 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 staff are friendly and admission is free!

Vantaa City Museum
Vantaa City Museum tells the story of the growth of Vantaa into a city. It is easily accessible and entry is free.
  • Price: free
  • Address: Hertaksentie 1, 01300 Vantaa
  • How to reach: Train / bus (Google Maps)
Vantaa River
An old Finnish man boating on a peaceful summery afternoon. Vantaa River has played a historical role in the lives of Vantaa residents throughout the years.

Heureka: The Finnish Science Center

One of our favourite spots 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. We have often recommended this to friends new to Vantaa for its amazing architecture and very informative and engaging exhibitions. If you visit here, remember to book enough time (about 3 hours) so 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 showed films about the space and universe the last time we 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 will notice that the 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 centre catering delicious snacks, lunch and refreshments.

Heureka has its cafe and restaurant called Tiederavintola where you can have a stop for coffee or lunch after attending the exhibitions.
  • Price: about 22 euros (adults), 15 euros for children and discount groups
  • Address: Tiedepuisto 1, Tikkurila, Vantaa
  • How to reach: Train / bus (Google Maps)
Heureka Science Museum offers amazing and educational art and science exhibitions suitable for all ages.

Kuusijärvi - a Great Swimming Spot in Vantaa

One unique hobby of Finns is ice swimming. You can try it safely at Kuusijärvi Lake in Vantaa. Close to the lake is a big wooden smoke sauna which is open every day all the year-round.

Kuusijärvi is a small lake in the northeast corner of Vantaa. It is approximately 14 km from Helsinki Airport. This lake is the most popular place for swimmers in Vantaa. They are organizing sports events here regularly during summer. The lake is quite small but has clean water. We love to come here during the summer season as the water is warm, about 20 centigrade or more, usually even warmer in July and August. The platform provides good access for swimmers so there is no problem even for disabled persons. When it is a sunny and warm day, you can be sure that there are hundreds of people swimming and sunbathing. This means the parking lot can be full, so we recommend going there by bicycle or taking a bus if possible.

Outside the crowded beach area, it is peaceful at Kuusijärvi.

In the main building of the area is the Kuusijärvi café where one can buy food and invigorating refreshments with a beautiful natural landscape view by the lake. Adjacent to it is the electronic sauna and changing rooms, separate for males and females. Close to the café is also an area for different kinds 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 lifeguards during the holiday season. We recommend this place during winter too as it is the best spot to go ice swimming. Buy some sausages and come in here, make a fire and enjoy the silence of nature while eating hot snacks. The best thing you would experience is the truly traditional Finnish smoke sauna which is located a few metres away from the main building very close to the lake. You would enjoy dipping yourself in the lake and having 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 and swimming suits from the cash desks.

Kuusijärvi Lake
Kuusijärvi Lake is frequented by locals and tourists for swimming or sunbathing. The water is clean plus an amazing natural landscape is a bonus too.
Kuusijärvi smoke wooden sauna
Kuusijärvi in Vantaa offers a cosy, traditional Finnish wooden/smoke sauna.
  • Price: free but saunas cost
  • How to reach: Bus (Google Maps)

Get familiar with Helsinki by visiting Guide to Helsinki.

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? It is the oldest building in the city as well as all of Greater Helsinki built in 1450. The church has stood in its present location at least since the 1460s as proven by the latest research. The church has previously served the Roman Catholic Church not until the introduction of Lutheranism in Finland that it became part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. A dramatic fire incident 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 styles. This makes both the interior and external structure of the church to be stunningly beautiful. Around the church, you could enjoy a peaceful walk.

Pyhän Laurin Kirkko
Pyhän Laurin Kirkko also called The Church of St. Lawrence has withstood the test of time since 1460, now considered the oldest structure in Vantaa.
Pyhän Laurin Kirkko
The Church of St. Lawrence's surroundings have also been preserved well with evidently green, tall and old trees.
Pyhän Laurin Kirkko
The Church of St. Lawrence's tower.

Jumbo Shopping Centre

The biggest shopping centre in Vantaa, Jumbo Shopping Centre has plenty of shops, services, entertainment and restaurants. You can come here and shop for 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. It also has a good bus connection to Helsinki Airport with almost the same duration.

Flamingo Entertainment Centre is attached to Jumbo so you can visit both at the same time!

Flamingo Spa

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 in the right corner. Inside the building, there is a hotel, bowling centre, several shops and restaurants, a big movie theatre, as well as an inside waterpark and spa - Flamingo Spa. The waterpark area is a good place to spend as a family as it includes different water slides, a kids’ pool with water slides, a 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 temperatures. You can also try massage services as you wish. In general, it’s worth of visit to this water spa. So there’s no reason not to come to Flamingo as it is close to the Helsinki Airport, just 3 kilometres away.

  • Price: about 25 to 39 euros + treatments
  • How to reach: Bus (Google Maps)

Bottom Line

There are many things to do in Vantaa. Quite often, people consider Vantaa only as an airport city but from a Finnish perspective, it is also a large modern city. In Vantaa, you can enjoy nature, go shopping or visit many attractions. Next time, when visiting Helsinki, remember also to cross the border to Vantaa!

Have you been to Vantaa. What was your favourite sightseeing spot? We recommend also joining our Finland-related Facebook group: Travelling and Living in Finland and starting a discussion there.

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Destination: Finland

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