I finally got around to enjoy one of the hidden gems of Helsinki, Kivikko on the north side of Herttoniemi. We parked the car and chose the Rantapolku to start off with. There are other paths one may choose too.
Even though the name of the peninsula refers to something filled with stones (kivi = stone), Kivikko is very green. We walked first through the allotments (private small patches of fields which people in the city have either rented or purchased to grow their own vegetables in. On some one may have a small hut in, here there were none) on the little sand road, which gave us a good opportunity to look at the plants. My daughter must have spent enough time at her grandparents as she found the potato and onion.
On the peninsula there are small beaches (one bigger one that even had a swim school when we walked past) and plants that live in the archipelago even though this really is within Helsinki. There is usually some environmental art exhibition there in the summer. We didn’t quite the art of this time even though there were explanations…
What makes Kivikko special are the tiny summer cottages scattered around. They must be from the 50-60’s, they are maybe 8-10 square metres, some of them pretty ran down, some very well maintained with small gardens created in the “bush” surrounding them. But they are still all simple with no running water. I find them super cute!
There are water points and common dunnies scattered around the peninsula for everyone to use. Like in the old times.
Some have built their own tent sauna next to their cottage (obviously for private use only).
As there is a huge shortage of housing in Helsinki, the city wanted to bulldoze the whole area and develop it for housing. I believe the plan was abandoned due to a big outcry, after all, it is not just the people who probably for decades have been spending there summers in the area, it is also open for recreation for everyone. And could it have more character?!
There is also a funny looking café in Kivikko that seems like it has been built out of what ever came from the sea. We bought some yummy home made “munkki” (sugar coated doughnuts) and enjoyed them on the jetty. The view one way looks like one would be far out in the archipelago but then one only needs to turn the head a little to see the huge cranes and construction site in Kalasatama… My daughter was very found of the little goats that lived behind the cafe. There were signs of chicken too even though we didn’t see them.
We absolutely fell in love with this area and will be back to explore more. There is also a nature path and I’ve heard there is a little summer theatre and sometimes dances too. Just be sure to take long sleeves along, I believe there would always be a sea wind on the peninsula.
If you enjoy the green and recreational areas, you may also want to visit these in Helsinki in the summer (boats only go in the summer time on a schedule): Harakka island, Pihlajasaari (island), Pyysaari and Mustasaari family island.