Vuosaari is a neighbourhood of Helsinki in Finland. It is located by the sea in the east of the city and geographically speaking, it is the largest district in Helsinki, with an area of 15.38 km². It also has two Metro stations called Rastila and Vuosaari. There is a 2012 film by Aku Louhimies named after and about the district.

A brief history of Vuosaari 

Vuosaari has been continuously populated since the Iron Age, the first written records date back to the 14th century. Vuosaari was formerly an island, but by the 16th century, the area had regained its connection to the mainland and was home to two Rustholl-mansions, called Nordsjö and Rastböle, several small villages and a military shipyard. Officers from Suomenlinna also built houses on the peninsulas and a regular steamboat connection between Helsinki and Vuosaari was established in the 19th century. The Russians built a fort here in 1917 and during the Second World War, Vuosaari was used as a decoy for Helsinki, in order to divert bombing away from the city. Subsequently, during construction in the 1990s, many unexploded aerial bombs were discovered hidden in the ground! After the war, most of the land in Vuosaari was owned by a large brick and stone company that formerly had its factory on the island. Big areas of underdeveloped land in close proximity to the capital prompted a building process to increase the value of land there. The Asuntosäästäjät Union started to build houses in the 1960s and some of Finland's most famous architects participated in the planning, most notably Viljo Revell. In 1966, Vuosaari was incorporated into Helsinki and in the 1990s the first real influx of Russians, Estonians, Kurds and Somalis arrived. The neighbourhood quickly became home to an above-average population of immigrants by Finnish standards, around 11% of the total population. 

Things to do in Helsinki

There is plenty to do in greater Helsinki, but the city’s top attraction is Suomenlinna, an 18th-century sea fortress and nature reserve, it is really beautiful as it is spread across 6 islands that are linked with bridges. There are walking trails across the parkland and between popular sights such as the King’s Gate drawbridge and Suomenlinna Museum. Suomenlinna also hosts Submarine Vesikko, which is a restored 1930s vessel where visitors are invited onboard to discover what life was like on a submarine. After all of that excitement, you can also relax and have a handcrafted beer from the brewery or eat at one of the several waterside restaurants. In terms of architecture, one of the most unusual and impressive buildings is the Temppeliaukion Church, which is built into the excavated rock and Helsinki’s main cathedral is also notable, it’s a Lutheran church located in the Töölö neighbourhood.

Beaches around Helsinki

Like many Scandinavian cities, Helsinki has a public beach in the city centre, it is called Hietaniemi and is a sandy beach that gets very busy with people playing volleyball and relaxing on the long summer days. It is perfect for the whole family and also has a lovely bistro that serves food and refreshments. Surprisingly enough, the water on this beach can actually reach over 20° C during the summer, which is considered incredibly warm for the Nordic countries. If you want to go further afield, then check out Isosaari Island, which is located just off the coast and can be reached by passenger ferry that takes around 40 minutes.

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