The Central Park in Helsinki is far away from a manicured garden, though it starts right at the center of the city, Töölönlahti Bay. This 10 square kilometers recreational park is a real forest where animals like foxes, hares, badgers, weasels and raccoon dogs roam freely.

For city-dwellers like us, the Central Park offers primal nature at our doorstep. During the weekends the park is teeming with bicycles, joggers and dog walkers. Horseback riding routes pierce the forest along with several cross-country skiing tracks during the wintertime.

Pick Berries, Mushrooms and Other Finnish Superfoods

While strolling in the middle of lyric Nordic forest, you are free to pick berries, mushrooms, wild herbs, or anything else nature has on offer. Last spring I collected nettles, goutweed, lady’s mantle and other wild herbs less than a kilometer from our apartment, which is pretty centrally located in Helsinki. During the summer and autumn we picked wild strawberries, raspberries and bilberries (wild blueberries) with our little dog, Trece. She loved to munch billberries straight from the bush and we got billberry pie for the dessert.

Wander Around the Pet Cemetery of Maunula

We love to cross the park with our beloved dog to visit a tiny pet cemetery inside the park limits in the area called Maunula. That’s where our old German shepherd mix Misha has found his last resting place among around 3000 dogs, cats, hamsters, hedgehogs and other departed darlings. You can also try to find the “presidential” gravestone belonging to the dog of Juho Kusti Paasikivi, the president of Finland during the 40s and 50s.

We just love the serene atmosphere at the pet cemetery year-round. At Christmas time people bring candles for their loved ones, a tradition that is well nurtured in Finland. During summer the graves have flowers, photos, and toys of departed family members.

We will continue to share with you our secret spots in Helsinki. In the meantime we are anxious to know, if have you ever visited our hometown.

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Pick Finnish superfoods, like wild berries and mushrooms, and visit a tiny pet cemetery – in the middle of Helsinki!