Helsinki’s Hidden Treasures # 2

Helsinki has many islands in the immediate surroundings. Some are large, connected to the mainland by bridge or causeway, well populated and completely serviced with shops, schools and all regular city conveniences. Others are large enough to accommodate a single-room cottage and not much more. Still others belong to the military, and although no longer used for defensive purposes are yet to opened to the public and are still relatively undeveloped.

Some of the larger islands play host to summer restaurants. These establishments cater to all tastes, from 5-star gourmet to family ‘pub-style’ meals and everything in between. Ravintola Palma de Pyy falls into the latter category.

The restaurant is situated on the small island of Pyysaari, situated off the larger island of Laajasalo, in the east of Helsinki. Pyysaari is also home to the Helsingin Työväen Pursiseura (Helsinki’s Workers Sailing Club). Pyysaari can be reached by car; bus 88 from Herttoniemi metro station; following the bike path to Laajasalo, or even by boat and mooring on their guest pier.

You know you’ve arrived at your destination:

Pyysaari HTPS

The menu, drinks and opening hours are posted on the other side of the gate for easy reference:

Pyysaari Menu & Hours

It’s a very picturesque spot:

Pyysaari Gate (shut the gate on the way out!)

The bridge onto the island doubles as a pier for member’s sailing boats:

Pyysaari Pier

Man’s best friend is well provided for:

Pyysaari Dog Parking

The menu is nothing fancy, and hasn’t changed as long as I’ve been eating here:

What’s on the menu today? Pyysaari food list

All the dishes are Finnish specialities. Salads, steaks and open sandwiches. Today I ordered Oopperaleipä, while my companions took Sillivoileipä and Lehtipihvi (Opera Open Sandwich, Herring Open Sandwich and Minute Steak). While we waited for our dinner to arrive there was time to take in the view and open a nicely chilled beer:

Pyysaari Refreshments and the view beyond

The judges box and flag pole. The seagull perched on the arm was there for the length of our dinner. The housing area to the right on the other side of the bay is where the author lives! If we lean out of our balcony and look left we are looking straight towards Pyysaari.

Pyysaari & The View!

Our food came to the table in a reasonable time:

Clockwise from top left: Minute Steak, Opera Sandwich, Herring Sandwich, Clubhouse exterior

As desserts are low priority for us we settled for coffee and hot chocolate to end the meal. Like some summer restaurants, service is of the “self-service” kind from the inside bar:

Pyysaari Bar

Some hints: opening hours are weather dependent. If the weather is not good and not many people are about, then they will close early. There is seating both inside and on the terrace. On warm summer days the demand is much greater than capacity and you could be in for a quite a wait if you want to sit on the terrace. The restaurant is open from May Day until the end of September.

On a parting note, a useful souvenir:

Pyysaari ‘Palma de Pyy’ matches


Tall Ships Race 2013

Today I’m posting from the island of Utö. There IS a connection to Helsinki. Read on and all will be revealed!

The last time I was on the island of Utö it was 26-27th July 2009. We came to see the Tall Ships leaving Turku (Utö) heading for Klaipéda (Lithuania). If you have never seen ‘Tall Ships’ in action I recommend that you track down some footage. Youtube has an abundance! These ships are truly magnificent 🙂

The Talls Ships Race is an annual event for Tall Ships. Every fourth year the race is conducted in Baltic Waters and it will be Helsinki’s turn in 2013. Helsinki will be the finishing point for the first leg of the race from Århus (Denmark) to Helsinki.

So from 17 – 20 July 2013 the Tall Ships will be in Helsinki. As soon as I have more information I’ll be sharing it with you. Guaranteed there will be something to share closer to the date!

Meanwhile if you are ever on Utö, please take advantage of the island hospitality offered by Hanna’s Horisont. Here is one link which includes plenty of Utö information. You can also find her on Facebook.

Helsinki’s Hidden Treasures # 1

This post is written on the go and regrettably I’m not able to upload any pictures at this point.

Did you know that Helsinki City owns parcels of land outside the city limits? One of those parcels features as today’s Hidden Treasure: Elisaari.

Elisaari is an island located off the Hanko peninsula, heading west from Helsinki. It provides a sheltered guest marina; camping ground; saunas and cottages to rent; a nature path with signage along the way and during summer months a kiosk. The kiosk stocks all the basic necessities and also you can order fresh bread or munkki for breakfast from the local manor house!

To reach the island if you are driving head for Barösund and take the ferry from there.

Hints: book your sauna 24 hours in advance; the rocks overlooking the harbour spots hold the summer heat nicely.

Information in English


Exciting things will be happening with Heather’s Helsinki shortly. In order for those things to come to fruition, I need to do a few things behind the scenes and spend some time planning future posts and directions. I already have a few posts in various stages of preparation and I anticipate they’ll see the light of day in the coming week.

Thanks in advance for your patience, see you next week!