The National Library Suomenlinna FortressSeurasaari island The Kalevalakehto installation

Take a break and escape from the hectic urban soundscape to the most peaceful places in Helsinki. Researcher Outi Ampuja takes you on a tour of the most silent spots in the capital.

The National Library 

The National Library is a veritable oasis of silence in the middle of Helsinki’s busy city centre. The building of the oldest part of the library, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, was finished in 1845. The Empire-style building is part of the historical scenery of the Senate Square. You can listen to the silence of the library in an artistically and architecturally impressive setting.

Suomenlinna Fortress

Catch a ferry from the Market Square to Suomenlinna. The sea fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a car-free island. Nautical sounds from the rushing of the waves to the sounds of the passing ships dominate Suomenlinna’s soundscape. Relax and stroll at your own pace through the historical sites, such as the church, fortress vaults and ramparts.

Seurasaari island 

After Suomenlinna, take the ferry back to the mainland and catch the bus number 24 at Erottaja at the end of Esplanade park. The bus will take you to the car-free Seurasaari island, a popular destination for Helsinkians on a day out. This island has a soundscape of its own: the breaking waves, the rustle of leaves, birdsong, and casual chatter. The island is at its most quiet in the winter and spring, and the quietest spots can be found at the centre of the island.

The Kalevalakehto installation

While you’re at Seurasaari, visit the Kalevalakehto installation at the southern tip of the island. The temporary building, designed to be a calming space for quiet reflection, was built in the summer of 2010 by a Finnish-American student group, headed by architect Travis Price. Anyone can rent the building for a small fee from the Seurasaari Foundation  (tel. +358 9 484 511).

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