Nature House Villa Elfvik and the surrounding areas offer excellent hiking opportunities year-round. You can set out from the Nature House or from Otaniemi, the southern end of the duckboard trail in the Laajalahti Nature Reserve.
The Laajalahti Nature Reserve is one of the finest waterfowl habitats in Southern Finland and also has international value. It has been placed under protection to ensure that birds have adequate nesting and resting places, which is why visitors should keep to the marked trails and be careful not to harm wildlife or damage plants. More information about the nature reserve is available from Metsähallitus, tel. 0205 64 100 or the website www.nationalparks.fi/laajalahti.
Nature Sanctuary nature trail
Meandering its way around the Elfvik headland, the Nature Sanctuary trail is 700 metres long and also accessible for prams and wheelchairs when there is no snow. Along the trail, you can also find the planet Uranus, which is part of the model solar system constructed by Ursa Astronomical Association in the metropolitan area.
Next to an old stone jetty stands a boathouse that provides information about the birds of Laajalahti. During the winter, the boathouse is open only on Sundays. The trail continues on to a bird-watching tower with a lower platform that is also accessible for wheelchairs. There are 7 bulletin boards along the trail with information about e.g. the history of the area, its nature and the Laajalahti Nature Reserve. Nature Sanctuary -leaflet can be found in PDF format at the bottom of this page.
Smaller children can find their own section at the bottom of each board. Supplementary material for groups is also available: “Playing in Nature”, for small (5–8-year-old) children, is for instructors; and “Studying in Nature”, for older (9–12-year-old) children, contains activities that can be done independently or in groups. The supplementary material is available only in Finnish and in Swedish.
This duckboard trail, roughly three kilometres long, runs around the shores of Laajalahti and on to Otaniemi, which has another bird-watching tower. In Otaniemi, the trail begins at Konemiehentie 2. In the summer, you can come across cows grazing on the pastures next to the trail.
The following material is available only in Finnish and in Swedish:
Väinö the Crow – nature trail
The interactive Väinö the Crow nature trail describes the life of Väinö the Crow in the nature around Villa Elfvik. Stories, games and sensory activities introduce children to the life of crows in addition to other wildlife in the nature reserve.
This c. 800-metre trail is for children under the age of 8 who are supervised by an adult. Children go round the trail with a guidebook. In addition to a map, the guidebook contains stories, games and activities for each point along the trail. At Villa Elfvik, you will be given a basket that contains equipment used during the hike as well as a laminated guidebook. Reserve the basket in advance by calling (09) 8165 4400.
Tracing the hare – winter trail
This interactive winter trail allows you to enter the world of the hare in the nature around Villa Elfvik. Along the nature trail, children find out why this nocturnal jumper eats its own droppings, how it misleads a fox and why it dozes off during the day. Stories and games introduce children to the nightly adventures of the hare.
This trail is for children under the age of 8 who are supervised by an adult. Children go round the trail with a guidebook, which is available from Villa Elfvik. The winter trail follows the same route as the Nature Sanctuary trail, starting from the yard of Villa Elfvik. Some of the activities along the trail can only be done if there is snow on the ground. For more information, call +358 9 8165 4400.