The town planning of Espoo’s maritime waterfront started in the 1970’s and in some areas, the work continues. The waterfront has been zoned into parks, boat harbours and swimming beaches. The walk and cycle path passes through or near-by these areas. The aim is to create a continuous walk and cycle path along the shore. The walkway has been planned and constructed for two decades, particularly since the 1990’s.
About 30 kilometres of walk and cycle path has been completed. Some 5 kilometres more will be built in the coming years and 5-10 km will be built later. The coastal walkway will then stretch from border to border along the entire waterfront, including shorter parts of low-traffic streets and street pavements.
In addition to the swimming beaches and boat harbours, there are other interesting places along the path, such as waterbus jetties – for a trip to the islands – and bird-watching towers. The walkway also passes the Nature House Villa Elfvik, hosting art and environment-related exhibitions, the museum villa at Rulludden and Villa Sinebrychoff at Karhusaari. The nature of the walkway varies from spacious urban to small scale verdant. The path was paved with distinctive signposts featuring the walkway logo in 2006.
The Association of Finnish Municipal Engineering SKTY gave an honourable mention to the walkway in the municipal engineering achievement of the year award 2003. The city together with its citizens was commended for exemplary and consistent effort for an enjoyable leisure environment. In the modern city the waterfront walkway, connecting interesting places, is an important means of recreation. Planning, however, is a challenging task, because the walkway must be adjusted both to nature and to the built environment and because the planners need to interact with citizens representing various interests.