Reindeer in Helsinki: where to see them?

Those who travel to Lapland have it easy: they are everywhere, but to see reindeer in Helsinki you have to know where to look. And that’s what today’s post is about.

Reindeer in Helsinki
Feeding a reindeer. Source (CC: by-sa)

Reindeer and Finland

The reindeer is the animal of Finland. The Finns even have that unique sign that warns you on the roads that you are entering an area with a high density of reindeer.

The Finnish word for reindeer is “Poro” (pronounced “porro“).

Finnish road sign
Pay attention: “porros” in this area. Source (CC: by-sa)

These animals have a special role in the culture of the Sami, the last indigenous people of Europe who live in the northern part of the Nordic and Scandinavian countries, including Finland. They take advantage of all parts of the reindeer.

And their meat, of course, is a delicacy. I liked it a lot (and Gordon Ramsay too) and I encourage you to try it if you’re on a trip in Finland.

Reindeer in Helsinki: where to see them

Do you remember the photo above, where the reindeer area was marked on the map of Finland? Exactly: reindeer don’t live that far south.

But nevertheless there are two places in the capital of Finland where you can see these animals. Let’s check them out.

Majestic antlers. Source (CC: by)

1.- The Helsinki Zoo – Korkeasaari

The Helsinki zoo sits on its own island in the city.

To get there you have to take a boat from the market square – Kauppatori – which is a nice ride with fantastic views of the capital from the sea. The destination of the boat, when you are looking for it at the port, is Korkeasaari, the name of the island and the zoo.

You can also take the number 16 bus that leaves from the train station. Once there, paying the entrance fee of 14 euros per adult or 8 per child, you can see reindeer as well as other animals. This is their website, if you want to learn more.

2.- Nuuksio National Park

This is the place to see reindeer in Helsinki in a big way.

Nuuksio Nature Park is just outside Helsinki. And it’s Finland’s southernmost national park. In it there is a reindeer park, where you can visit, touch and feed the reindeer.

Petting a reindeer in Helsinki
Reindeer herding in Helsinki. Or next to Helsinki. Source (CC: by-sa)

The entrance fee is 25 euros per adult and 10 euros per child, which includes enough lichen to feed the reindeers, a coffee (or other drink) and a bun by an open fire. And, during Christmas there is also glögi, the traditional Christmas spice wine.

There is also a cafeteria in the reindeer park where you can have a drink – including delicacies such as Lapp cheese, salmon or wild game meat – at a restaurant in a tapee (a traditional Lappish tent) called “White Reindeer”.

Feeding lichen to reindeer. Source (CC: by-sa)
How to get to Nuuksio National Park?

You might wonder this if you want to go see reindeer in Helsinki. The address: Nuuksiontie 83 in Espoo. It’s 30 minutes by car from the center and 1 hour by public transport. You will need a ticket from the ABC area of Helsinki to get there. These are the transports you have to take.

  1. Train from Helsinki to Espoo with U, L and E trains from Helsinki Station to Espoo (8 stops and about 25 minutes)
  2. Take bus 245 from Espoo to Nuuksio. The bus is next to the station.
  3. Get off the bus in Punjonsuo. (after 27 stops or about 25 minutes)
  4. Walk a little and past the zebra crossing, to the right. The sign says Karhunpesä and you see a sign with Reindeer

If you want to visit their website to take a look first, this is it.

Which of these two options do you prefer? Have you ever seen – or eaten – a reindeer?