Reached by a causeway, Tar Island (named for the warehouses that safely stored flammable Finnish tar here prior to export) is now a landscaped park with spectacular views over Helsinki's skyline. Covering 2.86 hectares, it's planted with several different varieties of roses, including the Karelian rose. There's a summer theatre with free performances (mostly in Finnish), a small kids' playground and the wonderful summer restaurant Savu, specialising in smoked Finnish delicacies, situated in the last remaining wooden tar storehouse.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Helsinki attractions

1. Reflections

0.34 MILES

Made from glass plates set between polished aluminium, this 1977 sculpture by Helsinki artist Risto Salonen (1945–2001) stands on the Merihaka waterfront…

2. Icebreaker Fleet

0.35 MILES

This impressively functional posse of around six heavy-duty ships is moored off the northern side of Katajanokka island.

3. Ruiskumestarin talo

0.41 MILES

Mustard-coloured Ruiskumestarin talo is central Helsinki’s oldest wooden townhouse, built in 1818. The charming cottage, with hardwood floors, fireplaces…

4. Merikasarmi

0.44 MILES

Architect CL Engel designed these naval barracks for the Russian military garrisoned here from 1816 to 1820 – the first of his many works in Helsinki. The…

5. Uspenskin Katedraali

0.44 MILES

The eye-catching red-brick Uspenski Cathedral towers above Katajanokka island. Built as a Russian Orthodox church in 1868, it features classic golden…

6. Presidentinlinna

0.54 MILES

Overlooking the kauppatori, the striking neoclassical Presidentinlinna was designed by CL Engel and is one of the head of state's official residences. The…

7. Tuomiokirkko

0.57 MILES

One of Carl Ludvig Engel’s finest creations, the chalk-white neoclassical Lutheran cathedral presides over Senaatintori (Senate Sq). Created to serve as a…

8. World Peace

0.57 MILES

The work of Russian sculptor Oleg Kirjuhin (1929–91), this striking bronze statue stands 6.5m high and was installed in 1990 as a gift from Moscow to…