If you happen to rent a mountain bike or a hybrid, here’s a perfect destination: Haltiala farm and Pitkäkoski rapid. The road there is a bit too long for a yellow city bike, but with a lighter bike or a rental car it’s a perfect day trip spot, especially with a family.
The journey from Arabia to Haltiala is about 10 km of (mostly) gravel road by Vantaa river. Vantaa river bank is super green, there are a couple of beaches on the way and bridges of all kinds crossing the river. The river bank is accessible only by bike or by foot. If you take the car option, you’ll have to bare with the boring highway.
Haltiala is a property of the City of Helsinki and it’s kind of a showcase of a farm and countryside scenery. There are animals: cows, goats, bigs and even the police horses are staying at Haltiala every now and then – after all, the police horses are kinda Helsinki City horses too. Haltiala farm is growing grain, sun flowers and peas, and flowers and peas are there for anyone to pick free of charge.
Haltiala restaurant took part into Kitchen Nightmares Finland, which was good for them, and they’ve been serving decent burgers and delicious doughnuts ever since.
After recharging your energy with a fresh doughnut or a burger I recommend to continue a bit further from Haltiala to Pitkäkoski rapid. The way from Haltiala to Pitkäkoski is unbelievably beautiful and fresh in any time of the year, and it takes about 4 km to get to Pitkäkoski rapid (by bike that is). When you see an ugly sports hut and a parking area, you know you’ll close (and by the way, the sports hut serves even more delicious doughnuts than Haltiala restaurant).
Take a silent moment on the bridge of Pitkäkoski, take a deep breath and let your eyes rest on a flowing water. They say that there are 3 things a human being can watch for a small eternity without getting bored: fire, flowing water and a sleeping baby.