My neighbourhood

Lehtisaari is an idyll surrounded by sea: “The best things are the nature and nice neighbours”


Leafy Lehtisaari is located in the Munkkiniemi district in West Helsinki next to Kuusisaari. In the other direction are Espoo’s Otaniemi and Keilaniemi where you can take the metro to the centre of Helsinki in no time.

What is it like to live in Lehtisaari? To find out, a photographer and I took a tour around Lehtisaari and interviewed the local people.

Easy to stop for a chat with neighbours

Victor Larso, who is on his way to the playground with his 18-month-old son, says that he is happy that more and more young people are moving to Lehtisaari. He has lived in Lehtisaari for four years.

Victor knows many people from the neighbourhood and stops to chat with people. Everyone from other playground dads and mums to senior citizens seems to enjoy his company.

“The best things here are the nature and the jogging trails. I would like the apartment prices to be lower to attract more young people to the area,” says Victor, a family man and mechanic.

Restaurant owner knows his customers and neighbours know each other

To Shamal Adil, owner of the Old Jerusalem restaurant at Lehtisaari shopping centre, Lehtisaari is a really peaceful place where the people are easy to get to know.

Old Jerusalem serves a Middle Eastern lunch buffet. The restaurant gets over a hundred lunchtime customers per day, and the owner knows almost every one of them.

”It’s really peaceful here. The people know each other and are friendly,” says Shamal Adil, who has been running the restaurant for seven years.

The restaurant’s lunch is popular among local senior citizens but also young people and families. Shamal, who is originally from Iraq, is particularly pleased with the fact that the local people appreciate his business, which he has been able to run in a safe and friendly environment.

Teija Valjakka with food truck driver Timo Haakanen

Farmers market right on your doorstep

As we continue deeper into the Lehtisaari neighbourhood, we stumble on a group of people gathered in an apartment block courtyard. Every Friday around noon, they gather there, waiting for a food truck that sells fresh seasonal produce. In late August, the truck sells strawberries, blueberries and fresh vegetables.

It is a sweltering hot August day, and food truck driver Timo Haakanen is serving his happy customers. Teija Valjakka is the touring market trader’s regular customer. In her opinion, Lehtisaari does not lack anything. Teija has lived in other places but has always returned to her home island, Lehtisaari.

“There’s so much good here. You can go for a walk in beautiful nature straight from your front door. The public transport connections to Helsinki are good, so you don’t need to own a car,” she says happily.

Another thing that Teija appreciates in her neighbourhood is that the local corner shop, Alepa, is only a stone’s throw away.

“We have everything we need, but still the best things about Lehtisaari are nature and the nice neighbours, of course.”

“It’s lovely here”

Another happy food truck customer is Terttu Ryönänkoski, a resident of Lehtisaari for 40 years.

”It’s lovely here,” she says, which you can also see from her face.

She especially appreciates how fast it is get to the centre of Helsinki, and yet the area is still really peaceful.

“When I look through the window in the morning, there’s nobody there. The commotion doesn’t start until noon.”

Terttu is happy that young people have also recently started moving to Lehtisaari.

“We have many community-building activities. We organise voluntary yard work days, and sometimes we hold our housing company meetings outdoors. We take care of the surrounding environment together.”

There’s room for more life in Lehtisaari

Since it is a workday, the apartment block area is quiet and the beautiful jogging trails that run through the beaches and forests are empty.

A couple of canoes float by in front of the small, idyllic beach. Although it is a warm early autumn’s day, the beach is otherwise quiet. We go back near the shopping centre. 

Living close to Lehtisaari shopping centre, Samy Bathily spends a lot of time in his home neighbourhood with his dog, Gella. Originally from France, Samy has lived in several countries with his family. Lehtisaari has been the family’s home for two years. “I have liked it here, but I would like to have even more services nearby. There’s also room for more housing and more life,” says Samy.

Artistic treats just around the corner

Within walking distance of the shopping centre on the Kuusisaari side and on the shore of the Laajalahti bay are two fine art museums, Villa Gyllenberg and Didrichsen, which are also our destinations for the rest of the day. At the Didrichsen Art Museum, we meet two women from Espoo, who like to visit both museums every time a new exhibition opens. In front of the home-like museum, there is a beautiful art garden.

In September, the museum hosts an exhibition by sculptor Eila Hiltunen. Visitors are expected from the nearby islands, other areas of Helsinki and from afar.

It is easy to agree with the opinion of Terttu Ryönänkoski, whom we met a moment ago:

“It’s lovely in Lehtisaari.”

Interested in living in Lehtisaari?

Explore Lumo homes in your favorite neighbourhood.

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29.8.2022 (Modified 20.2.2023)

Text Ulla Ora

Images Petri Mulari

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Home is more than just the square footage we live in. It's also the significant corners around it. Find a Lumo home that best suits your lifestyle in our webstore or let us help find a home for you.

Home is more than just the square footage we live in. It's also the significant corners around it. Find a Lumo home that best suits your lifestyle in our webstore or let us help find a home for you.

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