WHY TO VISIT HELSINKI
Helsinki is not the classic Northern Europe’s city that in the collective imagination corresponds to extreme cold, privacy, gray and anonymous cities. Stretched out on the sea like a destination in the south, the Finnish capital has an extraordinary social life: despite the extreme cold of some months of the year, the inhabitants spend a lot of time away from home.
They love meeting in bistros, visiting museums, attending public saunas, walking through the design district. We could say that they love beautiful things, appreciate them in company, especially at night and on weekends, eating local products and drinking a lot of beer! The capital is organized very well: clean, tidy, safe, with public transport that works as it should.
Nature is lush, as you can discover by visiting the Fortress of Suomenlinna and other islands of the archipelago. Monuments and churches are not exceptional but worth a visit (Senate Square, Cathedral and other churches), with stops to rest and visit the various city markets of which Helsinki is full. The inhabitants are reserved but open, the food even if with a limited choice is excellent and fresh.
If you love design shopping, here you are in your kingdom: more than 200 shops, ateliers and artists will make it difficult to choice of what to take home. The only downside is the high prices: eating, sleeping and drinking can be expensive, but it's worth it.
WHAT TO SEE IN HELSINKI
Top attractions not to be missed are:
- Seurasaari Island and Open-Air Museum
- The National Library of Finland
- Sea Fortress Suomenlinna
- Kamppi Chapel of Silence
- Johannes Church
- The Esplanadi Park
- Uspenskin Cathedral (Uspenskin Katedraali)
- Old Market Hall
- Rock Church (Temppeliaukion Church)
- Kallio Church
- Tuomiokirkko (Helsinki Cathedral) and Senate Square
- Helsinki City Hall (Kaupungintalo)
- President's Palace (Presidentinlinna)
- The Senate Building (Valtioneuvoston Linna)
- Parliament of Finland
Following instead some hidden spots of the city that only locals know!
- Sibelius Monument
- Sinebrychoff Park
WHEN TO GO TO HELSINKI
Best period to visit Helsinki is from June to August.
Following a list of main events and typical festivals and celebrations of Helsinki.
HOW TO REACH AND MOVE IN HELSINKI
The main airport is the Helsinki International Airport
download the transportation map
download the transportation APP
WHAT TO DO IN HELSINKI
typical dishes of Helsinki are:
- Kalakukko: A thick rye loaf filled with lake fish.
- Karjalanpiirakka: A savoury pastry stuffed with rice pudding and eaten with egg butter.
- Lihapullat: Beef and egg meatballs, traditionally served with lingonberries and gherkins.
- Poronkäristys: Sautéed reindeer eaten by the Sámi.
- Pullat: Sweet cardamom-flavoured buns – a traditional accompaniment to coffee.
- Leipäjuusto: Cow’s milk cheese oven-baked or fried leaving it brown on the outside with a squeaky interior.
- Vispipuuro: A cold whipped semolina porridge flavoured with berries.
- Silakat: Breaded pickled herring seasoned with salt and fried.
- Perunarieska: A flatbread made from potato, often served with gravlax.
- Kirelian Piirakkas: traditional sweet and tasty pasties.
- Lakkakakku: A cloudberry (a tart Arctic berry) cake.
- Koskenkorva: A clear, distilled grain spirit usually served ice-cold and straight up.
- Berry liqueurs: Try mesimarja (arctic bramble), lakka (cloudberry) and polar karpalo (Arctic cranberry).
typical souvenirs of Helsinki are:
- Takana and Marimekko wall hangings
- Iittala glassware
- Arabia ceramics
- Lapp hat
- Ryija rugs
- Wooden sauna bucket and ladle
- Kuksa wooden drinking cups
- Kantele, a traditional string instrument native to Finland
- Moomin Trolls
- Christmas ornaments
- Puukko, the Finnish hunting knife
- Fazer candies, salty liquirice candies or Salmiakki chocolate candies with salty taste
- Finnish Vodka and liqueurs
The main theatre of Helsinki is the Finnish National Theatre.