Helsinki is considered the white city of the north of Scandinavia and the daughter of the Baltic Sea. Traditional and modern architecture blends with purely Finnish features like a church built inside granite, a laundromat and Sauna, and a mélange of cafés, restaurants, bars, and laundromats. Some bays and inlets color the coastline in this classic sea city.
Take a tour of the city and discover why it's a vital European economic and cultural hub. Helsinki is home to over a quarter of the Finnish population, making it a perfect destination for history buffs, nature lovers, culture enthusiasts, and worldly shoppers alike.
Fashion, bespoke handcrafted jewelry, and contemporary design are all hallmarks of Helsinki. The Design District is a great place to see some of the city's most talented creatives at work. Among its 200 shops and studios, some are already internationally renowned, but many of which are run by the city's most talented young designers. An entire afternoon could be spent wandering around the hub's clothing shops, jewelry makers, antique dealers, and home décor stores.
Finland is known for its simple, hearty foods that warm stomachs on cold days by using local, seasonal ingredients. Soups of leek and potato infused with freshly caught local salmon paired with stews of reindeer, potatoes, and vegetables. You may also like potato flatbread or freshly cut rye bread to mop up your bowl.
For hundreds of years, Finland was ruled by Sweden. The Middle Ages and beyond were when Helsinki began to establish itself as a port and trade center. Affluent benefactors, universities, and arts institutions invested in Helsinki and began building its architectural wonders by 1812. Currently, Helsinki has a population of over half a million, and it is increasing. Finnish is the primary language spoken by the locals, but Swedish is told by some as well. Even though most road signs in Helsinki are in Finnish, many locals speak Basic English and are happy to assist cruise ship travelers.
From exploring fascinating historical sites to relaxing on serene island oases, Helsinki has something for everyone. Almost any activity can be found for quality time with family and friends. Check out this list of the top things to do and places to visit in Helsinki to learn more about this fantastic Scandinavian destination.
Helsinki's central planned and paved square, the Market Square, is locally known as Kauppator. An outdoor market is famous in northern Europe. It is an area of Finnish foods, flowers, and tourist souvenirs bordering the Baltic Sea at the eastern end of the Esplanadi. Fishermen often sell seafood directly from their boats lining up in the water. A winter market hall with more vendors and protected stalls is available all year long. While dining at the market, visitors should keep an eye on their food as seagulls are brazen and will plunder food from unsuspecting individuals.
There is something peaceful about Kamppi Chapel of Silence, a wooden building away from the bustle of the city. With thick wooden walls that block out outside noise, this chapel is a popular place for meditation and prayer meetings near Esplanadi Park and Kamppi Shopping Centre. Visitors to the chapel are not permitted to take photographs, but admission is free.
Taking the ferry to Kauppatori in a few minutes will take you to one of the most impressive artificial structures in Scandinavia. It consists of seven islands and is the world's largest maritime fortress. At the beginning of the 19th century, Helsinki was overrun by the Russians after being built by the Swedes to defend their eastern territories. There has been almost no change at Suomenlinna since then, and it is no exaggeration to say so. The baroque settlement still houses 1000 people among the star-shaped walls and gun positions.
The Finnish Sauna is a must-do if you're visiting Finland! In this country, there are more than 2 million saunas, but there are only 5 million residents. You can find pop-up saunas around the city on Sauna Day, celebrated in March. The health benefits aside, saunas are also one of the most relaxing things you can do here. The Finnish Sauna is divided into male and female sections if you have never been to one before.
Known for its world-famous composer Jean Sibelius and his wife Aino, Ainola was the home of the famous composer. Located about ten kilometers north of Helsinki on the shores of Lake Tuusula, Järvenpää offers stunning views of the lake. It was constructed in 1904 in the classic timber style of Lars Sonck. Located on the lake, the house was built so that the genius could create peace while staying close to important events in Washington. The house was sold to the state by Sibelius' family after he and his wife passed away. Museum foundations were established to maintain it because it was well preserved.
While the city does well during the summer months (May to September) when the weather is mild. The majority of visitors arrive during that time, and it is at its best during the winter months (November to April). In July, the maximum temperature is 26°C, and there is little rainfall during these months. It has icy winters and hot summers due to its continental climate.