Finland’s southern capital Helsinki is located at the heart of the Baltic Sea area and boasts rich cultural influences from both the East and West. Nominated as the ‘World Design Capital’ in 2012, the city offers something for everyone – from iconic buildings to gentle strolls through its numerous parks. Below are our picks.
Catherine was lucky enough to get invited to a conference to this amazing city, it’s good to work and travel. Helsinki is a wonderful capital to Finland and one of our favourite places to visit, summer or winter. We stayed in the Radisson Blu Plaza near Helsinki Central Station, so had good transport links.
With a rich history, fantastic food and great architecture from Europe to Russia, it is a must for a Northern EU trip.
Due to its geographic position in the world, the summer months have long hours of light and the winter turns into a snowy wonderland. Travelling to Helsinki can be enjoyed all year round.
Like other Nordic countries, Helsinki is not known to be an affordable destination. Don’t be scared though, as it can be enjoyed on a limited budget as there are plenty of things to see and do without burning a hole in your wallet.
- The City Museum is free to visit and is a must to understand the city you’re in. The main museum at Senate Square has art featuring glimpses of city life through the years. The ‘Children’s Town’ lets you experience a school room from the ‘30s.
- Burgher’s Home is also part of the City Museum group and is the oldest wooden house in Helsinki. This yellow painted house has had its interior decorated with traditional 19th Century furniture and resembles what it would have looked like in its prime.
- The Tram Museum in the Töölö neighbourhood follows the 100-year history of the trams.
- The National Museum is also free to visit, but only between 4pm to 6pm.
The parks of Helsinki are just as enjoyable on a hot summer’s day licking an ice cream or on a wintery snowy afternoon, sipping a mug of hot chocolate.
- Kaivopuisto park sat on the waterfront is a beautiful park south of the city. With cafes looking out over the islands, it is a great place to get away with it all.
- Esplanadi is a small city park lined with historic buildings and shops and frequently holds events for the locals in the city centre.
- Meanwhile, Sibelius Park, also on the sea front is in the Töölö neighbourhood, is a must as the park’s centrepiece is an abstract sculpture that I found beautiful. The 600-pipe kinetic masterpiece is in tribute to Jean Sibelius, a famous Finnish composer and when the wind blows across the tubes it creates music. The composer lends his name to the park too.
Around every corner, Helsinki has amazing architecture. From the art nouveau train station to the columns of the Parliament House there is something for everyone. The Finlandia Hall’s glass is a marvel.
The capital is home to two unique churches. Kamppi Chapel of Silence is a wooden pod like structure in the middle of the city. Once inside, the silence is deafening and the city sounds fade away.
Temppeliauko (the Rock Church), which is built into solid rock and features a copper dome, is spectacular and is €3 to enter.
The Katajanokka neighbourhood is a great place to walk around to take in the historic homes.
Helsinki is a wonderful seaside city all year round. The summer months, with the long daylight hours are great to explore the parks and islands. The cities rhythm is laid back and at the same time very active. This is why we will miss this great city in the north east corner of Europe. An Air Baltic flight to Riga was our next port of call.
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For the next part of our Baltic Journey in Riga, click here.
Checking out J & C