Discover

Helsinki

Capital of design
Helsinki is the gateway to southern Finland and its green forests and crystal clear lakes are a short distance by car from the city centre. Helsinki is a pocket-sized metropolis, a modern, European cultural city, which is famous above all for design and high technology.
 
 
Finland was part of the Russian Empire for almost one hundred years and the architecture in many parts of Helsinki is similar to that of St. Petersburg and Moscow. The different architectural styles and the impact of different periods in its 450 years of history can be clearly seen around the city. Finnish design has also contributed to making the country’s capital famous.
 
 
The wonderful surrounding countryside blends seamlessly with the hi-tech buildings, and old traditions live alongside the latest trends. There are many wonderful parks in the city and the forests on the outskirts are the ideal place for a peaceful and relaxing walk. The rhythm of life in Helsinki is both laid back and buzzing, and this is due in part to the number and quality of its restaurants and night clubs.
Most of Helsinki’s tourist attractions can easily be reached on foot from the city centre, but you can always rely on the excellent public transport system, which has been ranked the best in Europe. Helsinki and its inhabitants have an immediate charm and personality - the people are open and uncomplicated.
The trendy, relaxed atmosphere demonstrates how the city is open to new ideas and the latest trends. Helsinki is also a green city, close to the sea and surrounded by countryside. One third of the city is made up of parks and gardens. The wonderful unspoilt countryside around the capital offers unlimited opportunities for relaxation and healthy open-air activities. The city parks can be enjoyed by tourists and residents alike, and the woods of Central Park begin just outside the centre.
 
 
Helsinki's attractive and unique character comes from its proximity to the sea, which offers an endless number of exciting opportunities in both summer and winter. Helsinki is surrounded by the sea on three sides, and has almost 100 kilometres of coast and over 300 islands. The lifestyle in the second-most northern capital city in the world is full of contrasts and fascinating cultural customs. Influences from both the East and West are visible in the city's architecture, culinary culture, events, traditions and many other elements that are unique to the way of life in Helsinki.
 
Finnish cuisine
Finland has a harsh climate, which makes the cultivation of many products prohibitive. Butter and milk are of the highest quality and are preferred yogurt and viili (curdled milk with a gelatinous consistency). There are many types of bread, such as ruisleipä, prepared with rye flour or other grain flours. The beef is most consumed but also hare, reindeer, elk and balbresiki nikii, the characteristic Lappish boar. Famous are the grillimakkara, large wurst cooked in a flame and stuffed with mustard. Fruit and vegetables are imported with the exception of berries and in particular blueberries to prepare cakes and tart mustikkapiirakka. Very popular and used are the berries, such as lakka (camember or cloudberry) with a sour taste, ideal to prepare lakkalikööri (lakka liqueur) or for jams, ice cream and camomoro honey. Also loved by the Finns are salmiakki (salty liquorice) and Fazer Blue chocolate.
 
Grillimakkara
Ruisleipä
 
Mustikkapiirakka
Salmiakki
 
 
Where to sleep in Helsinki
 

Helsinki is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.

To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.

 

Text by Lisa Maria River
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Video: www.myhelsinki.fi
 
 
 
Tourism Boards
www.myhelsinki.fi
www.visitfinland.com
WHERE TO GO
Monuments
SENATE SQUARE
Unionikatu and Aleksanterinkatu
Senate Square and its surroundings are a unique and harmonious example of Neoclassical architecture. The Square is dominated by four buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel between 1822 and 1852: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the University and the LibrarySederholm House, the oldest stone building in Helsinki, is instead found in the south-east corner of the square. www.visithelsinki.fi
HELSINKI CATHEDRAL
Unioninkatu 29
The Cathedral was designed by C.L. Engel in splendid Neoclassical style. The work began according to his designs in 1830, and was completed after Engel's death in 1852. In addition to its function as a church, it is also the scene of major events, while exhibitions and concerts are held in the crypt. It is without doubt the most photographed building in Finland.
 
SUOMENLINNA MARITIME FORTRESS
Built on an island in front of the city, Suomenlinna can be reached by boat from Market Square
Suomenlinna is on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, which groups together important and interesting buildings, natural formations and habitats throughout the world.   
www.suomenlinna.fi
CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION
Asema-aukio
The Central Railway Station was designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1909 and opened in 1919. The building is mostly clad in Finnish granite, and its distinguishing features are its clock tower and two pairs of statues holding spherical lamps that light up the entire station at night. 
www.eliel-saarinen.com
 
Museums
SEURASAARI OPEN-AIR MUSEUMS
Nervanderinkatu 13
Visitors can admire traditional wooden buildings that have been transported from different regions in Finland while walking through the luxuriant countryside of the island.  
The guides in national costumes take visitors to explore the houses and halls of the past.
www.nba.fi
DESIGN MUSEUMS
Korkeavuorenkatu 23
The Design Museum illustrates the development of industrial art - from artistic handicrafts to industrial design from the second half of the 19th century to the present day. The permanent exhibition of the museum is supported by temporary Finnish and international themed exhibitions on historical and contemporary design. The building, which dates back to 1894, is a splendid location for all events.  
www.designmuseum.fi
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART KIASMA
Mannerheiminaukio 2
The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma breaks the boundaries of traditional art museums and follows the latest trends. The collections include Finnish and also foreign works of art, particularly from Nordic and Baltic countries. Temporary exhibitions and other events are also held here. The Kiasma Theatre's programme includes theatre, dance, performance, music, multimedia, film and video art, seminars and conferences. Kiasma is a part of the Finnish National Gallery
 
Excursions
KORKEASAARI
The most northerly zoo in the world offers a tour through habitats ranging from the tundra to the rain forest and the interior wetlands, and features 150 animal species and almost 1000 plants, demonstrating the diversity of nature. To protect them, the different species have been adapted to their natural habitat. Open all year round. 
LEIKKILUOLA
Hakaniemi, Sornaisten Rantatie 6
The Lego Show is a theme park created for the whole family in the Hakaniemi district.
The attractions and shows are fun for both young and old alike. It is divided into three parts, each with its own characteristics and activities to discover. www.en.leikkiluola.fi - www.legoshow.com
 
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