Helsinki is the capital of Finland and one of the world’s most northernmost capitals. As such, winters can be cold and long, but come summer, the sun shines and temperatures can climb to over 25C. This is a great time to visit Helsinki to discover this beautiful city and relax in the outdoor bars and restaurants, watching life go by in the sunshine.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN HELSINKI
- Helsinki offers a huge number of historical buildings including cathedrals, churches, museums and galleries, many free to enter. One of these is the Lutheran Cathedral which is considered the unofficial symbol of the city. A majestic white building adorned with green domes and recently renovated with 12 apostles looking down upon passers-by and the statue of Alexander II rising in its shadow. Another is Uspenski Cathedral, a classical onion-domed Russian Orthodox Church and the largest in Western Europe. Also free to enter, the domes are topped with 22-carat gold and some of the attractions within are considered to be miraculous.
- One sight not to be missed is the Suomenlinna considered the ‘Gibraltar of the North’ and once the greatest sea fortress in the Baltic. The island is a delight to visit offering only old buildings, fortifications, catacombs and a handful of cars. For refreshments, there are cafes, restaurants and also green areas, perfect for a picnic on a sunny day. In 1991 it was included in UNESCO’s World heritage List as a monument to European military architecture. The island is free to enter with ferries sailing from Market Square on a regular basis and there are guided tours available for people who would like to learn more of its history.
- The world-famous Sibelius Monument is one of Helsinki’s most famous attractions and can be found in Sibelius Park. It is constructed from 600 pipes to form a unique piece of art that resembles organ pipes.
EATING OUT & NIGHTLIFE IN HELSINKI
Helsinki has some great cosmopolitan restaurants and a good time to eat out is during lunchtime where it’s possible to get a set lunch menu for less than 10 euros. There are plenty of fast food offerings available, but another option is the Unicafe chain of restaurants which are run by the Helsinki University student union and offer a variety of affordable dishes.
Even though drinking out is not cheap in Helsinki, there are still plenty of trendy places to be found around the city centre, Iso-Roobertinkatu and Eerikinkatu. These are also popular destinations for Helsinki’s busy gay nightlife.
GETTING AROUND IN HELSINKI
There are various ticket options available for getting around Helsinki including the type of transport, time specific or regional limited which can be bought form ticket machines, the driver or via your mobile phone. The trams offer a convenient and scenic way to discover the city centre, while the buses provide transport further afield.