Let's talk about Helsinki, the largest educational, political, cultural, research and financial center in Northern Europe!
Full of life, culture and adventure, Helsinki is located next to the Baltic Sea in the Uusimaa region, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, with a coastline that stretches for about 100 kilometers that hosts 300 islands in front of it.
As you surely know, Helsinki is the capital of Finland and also one of the largest and most interesting cities in this country to visit at any time or season of the year. And it is that surely you have heard it before, Helsinki inspires locals and tourists every year thanks to its magnificent architecture, design, gastronomy and amazing customs. In fact, the city was chosen in 2012 as the World Capital of Design, a title for which it is internationally recognized. You'll see, its streets, buildings and shops simply reveal it as the great creative city that it is.
Helsinki is a city that is home to countless monuments of interest, attractive neighbourhoods, squares, restaurants and more, all of which are very easy to visit. This city invites you to go sightseeing on foot due to its excellent public transport system and iconic trams.
There will be some tourist sites such as the Seurasaari house museum (to the north in Meilahti) or the Sibelius monument, which you will have to travel by car or ferry, but these options are still phenomenal.
The locals in Finland, and especially its capital city, are characterized as inveterate lovers of nature. So it will not be unusual for you to observe a lot how they have merged architecture and nature in their buildings, from their chapels to their restaurants and hotels. In fact, they use the most natural means, for example, glass, metal and wood (since around 75% of the city is forest) as a form of sustenance for the constructions, and integrate them in very creative and ingenious ways. in their day to day, inspired by its iconic landscapes and lakes. It's part of the happy lifestyle they lead! You'll see, even modern design and art in Helsinki (and in general throughout the country) is inspired by nature.
Visiting Helsinki will be quite an experience due to the hospitality and kindness that you will receive wherever you go. The locals in the city are very friendly and talkative, even if you suddenly hear that they mostly speak to you in Finnish, Swedish or English.
Don't be fooled by the cold, the atmosphere in Helsinki is warm and close because its people and its culture make it so. Visiting this city is an experience that will remain in your memory for the rest of your life. Without a doubt, the best way to connect with Finnish culture is to start your adventure in this great city. We invite you to be part of this "must see" and start your journey with us right here. Read on and find out a little more about the experience of exploring Helsinki, Finland!
Set foot in this city is synonymous with enjoying splendid days, and above all full of activity, even if you traveled in winter and are moving around looking for a ray of sun in the streets! But do not worry. As we have mentioned, it is a city that, despite being quite cold, is great to visit in any season of the year. And it is that winter they turn on underground pipes that heat the streets preventing them from freezing. Ingenious, right? In addition, the Finns love Saunas and it will not be uncommon for you to find one or more in every corner as you walk, even inside a museum or library.
Another advantage is that Helsinki is a very bright city and extremely pleasant for walks. There is a lot to explore and see: between shops of renowned designer brands, modernist buildings, monuments, museums, chapels, restaurants and beautiful neighborhoods in the unique Finnish style.
This city has been described as one of the Nordic capitals that arouses the greatest interest in terms of art and architecture, especially due to the creative use of wood that we mentioned a moment ago. In addition, its clear landscapes include long nights during the summer, also illuminated with the warmth of a city that reflects a unique light by itself, full of life, but very calm at the same time, especially indicated if you are looking for that moment of relaxation. relaxation that we need so much. Dare to discover more about everything you can discover in this great and artistic city!
THE EXPERIENCE OF TRAVELING TO HELSINKI
Finland is one of the countries with the freshest and cleanest air in the world. Of course, with thousands of kilometers of space it was no wonder, so be prepared to feel the purity of the environment from the moment you get off the plane at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport.
Traveling to Helsinki is, normally, very easy from Spain. The normal thing is that you get daily direct flights, although the option of following a cruise through the Baltic Sea that passes through Helsinki is also useful. There is also the option of getting to Helsinki from Sweden or Estonia by ferry. You will decide which possible option is best for you!
From the airport you can take a bus or train to the city and you will be there in half an hour a little less, and on the way you will be amazed by the wooded and country landscapes in its surroundings.
Remember that the locals may speak to you in Finnish, but also in Swedish (which they use as a second language), so many public signs will be posted in both languages. Many also speak English, but very little Spanish, so you must be prepared so that the language barrier is not a problem when you travel.
When you arrive in the city, you will realize that using public transport is one of your best options to really get to know the city up close, since Helsinki is characterized by its trams, which you will see everywhere. Getting on them is a big part of the experience.
Helsinki is a very diverse city, and it is even an ideal place for sports, especially during the summer and autumn, such as playing golf, running, cycling, fishing, camping, hiking. At the end of August and September you will see spectacular autumn colors that the Finns call “Ruska”, the perfect time to walk and enjoy the outdoors. As November begins, winter arrives and with it the perfect opportunity to practice downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, sledding and ice skating.
INCREDIBLE PLACES TO VISIT IN HELSINKI
Helsinki is an incredible location for all tastes, but the truth is that specifically this city in Finland is very calm. You let yourself be carried away very naturally by the walks that it offers following your tourist guide.
As we mentioned before, public transport (bus, tram, metro) in Helsinki works very well, although you may need to take the ferry or a rented car to reach some of the best and most recommended spots
There are simple tickets that you can buy per day at kiosks or digital machines to move around the city. You can also opt for regional tickets that allow you to move to other locations in Finland such as Vantaa, Kaunianen or Espoo. You can even buy your own Helsinki City Card or the Helsinki Card Region, to use public transport as much as you want for a single price, and also obtain discounts in restaurants, saunas, and concerts, and even free passes to museums.
Discover the most essential places to visit in Helsinki:
- DESIGN DISTRICT/NEIGHBORHOOD IN HELSINKI
Continuing straight on the famous Esplandi Avenue, one of the best known and busiest in the city, you will find the Helsinki Design District, in the old Helsingfors. In this neighborhood you will find countless shops where design reigns supreme, with the best brands of clothing, porcelain, furniture, glassware... the most prestigious in all of Finland. Some of the most iconic are Alvar Aalto, Arabia, Iittala, Marimekko and Artek.
It is also a culinary tasting area and incredible desserts. One of the most recommended places is to visit the terrace of the famous Hotel Torni, or stop by the recommended Moko café.
- SEURASAARI: OPEN AIR MUSEUM
Although it is a bit far from the city center, the Seurasaaren ulkomuseo is a visit that you will not regret, located on the island that bears the same name. This is an open-air museum built in 1909, which really reflects what the old countryside was like for the Finns in Helsinki. This island-museum is also known as “Rural Finland in Miniature”, for capturing traditional life so well with its natural surroundings, farms and cabins.
- SIBELIUS MONUMENT
About 5 minutes by bus from the Seurasaaren ulkomuseor you find the Sibelius-monumentti, which is also a worthwhile place It is well worth visiting, even if it means getting away from the city center a bit. You find it in Sibelius Park, named after Jean Sibelius (1865), which has become a national symbol for Finns.
The monument to Sibelius (work of the sculptor Eila Hiltunen, 1967) is a huge structure made up of 600 steel tubes that form a magnificent 24-ton sculpture, created in honor of the Finnish composer, who started the modern musical school in the country.
Sibelius Park is extremely pleasant, especially if you enjoy something to eat or drink in one of its cafes or restaurants facing the sea. In addition, you can take advantage of taking a walk outside the typical Seurasaari Island, or take a bicycle route.
- SUOMENLINNA FORTIFICATION
You will not regret being a part of the boat excursion to the Suomenlinna fortification, located on an island in the southern part of the city. It was built in 1748 and declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The walk will take you through green and fortified landscapes, giant cannons, various museums and the Vesikko, an old Finnish submarine.
The fortress was originally intended to defend the Kingdom of Sweden, but it was taken over by different armies throughout history. It is currently a space for history, recreation and outdoor leisure. It is a visit that will take at least 3 hours, but it is very complete and very interesting in every way.
- MARKET SQUARE
Helsinki Market Square is one of the top locations to visit in the city, located right on the shores of the Baltic Sea in the center of the city. Ferries and cruises leave from the square that travel through the channels of Helsinki or take you to nearby islands such as Suomenlinna. Large ships also sail to Stockholm (Sweden) or Saint Petersburg (Russia).
The Market Square is full of kiosks and souvenir stalls and delicious fresh food. You can also get sausages and all kinds of products made from elk meat, very famous in Finland. The Market Square is most crowded between spring and autumn, in high season.
- HELSINKI CITY HALL
You can find the city hall in the Plaza del Mercado, so all you have to do is turn around to see it. There you find fixed and temporary educational exhibitions open to the public. It is an excellent place to learn more about the history of this great city.
- ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL (USPENSKI)
The Cathedral of the Dormition (Uspenskin katedraali) is the orthodox church of Helsinki (the largest in all of Western Europe) and you can find it less than 10 minutes from the Market Square.
You will easily recognize it by its golden domes and by the multiple red bricks that cover its façade. This 967-square-meter construction houses a single nave inside with all kinds of icons and ornaments that correspond to the Byzantine era and Orthodox rites/customs. Uspenski Cathedral is one of the most recognized works of the Russian architect Alexey Gornostaev, despite the fact that its construction was completed after his death.
- SENATE SQUARE
Another interesting square to visit is Senate Square, designed by the architect Carl Ludvig Engel. This place, located in the streets of Barrio Tori (Tori Quarter), brings together tourists who hope to get to know the Palace of the State Council or the University of Helsinki located there a little closer, and also the (Lutheran) Cathedral of Helsinki that You will recognize it by its white neoclassical style.
This square has a lot of interesting activity, such as art exhibitions, ice sculpture competitions in winter, concerts and also snowboarding competitions!
- THE CHAPEL OF SILENCE (KAMPPI)
In Narinkka square you will find the Chapel of Silence (Kamppi), inaugurated a few years ago, in the same square that houses the popular Kamppi shopping center. The chapel consists of a cylindrical wooden structure designed by K2S, the renowned Finnish design studio.
- THE CHURCH OF TEMPPELIAUKIO
The famous church of Temppliaukio is one of the most visited places in the city. It is an impressive structure carved out of stone with a glass dome from which a beautiful natural light enters, located in the Töölö district. Half a million tourists visit this church with such a curious construction and excellent acoustics for concerts every year. It is a Lutheran temple designed by the brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen (both architects) in 1969.
- HELSINKI PANORAMIC CRUISE
As we have mentioned before, Helsinki is a city open to the Baltic Sea, so taking a panoramic cruise of the city is one of the most important and exciting activities for those who visit it. In addition to the ferries that take you to the archipelagos and islands near the city, there are cruises that could even take you to Russia and Sweden.
The sightseeing tour will take you about 90 minutes in which you can walk quietly and enjoy the view of the islands and Helsinki itself from different and indescribable angles. In winter, navigation is allowed if there are no frosts, but the most typical thing is to take this tour at the rest of the year.
- THE ATENEUM
The Ateneum is one of the most important museums in all of Helsinki. And it is that it houses the most complete and oldest collection of Finnish art in history (XVIII to XX) and also houses more than 600 international works by iconic artists. Founded in 1887, the Ateneum is part of the Finnish National Gallery, together with the Kiasma Contemporary Museum and the Sinebrychoff Museum of European Art (XIV to XIX).
Are you excited to meet them? And these are just some of the most iconic and representative places in the city, but the truth is that wherever you look at it you will have a new place to visit and discover in Helsinki.
ACCOMMODATION IN HELSINKI
Your stay in Helsinki will surely be very new and interesting for you. You will find many types of accommodation, from cabins and apartments, to hotels of all kinds and with beautiful designs and all the comforts. One of the most famous is the Hotel Torni, which has panoramic views (Scandic), bars, terraces open to the public and more, all decorated in the style of the 1920s.
We know that Finland is not an excessively touristy country like Italy, France and Germany, but that does not leave it behind in the race for excellence in tourism and hospitality. And although the standard of living is high in Finland, the prices of accommodation, hotels, hostels, challettes, cottages and the so-called Bed & Breakfasts are not too exaggerated, and have excellent quality. Furthermore, in themselves they are incredible architectural works with contemporary and modern style that fuse metal, wood, furniture and glass and glass in perfect harmony and design.
Helsinki also has many eccentric “boutique” hotel options and also very interesting “boutique” hostels, which will seem more like another tourist spot on your travel agenda. This is a new concept of accommodation in Helsinki that offers a more picturesque style at affordable prices, but without sacrificing attention, quality or service. However, it is possible that -by official regulation- some rooms have the bathroom outside, since they are very strict when it comes to keeping the structures as original as possible. Still very charming, well priced and pet friendly for the most part!
Many tourists also choose to stay in rented apartments or flats in the city, seeking to live the local experience first-hand. You can find them all over Helsinki, and the prices vary depending on how close they are to the center or if they are located near a point of tourist interest.
This very cosmopolitan city located on the shores of the Baltic is defined as being very calm and full of knowledge and knowledge. The center and all corners of Helsinki inspire history, architectural richness and design, which leave every tourist impressed, and very happy to have chosen this city to visit. Its people are very open, honest and warm, and that gives a very important distinction to tourism in the city. In addition, the natural beauty that Helsinki offers is amazing because it unites tradition, old technology and modernism in the same place.
You can take your time, look around, plan your visit, and get around as you prefer, be it by public transport, bicycle, ferry, cruise ship, or sleigh!
It is definitely a city that has it all. Are you as delighted as we are? Don't miss out on everything this great city has to offer!