16 Dec 10 tips to enjoy Helsinki
Welcome to Hel.
The Finnish capital is the most honest city in the world. How do we know? They left 12 wallets out around the city and 11 of them made their way back to their owners.
Leaders in recycling, environmental awareness and trendy design, this waterfront city is the land of the thousand lakes. They have the whole world’s fresh water resources.
Add that to the reasons why I think you will enjoy #myhelsinki.
1 The Cathedral
One of the most prominent landmarks of the city, it is very unlike other European churches. It is very simple and very clean with no elaborate decorations inside. I found it very calming, and like an invitation to leave all unnecessary luggage behind.
2 The street food
Helsinki is buzzing with new chefs and a very healthy trend of organic foods. Always accompanied by a street performance, street kiosks sell a variety of treats, especially Salmiakki which is salty liquorice. Another of their specialties is reindeer meatballs and grilled salmon. You will also find coffee vendors everywhere, as the Finns are obsessed with coffee.
3 The rock church
Temppeliaukio church is one of Helsinki’s main attractions, understandably so! This is an unforgettable place of genius architecture.
Carved out of rocks, with a copper dome and concrete beams, it has amazing acoustics and is often used as a concert hall.
You can’t come to Finland and not enjoy a sauna. And more specifically in this case, we’re talking about Sompasauna.
Yes, it’s a sauna. But Sompasauna is much more than that: it’s a community.
Run by volunteers, the remote place is open 24/7 and is totally free, allowing for groups as well as individuals to take part of the SPA experience.
Built right on the Baltic Sea, you will get to jump into the cold water after being in the hot wooden cabin.
Summer is the nicest week of the year in Helsinki (haha) so why not enjoy a ferry ride.
Use it to get across to Suomenlinna Island which is a Unesco world heritage site. This cultural treasure is a fortress that has served in the defense of the country, and is today a main attraction with museums and restaurants that welcome visitors.
6 The Military museum
While on the island of Suomenlinna, you can take advantage of the many museums dedicated to the country’s rich history. One especially interesting is the Military Museum’s manege, dedicated to the Finnish defense forces “100 years at war and peace”. The museum showcases actual combat gear and weapons that were used in many wars, especially WWII.
7 Stockmann department store
After so much culture it was time for some shopping! And we found the largest department store where you can get anything and everything. Stockmann is not only a mecca of high design, it was for me an incredible source of ideas. Even if you don’t buy anything here, you will be inspired by the amazing and avant-garde Finnish designs, and it will enhance your imagination with new ideas. You will have a Finnish mood board in your mind.
8 Bike ride
There’s no better way to take a tour of the city!
Just a few kilometers and you will be out in the woods for an amazing tour. You will also find the lakes where you can enjoy many activities.
Another fun fact is that the daylight will stay later than 9PM, so you don’t have to worry about being stranded if you are late on your bike ride.
9 The Prison hotel
Looking for something romantic and out of the box? How about a night at the recently refurbished prison hotel? Until recently, Hotel Katajanokka was a prison.
Now, you can actually sleep in the cells or just visit them while you have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. I’m not sure how romantic it is, but it is certainly a new experience!
Best described as a hipster mecca, Kallio is a very lively area filled with bars where you can enjoy a nice evening. The bohemian neighborhood is the perfect place to find great beer, great wine and great cocktails.
The capital of cool design, cool architecture and cool people, Helsinki was more than a discovery: it was refreshing! See you back in Hel.