Charming Helsinki is our City of the Month for February…
Finland’s capital is a vibrant but laid-back coastal city with an appealing combination of great food, an influential design scene, and a wealth of high culture. Architecture ranges from traditional, functional wooden constructions to romantic art nouveau through to sleek modernist buildings.
Helsinki has one of the highest urban standards of living in the world and sustainability and environmental awareness are an established part of Finnish culture – much of the food is seasonal and locally sourced and a healthy outdoor life is key. From boating and exploring the archipelago’s islands to strolling along beaches and hiking through verdant forests, residents and tourists can easily immerse themselves in Helsinki’s idyllic natural scenery.
Packed with art galleries and museums, Helsinki is also Finland’s hub for politics, education, and finance – and one of Northern Europe’s most important economic centres – making it ideal for international business conventions, corporate meetings, and incentive trips.
Summary: Combining beautiful scenery with a wealth of culture, the Finnish capital is a great destination for:
- Leisure groups
Population of Helsinki: 650, 000
Annual tourist numbers: 3.5 million nights per year for business and leisure travellers.
Location: situated in southern Finland, on the Gulf of Finland coast.
Nearest airport: Helsinki Airport is 18 km from the city.
Getting around Helsinki:
The highly efficient public transport system consists of trams, commuter rail, the metro, bus lines, two ferry lines and bike lanes.
What to eat and drink in Helsinki:
- Runeberg Torte – small rum cakes topped with icing and jam
- Pulla – cinnamon buns with walnuts
- Salmiakki – salted licorice
- Baltic herring
- Mustikkapiirakka – blueberry pie
- Grillimakkara – grilled sausages with mustard and beer
- Kaalikääryleet – steamed cabbage leaves, stuffed with meat, onions, and spices and topped with lingonberry jam
Weather/seasons in Helsinki:
Helsinki has a humid continental climate, characterised by long, cold winters and relatively short, mild, but fairly wet summers.
Helsinki’s top 10 attractions:
- National Museum of Helsinki – a neo-medieval castle housing a collection spanning prehistoric times to the 21st century.
- Finnish National Galleries – three art museums: Ateneum (classical Finnish art), Sinebrychoff Taidemuseo (classical European art), and Kiasma (international modern art).
- Market Square – the bustling square offers fresh fish, Finnish hot chocolate, handmade jewellery, wooden mugs, reindeer hides and more.
- Kamppi, Chapel of Silence – built in 2012, as a sanctuary of serenity in the midst of the city, the tiny chapel’s thick curvilinear wooden construction creates silence within.
- Luonnontieteellinen Museo – Helsinki’s natural history museum.
- Helsinki University Botanical Gardens, Kaisaniemi – visitors can explore the grounds and greenhouses at this historical site.
- Fortress of Suomenlinna – the UNESCO World Heritage site is a fascinating fort straddling a cluster of six islands.
- Temppeliaukio Kirko – Timo & Tuomo Suomalainen’s Lutheran church, carved into the rock in 1969.
- Parliament House – designed by Finnish architect Johan Sigfrid Siren in the neoclassical style.
- SkyWheel Helsinki – a 40-metre high Ferris wheel with a sauna in one of its gondola cabins.
Best times to visit Helsinki
June to August – for long warm days, outdoor café culture, and events like the annual Helsinki Festival which celebrates Finnish arts and culture
December to March – for snow and winter activities, including cross-country skiing through wintry forests, as well as cheery light installations and a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Our 3-day Helsinki city break includes a hop-on/hop-off city tour that takes in the historical centre, City Hall, the Parliament buildings, Finlandia Hall, the Opera House, the Sibelius monument and Temppeliaukio Church, and panoramic views from the Ferris wheel. Please get in touch with our team for a tailor-made European itinerary for your clients…