The best time to visit the Finnish capital is certainly the Summer. Despite the warmer temperatures, however, never forget to bring some heavier sweater. The average temperature in July is between 20 and 22 degrees.
First of all get in peace with yourself and the language, because to a foreigner it seems that everything is written by typing random letters on the keyboard.
Discover Helsinki is very manageable by walking, especially in areas of the city center and public transport it is working fine. Taxis are very popular and of high quality with drivers who speak English well and payment possible by credit card.
Start your tour with a good coffee or cocktail on the Esplanade Park, first stop is the “Cafe Strindberg”, which offers an exclusive and very relaxing atmosphere, to be enjoyed in front of a good glass of sweet coffee or a cocktail of the house (we tried the Basil & Ginger, very good and refreshing).
If the weather is rainy and cold, Helsinki offers among the largest shopping centers in Europe, with bars, restaurants and shops that can entertain the shoppers for an entire day. One of these is the “Forum”, that towards the late afternoon, especially on weekends, is full of people who come together in the bars (try the “Apollo“) to start their evening before continuing in one of the clubs or theaters of the city.
Continue visiting the neo-classical cathedral placed on top of a grand staircase on Senate Square. Inside you will find the statues of Agricola, the father of Finnish literature, first person to translate the Bible into Finnish, and Luther. Once finished your visit to the cathedral, head to the dock right by the market square “Kauppatori“, facing the beautiful turquoise palace of the Swedish Embassy and jump on one of the many ferries that offer the sightseing around the bay of Helsinki and all its islands, including Suomenlinna the most famous one, once a military fortress that still it collects proof of the military history the Finns are proud of. Curiosity: in the Shipyard of Helsinki is produced 60% of all ice breaker vesselss in the world.
After the boat trip, if you are cold and you want to enjoy a nice bite, stop by the street food truck “Scandinavia Food Restaurant“, usually right in front of the pier for boat tours and try the fried fish, anchovies, squid, crab, shrimp and herring onion, accompanied by a delicious garlic sauce.
While enjoying these delicacies, beware of seagulls on the harbor of the market place, they could snatch away from your hands what you are about to eat and would not be a pleasant experience.
The Finns are among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world, so you won’t be disappointed wherever you will have one.
On the same square, stop for a coffee at “Cafe Jugend”, a Jungend Styl Cafee, preserving a fresco of a stylized Helsinki and antique cruises advertisments, which also offers live music.
If weather conditions are on your side, do not wait to go out on the streets and discover the city in its every corner. Helsinki will surprise you.
Heading from the port towards the center of Etelaesplanadi you will find a building in Art Nuveau style, which hosts the restaurant Kappeli, a good and fancy place to enjoy good Finnish food, a salmon dish or an elk meat hamburger “Hunter’s Open Sandwich “. If you fancy a beer you will not be spoiled choosing the Bar “Villi Wäinö“, we just wish the whole menu on the board was written in English.
Dedicate a good part of one of your days to visit Helsiki’s museums, especially the KIASMA, contemporary art museum featuring a building with a metal roof full of curved lines. Contains one of the most eclectic collections of modern Finnish and international art. The museum and its surroundings are always populated by hundreds of inhabitants of Helsinki, who takes ii sun on the lawns and flower beds of those who relaxes under the statue of Mannheim.
Once in Finland do not miss the chance to take a sauna in Helsinki, in Finland there are more than one million and Finnish are extremely proud of their Saunas. There are saunas in restaurants and bars and even more saunas than cars. The Finns like to spend time in silence at these high temperatures, also known for being not the best in small talk, they are always open to explain their customs and traditions and spend time with tourists.
Try this experience to Kulttuurisauna (Hakaniemenranta 17) to have a real Zen experience.
Where to eat
Kalevankatu 3, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
A local classic architecture, with a magnificent service. You are greeted at the entrance waiting for your table by a friendly gentleman who in a very formal way will take care of your coats before entering the room. The typical Finnish food is really excellent. Helsinki is for sure a place where you will eat really well. Try the Finnish Appetizer with smoked meat of elk and the baltic herring, cheese and onion sauce and then move on to the meat main dishes: elk filet, chicken breast Russian art and lamb livers.
-Scandinavia Food Restaurant-
Eteläesplanadi 1, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
Where to drink
Pohjoisesplanadi 33, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
Kalevankatu 4, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
-Apollo live club-
Mannerheimintie 16, 00100 Helsinki, Finland