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Helsinki, the capitol of Finnland, had fascinated me from the beginning due to its charm and its lovely residents. More than 300 small Islands belong to the metropolis which contains round about 600.000 inhabitants. Fans of beautiful design, a relaxed rhythm and architectural highlight will get one’s money worth. Finns are simply cool. And on top real sport enthusiasts. Enjoy my top-tips for a short trip to Helsinki.
a relaxed culture
Do you know the singer Samu Haber who is part of the “The voice of Germany” jury? I met him on an event once.
And he is a typical Finn. He is friendly, open and utterly relaxed. And typically finnish is exactly how you should start your day in Helsinki. With coffee.
Because the Finn love their coffee culture. No wonder that we see one cute Café after the other along the street. I took my first stop for a cappuccino right by the harbor and watched the sea. Finns are also very close to nature
So if possible they sound their time outside and work out in the open as well.
There are outdoor gyms everywhere which are for free. You can also go to the sauna almost at every corner. Maybe that is the reason for the pleasant atmosphere.
This feels so relaxing especially for stressed out multi travelers like myself. Even the traffic barely has a rush hour.
Sightseeing in Helsinki
First I wanted to visit the most important places of interest. For instance the so called Rock church, which was blown directly into a 12m high granite rock.
The church is simple and extraordinary at the same time and has a wonderful acoustic.
The Sibelius-Memorial is ein a must-see as well in Helsinki. It was dedicated to the Finish composer Jean Sibelius and is situated inside of the Sibelius Parc in the district Töölö, tight by the sea.
I also found the Dome, very impressive which is called the white heart of the Finish capitol.
The main building of the Protestant-Lutheran church is not only a looker from the outside.
It stands for the country’s eventful history although it also an architectural time witness as it was build when Finnland was still part of Russia.
The Senate Square is right in front of the dome.
This is where the people from Helsinki like to meet with friends or to read a book or simply to enjoy the beautiful view of the dome. It’s really relaxed there!
On it goes to the Uspensky cathedral with its beautiful red bricks.
The cathedral is an orthodox church with onion spires and golden crosses which towers above the harbor.
We took a peek of the famous sea fortress Suomenlinna or also “Finn Fortress” from the opposite shore.
It is situated on several islands and is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Site.
You can reach the fortress within 15 min on a ferry. But I skipped the as I was getting seriously hungry!
Food in Helsinki
What is typical Finnish food? Fish in all kinds of variations! By the way: everyone is allowed to fish in Finnland. You don’t need a license. But that wasn’t part of our plan today.
The gourmet scene in Helsinki is quite innovative and diversified. There are a lot of pop-up Restaurants and the world wide “Restaurant Day” was even invented by gourmets from Helsinki.
But if you want to taste some of the favorite dishes you should visit the restaurant Juuri. Here you will also find Finish tapas – a fantastic taste experience!
People that are close to nature visit the Regatta, a tiny place right by the water. You can get small snacks or book a Kajak for a tour.
I instantly fell in love with that beautiful place. You can also roast marshmallows and sausages above an open fire. Outdoor romance basically.
If you want to experience the real thing you should go to the Savoy. The restaurant is situated on a rooftop and offers besides delicious food the best view of the city.
Design and Architecture
You probably figured it out already: the design and architecture scene in Helsinki is quite uncomplicated.
Up in the cool north the motto is: everything is possible, everything is allowed. Helsinki is considered to be the center of European design. Therefore numerous art object and statues are part of the cityscape.
„Shape needs to have a content and this content needs to be linked to nature.“ Finnlands most known architect and designer Alvar Aalto lived after this credo. In 1972 the most important concert hall which was signed by him was finished.
The protruding construction at the beautiful Töölanthi bay has a striking recognition factor and a great acoustics. In addition the view of the opposite coast is breath taking from there.
Even if you are not interested in art you should still definitely visit the „Kiasma“, the museum for modern art. The name Kiasma stands for a biological process where two chromosomes cross each other.
And that is exactly how it looks like. Inside you will find great modern art.
conclusion for a short trip to Helsinki
Helsinki is quite straightforward and therefore you can manage most distances easily on foot. I was totally relaxed during my day in Helsinki but I also send a lot of money as Helsinki isn’t cheap at all. But there are a lot of outdoor activities which are for free.
On the weekend for example Finns love to meet for a relaxed drink and a talk at the Esplanade Park. Many exercise at the outdoor gyms or visit the saunas. If you adjust to that rhythm you will definitely return relaxed.
You will find more city short trips here.