The Best of Helsinki: The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites (Klaava Travel Guide) by Kim Anton - Read Online
The Best of Helsinki
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The Best of Helsinki introduces travelers to the key sights of Helsinki, activities that can be as exotic as the unique culture of this Nordic country, and local favorites that include events, places and tastes that few foreigners know about. The book is a visual guide to the city, featuring plenty of maps and photographs for tour planning, for quickly absorbing the elemental information about the key places, and for navigating the city.

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is located by the sea, and surrounded by a geographically large, but scarcely inhabited country that leaves plenty of space for wild forests and clear water lakes. The metropolitan area is home for 1.3 million people, but the city itself is relatively compact and easy to explore on your own. Helsinki is a modern Scandinavian city dominated by the country’s unique culture between the east and the west, Nordic architecture, buzzing nightlife and bustling business.

The Best of Helsinki provides valuable tourist information for the destination, and cultural tips from local people that help to make travelers’ stay in the city enjoyable.

Published: Klaava Media on
ISBN: 9789527074572
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The Best of Helsinki

The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites

Kim Anton

The Best of Helsinki – The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites

Klaava Travel Guide

ISBN 978-952-7074-57-2 (EPUB)

Copyright Kim Anton and Andalys Ltd/Klaava Media

Photographs and videos by Kim Anton, unless credited to someone else.

Publisher: Klaava Media / Andalys Ltd

February 2016



Helsinki in a Nutshell

Helsinki on a Map


Getting Around

Essential Tips for Tourists

Top 10 Destinations to Visit

Senate Square and Cathedral


Temppeliaukio Rock Church

Esplanade Park and Market Square


Töölö Bay

Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

The Parliament House (Eduskuntatalo)

Music Center (Musiikkitalo)

National Museum (Kansallismuseo)

Finlandia Hall (Finlandiatalo)

Opera House (Oopperatalo)

Winter Garden (Talvipuutarha)

Around Töölö Bay

Uspenski Cathedral

Ateneum Art Museum



Top 10 Places and Events Local People Love

The Night of the Arts

Hietalahti Flea Market

Stockmann and Akateeminen

First of May

Hietaranta Beach

Ice Hockey Game

Baltic Herring Market

Hike in the Central Park

Café Ekberg and Café Karl Fazer

Fun for Families with Children



More Places to Visit and Things to Do

Destinations near Helsinki

Daytrips from Helsinki

Overnight Trips from Helsinki






Bars, Pubs, and Nightclubs


Practical Information

A Brief History of Helsinki

Facts about Finland

Related Books


Finland’s capital Helsinki has been named one of the best cities to live, work, and visit. Want to know why? Helsinki is a Nordic city where modern Europe meets old monarchist cultures, and where a unique mixture of west and east has developed over centuries.

The sea, wild forests, and lakes are never far from the Helsinki metropolitan area, where more than a million people live and work. That is another unique dynamic: Helsinki is big enough to be a lively business-oriented and cultural city, but compact enough to be pleasant and alluring.

Helsinki's charm is in its laidback atmosphere and Nordic culture. There are a wide variety of things to do, and summers are just absolutely beautiful. It is clean, safe, and easy to get around the city and country.

Espoo in the foreground, Helsinki city center peninsula located on the right near the top.

There are 600,000 residents in Helsinki. Add in the surrounding metropolitan cities including of Espoo, Vantaa, and a few small towns, and the area is home for about 1.3 million people. By Scandinavian standards, Helsinki is a buzzing city with a lively city center. Nonetheless, travelers flying to Helsinki, for instance, from a crowded Asian metropolis may find the ample free space, relatively low number of people, large green areas, lack of frequent congestion on the roads, and fresh air to breathe somewhat exotic.

Even though there are no world-famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum in Helsinki, there are plenty of historical sites to explore, modern design to admire, markets and stores to shop at, beaches to relax at, parks and boulevards to hang out in, restaurants to eat at, and pubs to enjoy the company of local people. This is how you get to know the real Helsinki – enjoying the city life like a local.

Finland's location between the east and the west has made the nation what it is today. Even though Finns relate themselves to western Europe, Baltic and Russian influences and culture are evident in Helsinki. History tells why: Finland is a country that has been part of Sweden (until the early 19th century) and Russia (until the early 20th century) before the nation became independent in 1917.

Helsinki is located in northern Europe, which means visitors have to pay attention to the climate when planning a trip to the city. Winters are cold and snowy. Temperate coastal climate dominates Helsinki in spring, summer, and autumn. In addition to large temperature variation between summer and winter, another signature characteristic defines seasons in Finland. Summer days are long:  the sun never sets in northern Finland, and summer nights are white rather than dark in Helsinki. Exactly the opposite is true in winter: Helsinki gets only a few hours of faint daylight in November, December, and January.

The city center with the Cathedral rising above other buildings.

Helsinki in a Nutshell

Helsinki is the capital of Finland, a large but sparsely populated country in northern Europe. About 600,000 people live in Helsinki, and many of the 1.3 million people living in the metropolitan area commute daily to Helsinki for work.

Travelers who approach Helsinki via air or via sea get a good look at seemingly endless green forests (in the summer, that is) before the city comes into view. Finland is a land of large forests, thousands of lakes, elks, and reindeer. There are 5.3 million people who live in Finland, most of them in the south and southwest regions.

Nonetheless, the Helsinki metropolitan area is buzzing with life and business. In the city center, history is readily present from the era when Finland was the eastern province of the kingdom of Sweden and later, when the Czars ruled the nation. In 1812, Russia moved its easternmost province's capital to Helsinki and commissioned the construction of the city center that would leave no doubts about the important role of the city. The new capital was to have a number of key administrative buildings, as well as educational and religious buildings. German architect C.L. Engel got the job and designed a uniform city center in classical empire style.

Naturally, Helsinki is much more than the historical empire blocks in the city center. In addition to the Senate Square and its surroundings, places like Esplanade, Rock Church, Kaivopuisto park, and Töölö Bay attract both locals and tourists.

It is also worth getting tips from local people who know about many other places and events besides the primary tourist attractions. For example, the Nuuksio wilderness area that can be reached by public transportation in 40 minutes, Kallio district, the Night of the Arts event, or the Baltic Herring Market. There is a lot to explore and experience in the city and also in nearby places, like the idyllic old town of Porvoo or former capital Turku where a medieval castle still guards the city.

The compact city center of Helsinki is easily explored by foot. However, tram or subway can also quickly take you anywhere in the city. Bicycle is another popular way to get around. The nicest bicycle routes are outside the city