Europe > Finland
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Helsinkiâ€™s green parks and waterways, fresh sea winds, its busy market
square, its exciting cultural events and many open-air cafĂ©s make the
city a delightful place to visit. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is
the countryâ€™s center of cultural, financial and economic activity. The
heart of the city is compact, filled with treasures from the past and
present, and best explored on foot. The city retains a small town feel
as there are no high-rise buildings and the market square is still
surrounded by 19th century architecture.
of the sea, Helsinki was built along a series of peninsulas and islands
jutting into the Baltic coast along the Gulf of Finland. Streets and
avenues curve around bays, ferries travel among offshore islands, and
bridges reach in all directions. Helsinki is linked by ferry to
Suomenlinna Island in the Gulf of Finland, which is a perfect spot for
picnicking and family outings. Baltic ferries run from Sweden, Estonia
and Germany to Helsinki, Turku, Vaasa and Pietarsaari. The ferries are
impressive seagoing craft that have been compared to hotels and shopping
Most visitors arrive
in the summer, but Nordic skiing is popular all winter, and there are
cross-country trails of varying difficulty. Downhill skiers go to
Lapland, or to resorts in the many forested districts of Finland.
Boating can be enjoyed
on both sea and lake, but the prime sailing region is just a short
distance from the city in the Turku archipelago. Canoeing in the
Helsinki area is best on Ă…land archipelago.
Just beyond the city, the largest unspoiled wilderness in Europe
attracts thousands of trekkers every year.
has over thirty art galleries and museums. Numerous parks and waterside
walkways are woven into a perfectly blended range of architectural
styles, the result of a neoclassical building surge in the early 1800s
and the efforts of modernist Finnish designers in the mid 20th century.
Helsinki has been described as the last city in Europe to be built as
year 2000, Helsinki celebrated its 450th anniversary. This beautiful
city has aged gracefully, preserving the beauty of the past while
staying very modern and very efficient. Public transportation, including
buses, trams, and metro are clean, fast, inexpensive and reliable. The
railway station is an excellent example of the merging of beauty and
utility in Helsinki. The station contains not only the rail center, but
also a metro stop and an underground shopping complex. It is striking in
its appearance, with pink granite trimmed in green with a black roof.
Designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1905, it links two of Helsinkiâ€™s
architectural styles: national romanticism and functionalism.
food has elements of both Swedish and Russian cuisine, with many
variations and local specialties. The potato is a staple, and is served
with tasty fish or meat sauces. Some traditional Finnish meals include
game such as snow grouse, reindeer, raw pickled or glowfired salmon.
Restaurants and hotels offer a wide variety of delicious entrees
best seasonal Finnish ingredients. Also available are offerings prepared
in the classic European style.
the month most frequently chosen for a visit to Finland. The weather is
agreeable with blue skies and just an occasional shower. The summer rain
is warm and over quickly. The nights are filled with light in Finland in
the summer. Often you can read without a light even in the middle of the
night - a perfect situation for those who have remarked that â€śthere are
never enough hours in the day.â€ť
delight year round in the vast array of products of high quality that
are available in Helsinki. The Esplanadi and Market Square are filled
with cafes and open air stalls selling food, local apparel and crafts. A
favorite place for residents and visitors alike is Stockmann Department
Store, which is large, modern, and tastefully filled with every possible
commodity from clothing and accessories to groceries and other
Finlandâ€™s well-known names in ceramics (Arabia); textiles (Finlayson,
Marimekko); and glass (Iittala, NuutajĂ¤rvi) are found in specialty shops
and bargains abound in manufacturersâ€™ factory outlet stores located in
and around the city. The stores are museums in themselves! Another
celebrated product of Finland is the popular Nokia (pronounced No
kia) cell phone and related electronic items.
cultural events occur throughout the year. Spring and summer festivals
feature fine music and excellent theater.
Music, dance, drama,
films, and high quality exhibitions are common threads running through
the festival programs. The aim of the annual Helsinki Festival is to
culminate the summer activities with an internationally acclaimed
cultural event. The Festival includes a Night of the Arts festival,
with major symphonic works, the finest baroque orchestras, and a
Food Piazza on the Senate Square.
There are special events for children throughout the festival.
city vacation or a relaxing retreat in beautiful natural surroundings,
Helsinki is the destination of choice. Time will fly by in a most
enjoyable way when you visit Helsinki.
captivating city, its surrounding sea and archipelago provide the
setting for an exciting and inspiring vacation that is sure to please
the whole family.