Helsinki for First-Timers

Photo by Hansenit

A vibrant but laid-back city

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Helsinki’s shoreline, on the Baltic Sea, is about 70 miles long and has about 300 islands. Possessing a strong maritime heritage, it is said that the sea gave birth to Helsinki and the harbors raised her. Compared to major metropolises, the beat of Helsinki is laid-back and relaxed.  Most of the city’s tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other.

In the Capital City

The score of urban events, great cuisine, bars and nightclubs make Helsinki a vibrant capital with cultural offerings, ranging from metal music to classical and modern art. Helsinki is a center stage for Finnish design with its own Design District. One third of the city is covered in green areas; beautiful parks and waterside hangouts are ideal for a bit of downshifting in the heart of the city.

Finns might seem a bit quiet and reserved at first, but meet them in a bar and you’ll discover a whole new dimension to the people. Finns love to party, and weekend nights in central Helsinki is where it’s most evident. From sweaty rock shows to classy cocktail lounges, there’s enough supply in night-time Helsinki to cater for all preferences.

Ferry to the Islands

The archipelago of Helsinki consists of around 330 islands, providing beautiful set-ups for days at the beach or weekend camping trips. Many of the islands, such as Suomenlinna and Pihlajasaari, can be reached by a regular ferry from early morning until late at night.

The fortress of Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular sights. The beautiful islands of Suomenlinna are only a 15-minute ferry ride away from Helsinki Market Square. Whether you are looking for a cheerful weekend with friends, a tranquil evening stroll, picnic or perhaps a jog – it is all made possible by the diverse routes, locations, restaurants and cafés across the islands.

This itinerary is compliments of Visit Finland. For more things to see and do in Helsinki, check out www.visitfinland.com.

More Scandinavia Itineraries

Copenhagen for First-Timers … Renaissance splendour, waterside romance, flair for design
Finland for First-Timers … Design districts and reindeer safaris, from the midnight sun to the Aurora Borealis
Stockholm for First-Timers … Discover Sweden’s vibrant capital city, one step at a time

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