Photo: Helsinki Harbour
See Finland on the North East Europe Map.
With its long summer days, Helsinki is a popular place to visit during the warmer months. The parks, attractions and many outdoor cafés are enjoyed by everyone, as can be seen in the streets.
With its many white public buildings, designed and built during the 1800s, the city sparkles under the sun and gives it a clean and bright appearance. There are also very modern and visionary design buildings that have cropped up in various parts of Helsinki, adding to its ambience.
The city centre is a compact place, you can easily explore it not only with the frequent and efficient public transport but by foot power.
Visible from many parts of the city centre is the Uspenski Cathedral, built in 1868. In contrast to the many white city building, it has a red brick exterior and copper roofs on its spires and main dome.
By the harbour near the bridge to the small island of Katajanokka is the very active Market Square. During the summer months you can find all kinds of bargains, not only in fish, fruit and vegetables, but in arts and crafts, made by local artisans and crafts-people.
Just north on Snellmaninkatu street from the Market Square is the Senaatintori (Senate Square). Perched on a grand stairway is the Helsinki Cathedral overlooking the square, with the Senate building, Sederholm House and the University of Helsinki lining it, amongst others.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma, located at Mannerheiminaukio 2, has much more than art, there are mixed media shows, drama, a technological centre for children and workshops.
Another popular place to visit is the Temppeliaukio Church. This circular church is embedded in a granite outcrop, capped by a large circular dome of copper, with glass lining its edges. Located at Lutherinkatu 3.
Offshore, is the historic Suomenlinna Island Fortress. Now a World Heritage Site, built by the Swedish in the years 1748 to 1772 to protect the eastern coast of Sweden. This massive fortification has more than 200 buildings, the majority dating back to the 18th Century.
The city of Turku, west of Helsinki was the center of Swedish activity in Finland’s history, developing into a major port city over the centuries. Turku Castle, built during the 1300s is the largest medieval building in the country and is still in use. The seaside resort of Naantali, just west of the city, has cruises exploring the coast.
Before deciding where to go and where to stay, a bit of planning will pay large dividends for your enjoyment. After all, you can vacation Europe in style or perhaps longer on a budget.
Photo: Helsinki Harbour