Helsinki, capital city of Finland, is sprawled across the hills of a many-fingered peninsula, overlooking the easternmost fringes of the Baltic Sea. Located on the southern coast of the country, the city is close to neighboring capitals, Tallinn, Riga and Stockholm — making it easy for travellers to reach Helsinki by ferry from these destinations.
Helsinki blends the culture of an medieval European city with modern Scandinavian design; a balanced mix that conveys the history of the location, while remaining earnestly contemporary. In Helsinki, you will find friendly locals, minimalist architecture, orderly neighborhoods, and convenient public transit — basically everything you would expect to see in Scandinavia.
Yet what makes Helsinki unique is the city’s artsy, bohemian vibe. Many of the sites that I recommend in this blog are notable because it feels like they could only exist in Helsinki. The city is filled with a profusion of local markets, stylish coffee shops, and restaurants perfect for foodies — basically, a hipster’s paradise.
Yet despite these charms, Helsinki’s northerly locale means that it experiences very cold, snowy winters with temperatures well below zero. So unless you have an unreasonable love for winter (or you’re planning a ski trip), I’d recommend summer as the best time to visit Helsinki. Despite excellent transit, the city best lends itself to exploration on foot or bicycle.
Here are my top 8 things to do in Helsinki — if you want to experience the wonderful uniqueness of Finland’s hipster capital.