Helsinki-1
Discover Helsinki
The city mixed of cold air and hot saunas

Do you dream of visiting the top five cities in the world? Start with Helsinki, the youngest capital among all Scandinavian countries!

Districts of Helsinki

The Finnish capital is divided into eight administrative major districts: Southern, Western, Central, Northern, North-Eastern, South-Eastern, Eastern, and Östersundom, each of which is divided into districts.

The Southern major district can be rightly called the most tidbit for tourists. What is worth only the Sveaborg Fortress! It is located on several islands that are part of Helsinki. This bastion system has been considered to be the trademark of the city for several hundred years. But the epicenter of the cultural, educational, business, and political life of the city is the Kruununhaka district, which is also located in the Southern major area. Here you can find the Presidential Palace, the famous Senate Square, City Hall, banks, universities, museums, libraries, parks, and the world-famous Helsinki Cathedral.

Map Helsinki

Population

Residents of Helsinki are very friendly and peaceful people, always welcome every tourist. It must be said that this is the most not densely populated capital of Europe. The nationality of people living here is quite diverse. Most of them are Finns, but there are also a lot of Swedes, Russians, a little fewer Estonians, while the rest of the ethnic groups are represented in the city in very small numbers (Germans, Jews, Belarusians, Poles, Ukrainians, Latvians, and others).

Brief history of Helsinki

No other ancient capital can boast of an exact date of birth. But Helsinki can. The city was born thanks to a decree signed by the King himself! On June 12, 1550, the Swedish ruler Gustav Vasa ordered several hundred merchants among his people to develop the city in the area of Helsingfors, in order to establish a powerful trading center.

But the city had remained a small, "wooden", non-industrial place with a shallow harbor and swampy area for almost a century, making it very difficult to expand. A huge number of small islets blocked ships to and from the open sea. This was noticed by the governor-general (in terms of Finland from Swedish authorities) Per Brahe. As a result, already in 1640, Helsinki was transferred to the Estnes peninsula (today's Kruununhaka neighborhood, the axis of the capital), which gave a powerful impulse for its development.

The Great Northern War, which lasted more than 20 years, played a turning point in the life of the city. The political games, which continued even after the war, justified the necessity to build the sea fortress of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) in order to secure and protect the city from Russia. This gave a new round of development to the current Finnish capital. The first shipyards and brick factories appeared. Then, not only the trading processes became more active in the city, but it also became the place where the country's economy and industrial assets concentrated.

The result of the Russian-Swedish war was the entry of Finland, in 1809, into the Russian Empire. Three years later, on April 12, 1812, Helsinki received the status of the capital, again, in an easy state of mind of Emperor Alexander I, who ordered to develop and build up the city actively. As a result, a whole series of architectural empire-creations, the first railway branches, universities, cathedrals, and tourist zones appear here.

With the declaration of Finland's independence, which was made possible by the revolution of 1917, urbanization accelerated and is still continuing today. Modern Helsinki is a thriving, attractive, and quite an authentic city that has preserved its face.

Trip budget

Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:

Hotels
booking

Apartment
rental

Taxi
fare

Gasoline

Average bill
in restaurant

from 98 €/nightfrom 158 €/nightStart - 6.01 €, 1km - 1 €1.55 €/liter65 € for 2 person

The best time to visit Helsinki

As Helsinki is a northern city on the seaside, the climate is moderate, and the air is maritime and humid. Helsinki’s winters are usually fabulously snowy and long, but not too frosty. Spring, summer, and autumn are cool, with considerable precipitation (about 120 days out of 365 are rainy). The warmest month is July, with an average temperature of +21 °C. January and February are considered to be the coldest months, with the average daytime temperatures of -2 °C and night-time temperatures of -7 °C.

Come here for the Christmas holidays, and you'll find yourself in a fairytale! Christmas fairs, carnival performances, and a variety of shows will not leave adults and children indifferent. And if you still prefer to admire the greenery and the sun, the Finnish capital will welcome you in the eventful summer months. Just take the City Day that is they celebrate in July. And by no means should you miss out on the unique opportunity to enjoy the game of the best and strongest teams in the Euro Hockey Tour. It is in Helsinki, where the Karjala Tournament takes place every November. In any case, the posters in the city will always tell you what to do for the best quality pastime. And the weather is just the background, which in Helsinki is always beautiful!

Useful notes

The City Hall can be very useful for tourists and other guests of the Finnish capital. On the first floor of the building, everyone can just drink water or take a bottle with them, use the restroom, warm up, and read the press. Here you can also find a computer with a printer and free Wi-Fi.

There are free bathrooms in public places in Helsinki. You can also go to any cafe or hotel (usually the entrance to the bathroom is through the lobby) and just head to the restroom. This is absolutely OK here. However, you will be charged a fine of 40 euros for easing yourself in the open air.

If you plan to have a snack outside, watch out for your food that could be stolen... by seagulls. These stubborn birds love to live off someone else's expense.

When walking around town, try not to go on the bike paths. Despite the fact that there are markings everywhere, tourists sometimes tend to walk on the wrong side of the pavement.

The locals are environmentally conscious, so they will respect you if you bring an eco bag with you when you go to the supermarket instead of taking a plastic bag at the checkout.

What should a tourist do in Helsinki?

  • Stroll along the waterfront of the Gulf of Finland for no reason, without a specific route, taking a deep breath of cold and humid air to prepare your body better to explore the city.
  • Buy a ticket for a sightseeing boat or a river tram and maneuver among the many islands-slices of the city, with a mandatory stop at the sea fortress Suomenlinna. This important historical and strategic site, with its museum, prison, and naval academy, will certainly impress every visitor with its majesty, monumentality, and archaic character.
  • Take a picture in front of the Cathedral in Senate Square. These are considered to be essential in shaping the idea of the history and identity of all of Helsinki.
  • Listen to the works of Jean Sibelius. Everyone knows that he always sounds more beautiful in his native land. And after listening, it would be nice to see the author. The sounding monument to the composer, in Art Nouveau style, is located in Sibelius Park, near the center.
  • Lose your head from the extraordinarily and variety of exhibits in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.
  • Read your favorite book on the move by taking it from one of the mobile libraries that runs around the capital.
  • Run through the rows of the Old Covered Market full of delicacies, furs, and ceramics and be sure to buy something for souvenirs.
  • Enjoy a bike ride by renting one at any convenient location, as there are many bicycle stations in this city. Getting to know Helsinki in this way is a different kind of pleasure.
  • Catch your "goldfish", as it is absolutely free to fish in the waters of the coast. But keep in mind, you can catch no more than three fish of the same species per day.
  • See the beauty of the city from a bird's-eye view by riding the world-famous SkyWheel Helsinki.
  • Take a steam bath in a traditional Finnish sauna. Every residential building (including the apartment buildings) has a steam room. However, you should know that the saunas here are shared — men and women take a steam bath together, wearing nothing. Like, literally, nothing.
  • If you come to Helsinki with children, be sure to visit one of the most northern and largest zoos in the world, Korkeasaari. It is open all year round and has over 200 species. And every year, in winter, there is an international competition for ice sculptures.
  • Attractions of Helsinki.

Hotels in Helsinki

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