FINLAND  |  Helsinki, Finland Travel Guide
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Helsinki, Finland

Ice hockey in Helsinki, Finland (cc)
 

Helsinki Travel Guide

Introduction

Helsinki, capital of Finland, is the "White City of the North." There are low white blocks of unadorned granite in the city center; Neoclassical buildings, also largely white, fronting on the city's Senate Square, among them the huge white Helsinki Cathedral; and Art Nouveau – Jugend to the Finns – gems in the city's Katajanokka and Ullanlinna residential districts. Still, even as a prominent city of the north, Helsinki stands apart from all other Nordic capitals, both in its looks and feel, with its streetscapes and stark architectural functionalism reminiscent more of Russian cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg than Scandinavian or Western European ones. In fact, Hollywood filmmakers have long made Cold War-era thrillers on location in the Finnish capital, among them the likes of The Kremlin Letter (1970) and Gorky Park (1983), feigning Soviet settings. The city, in any case, is thoroughly cosmopolitan, with trendy bars and clubs, a good selection of cafés and restaurants, chic shopping venues, first-rate museums, galleries and theaters, abundant parks, a Design District that runs for blocks, and a binge-drinking culture centered on locally-brewed lagers, gin-based sparkling cocktails known as "long drinks," and Finlandia Vodka mixes imbibed as "Mannerheim's shots." Ultimately, though, there's no denying that Helsinki, a city of saunas and ice hockey, bordered on three sides by the Baltic Sea, remains a bridge between Europe and Russia, with one foot in each.

Location

Helsinki is the northernmost million-plus urban area in the world and the northernmost capital in the European Union. It is located near the southern tip of Finland, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland which is an extension of the Baltic Sea. From Stockholm, Sweden, it lies 250 miles (400 kilometers) to the east; from St. Petersburg, Russia, 190 miles (300 kilometers) to the west; and from Tallinn, Estonia, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north. There are three other cities within the Greater Helsinki Metropolitan Area: Espoo, the largest of them all, and Vantaa and Kauniainen.

How to Get There

Helsinki's main airport is the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, located in the Vantaa part of greater Helsinki. It is the gateway to not only Helsinki but Finland, with several international and domestic carriers arriving and departing from there, making the city easily accessible.

Sightseeing

Main Neighborhoods

  • City Centre -

    Designkortteli / Design District - Helsinki's Design District can blow your mind. A microcosm of Finnish urban culture, it's as much an idea as a neighborhood. It encompasses some 25 streets packed with nearly 200 design shops, fashion stores, showrooms, antique vendors, art galleries and museums where you can poke around and discover cutting-edge Finnish design, the latest, trend-setting fashions, brand names you may never have heard of but which will pop your eyes, classics that have endured, experimental art, and literally a beehive of creativity. Plus, there are restaurants and cafés to kick back in and watch Finnish life go by.

    Kamppi -

    Kaartinkaupunki -

    Punavuori -

    Ullanlinna -

  • Kallio -

  • Töölö -

  • Meilahti -

  • Kauppatori -

How to Get Around

Where to Party

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit: June-September
  • Cost Per Day: €110-€450 (US$140-US$590)
  • Currency: Euro EUR (€1 ~ US$1.30)
  • Electricity: 230V - 50Hz | Schuko Socket or Europlug with 2 round pins
  • Phone Code: +358 9
  • Population: 604,000 (1.38 million in the greater metropolitan area)

Nearby Destinations

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated December 12, 2013
Posted in   Finland  |  Helsinki
Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
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