Surrounded by an archipelago of hundreds of tiny islands, Finland’s capital Helsinki is a vibrant seaside city of beautiful islands and naturally green parks. A modern, compact city, Helsinki has a laid back rhythm, yet is recognised as one of the cultural hot spots of Northern Europe, an ideal holiday destination for both for lovers of the arts and those who relish its exciting and vibrant nightlife.
Helsinki’s attractive and unique character comes from its proximity to the sea, as well as from being culturally influenced by both the East and West, combining both modern and historic architectural styles with a love of open spaces that is at the very heart of Finnish identity.
SUOMENLINNA, THE FORTRESS ISLAND
The island Fortress of Suomenlinna was recognised by UNESCO as an outstanding example of military architecture of its time and added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1991. Today it continues today to be one of Helsinki’s most popular tourist attractions, just a 15 minute ferry ride from Helsinki Market Square.
Built across six interconnected islands, Suomenlinna has something for everyone to enjoy. The numerous paths and trails are perfect for an atmospheric stroll, or jog; open green spaces for picnics; sandy coves for swimming and sunbathing; restaurants and cafés for fine or casual dining; and museums and galleries for the culturally curious. The island hosts numerous events during the year, including its own Jazz and Blues festivals.
THE CHARM OF OLD HELSINKI
Helsinki is world famous for its architecture; the city centre is renowned for its neoclassicalism, especially around Senate Square, while the nearby Uspenski Cathedral is a splendid example of the Byzantine-Russian style. Scattered about the city are fine examples of Finland’s own National Romantic movement, which flourished in the early years of the 20th century. Taking its inspiration from the Art Nouveau and Jugendstil movements, the National Romantic movement drew a great deal of inspiration and influences from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. This style is also referred to as Karelianism, after the region where the tales in the Kalevala originated.
HELSINKI FOR DESIGN HUNTERS
Whether you are shopping or just exploring, the Finnish capital is a city with some serious style credentials. Great design can be found throughout the city, reaffirming just why it was designated a 2012 World Design Capital. The capital’s strong bond with design can be seen in its hugely successful annual Helsinki Design Week, and its unique Design District.
Design District Helsinki is packed with over 200 design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants and showrooms, situated across 25 streets in one of most stylish sections of the city. All of Finland’s big names can be found here, but it is also home to many new designers who have yet to gain international recognition, making it the ideal place to explore Finnish design and to buy top-class Finnish design products.
amusement PARK LINNANMÄKI
Linnanmäki is Finland’s oldest and most popular amusement park, located in the Alppila quarter of Helsinki. The amusement park, which is owned by the Children’s Day Foundation, was opened for the public in 1950. Linnanmäki has over 40 rides, many arcade halls with the latest games, an outdoor stage for live performances, as well as restaurants and cafés. The most popular ride in the amusement park is the wooden roller coaster, Vuoristorata, which has been delighting visitors since 1951. Vuoristorata is one of only a handful of roller coasters in the world still operated by a brakeman at the rear, and one of a few roller coasters in the world to have been given the “Classic” status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) club.