I recently visited Helsinki Finland for 10 days, and it is easy to understand why this charming City is considered one of the happiest in the World. Here are a few observations I made while visiting and 10 reasons why I think you should visit Helsinki.
Green, Clean and Safe
1. The City of Helsinki is green, clean, quiet and safe. The landscaping is beautifully maintained, but not overly manicured.
Stunning and Diverse Architecture
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2. The architecture is beautiful and is diverse due to being ruled by Sweden and Russia. The Swedish influence of wood and stone lasted until 1809 and then the Russian rule brought Neoclassicism and Gothic Revival. After gaining independence from Russia in 1917 the architecture becomes their own with Nordic Classicism and International Functionalism.
Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
Apartment building Helsinki
Delicious and Healthy Food
3. The food is as charming as the City, and surprisingly healthy. If you enjoy cheeses, butter, salmon, dill, rye bread, cinnamon buns (Korvapuusti), and coffee, Helsinki is for you. Although the produce is not as fresh and abundant as other parts of Europe, they do a fantastic job of creating savory and delicious meals. I ate a mix of traditional Finnish food and the new wave of Finnish Vegan.
“The Nordic Way: Discover The World’s Most Perfect Carb-to-Protein Ratio for Preventing Weight Gain or Regain, and Lowering Your Risk of Disease”. Leaders in obesity research, glycemic science, and healthy living, respectively, have learned that eating a specific ratio of proteins, whole grains, and vegetables and incorporating traditional Nordic ingredients such as rye flour, skyr yogurt, and rapeseed oil into one’s diet are the most effective paths to overall health and stable weight.
Ursula Cafe Helsinki Finland
The Green Hippo Vegan Cafe Helsinki
Easy to Get Around
4. Transportation is excellent in Helsinki. The airport is small and easily navigated. Finnair offers a direct bus into the city for 7 Euros. It takes 25 minutes, and drops you off in the City Center. One night I walked home solo at midnight and I felt completely safe. The tram runs throughout the city and you can easily jump on. There is an app you can download for scanning rides. It is extremely easy to get around on foot, bike (City bikes) and scooters (Lime).
Finnair City Bus
City Tram and Biker
Calming and Relaxing Atmosphere
5. You feel as if you are stepping back in time.. in a good way. I did not feel a sense of urgency as I was walking around. Children as young as 5 years old are out riding their bikes and scooters by themselves. The streets are quiet on Sunday mornings and stores close early.
6. The Scandinavian design and furnishings are amazing. It is clean lines, beautiful textiles and soft muted color schemes. Simplicity, minimalism and functionality. The Helsinki Design District is home to the Design Museum and many stores and boutiques offering Scandinavian wares.
Mid-Century Scandinavian Style
The Sauna Experience
7. The Sauna experience is amazing. There are over 2 million saunas in Finland! A study by a University in Finland found that a 30-minute sauna (sitting in the hot sauna room with water poured over hot rocks and then jumping in the freezing bay intermittently) reduced blood pressure and increased heart rates to levels comparable with moderate exercise. Saunas also help you sweat out toxins and alleviate stress. It is a connection with nature. Fire, water, and the Finns use Birch branches to increase circulation in the skin.
Loyly Sauna Helsinki
8. The National Museum of Finland is in Helsinki and it is comprehensive and a great place to visit. You will easily be able to spend 2-3 hours visiting the exhibits. The tickets are 12 Euros and definitely worth it. Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is a village on a small island in the City. Traditional buildings were moved there to show lifestyle in the early days of Helsinki. The docents are dressed in traditional apparel and it is a wonderful place to walk around and enjoy nature.
The National Museum of Finland
9. If you are a bibliophile, you have to see this library! Helsinki Central Library Oodi was opened in 2018 and is a huge! The architecture is amazing and the book collection rivals it. There are also many independent bookshops that are cozy and charming. Since English is a main language, many carry an English section.
Helsinki Central Library
Helsinki Central Library
Senaatintorin Antikvariaatti Helsinki
10. The Finnish people! Saving the best for last. The residents we met love their country and are so hospitable. They welcomed us and were so helpful with recommendations and showing us the best spots to visit. They shared their culture, their food and traditions, and made our stay an extremely pleasant experience.
I need to return to Finland to experience the nature! Helsinki is just a small portion of this gorgeous country. There are many National Parks, and Lapland. I’ll be returning for more!
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